dylan penner: harper's "mean shift"

Dylan Penner of the Council of Canadians has written an excellent short piece, part of the election coverage at Rabble.
The minority Conservative government has a plan. It's something I like to call the "Mean Shift." Harper said this week he's "not going to be as tolerant" of "obstruction" by the opposition parties if he forms the next government, even with a minority. Yet, the kind of "obstruction" he's referring to includes the June 3 motion in Parliament, supported by all opposition parties to stop the deportations of Iraq war resisters.

In Harper's ad "A Nation of Immigrants" he says "we have a real strong history of immigration in this country." He's right. But he doesn't talk about one of the largest waves of immigration in recent history, when over 50,000 war resisters from the US moved to Canada to stop the Vietnam war. Indeed, today, at least two-thirds of Canadians want the resisters to stay. Eighty-two per cent of Canadians are against the Iraq war, which Harper continues his support for by deporting soldiers who refuse to take part in it.

There's also been some talk during this election about Stephen Harper's credentials as a family man. In his "Family is Everything" ad the Prime Minister says that being a father is the "best thing" in his life. And yet, he sees no problem with denying that experience to Jeremy Hinzman, an Iraq war resister, who along with his wife and two young children faces imminent deportation back to the U.S. as early as next week. Recently deported war resister Robin Long is currently serving a 15 month sentence. If deported, Jeremy Hinzman faces up to five years in prison, which wouldn't allow for much quality time with the family. I guess the families of people who choose not to fight in the illegal war in Iraq have a unique insight into what Stephen Harper's family values really are. Is it really possible to be a family man, if you are willing to allow a family to be torn apart, simply because they stood up for international law?

Despite the overwhelming support of Canadians for conscientious objectors to the Iraq war, Harper has yet to listen. And he's been clear that if re-elected, he'll be much less tolerant. The Mean Shift will increase punishment, not for those who break international law, but for those who uphold it, like Jeremy Hinzman and his family.

Non-Canadian readers may not get the pun. The Liberals' call their environmental program "the Green Shift".

Thanks to Dylan for this excellent piece. And the game is still open for comments.

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