8.16.2015

help my christian friend vote, or why the harper government must go

A friend of mine is undecided about which party to vote for in the upcoming federal election.

She normally votes Conservative, but may not this time. She dislikes the Trudeau Liberals, and is deciding between sticking with the Conservatives or voting New Democrat. Strategic voting is not an option for her. She wants to vote with her conscience, something I applaud.

My friend is a committed Christian, a person of deep faith with a strong moral compass and a clear sense of justice. She is a mother, also a working woman. I am privileged to know many people whose spirituality informs their daily lives, and she is one of them.

She is researching how to vote. The NDP's platform is out there for all to see. Whether or not one believes that they will (or will be able to) deliver is a separate conversation. But we do know what the NDP stands for.

The Harper Conservatives first formed a government in 2006, and have been in power ever since. They have a long, consistent track record, but you won't find it in their campaign information. You can't just Google up an answer to my friend's dilemma. (Although if you do, the results are very fruitful!)

I was speaking with my friend about the great sense of urgency I feel around this election, and I remembered this wmtc post from 2008: we don't want another harper government because..., a wrap-up of an earlier post called play the "why we don't want another harper government" game.

So I thought... let's play another round of this game. This one's for all the money, because we've never been closer at ridding this beautiful country of this horrible government as we are right now.

Wmtc readers, join me in listing the many ways in which the Harper Government has been un-Christian, has repudiated family values, and has made Canada less democratic and less just.

I don't know if this format will work again, how many people will join in, or if everyone will answer on Facebook. But let's give it a shot.

The rules:

1. One item per comment.

2. Be as factual and specific as possible. Saying "C-51" is not enough. You must explain something you dislike about bill C-51.

3. No duplicates. If someone else has already posted that item, think of another. Different examples of the same item are ok, though. A different problem with C-51 counts as a separate comment.

As we count down to October 19, help my friend decide how to cast her vote.

I'll go first. The most difficult thing will be choosing one!

38 comments:

laura k said...

It was very difficult for me to choose one reason! I finally decided on a little-noticed change that perfectly illustrates the Harper government: abolishing health care for certain refugee claimants.

The Harper Government claimed that refugees were eligible for "gold-plated healthcare," care that Canadian citizens could only dream of. They claimed that refugees were coming to Canada in order to access healthcare. And they repeatedly called people whose refugee claims were rejected and refugee claimants from certain countries "bogus" refugees, among other slurs.

The reality was something very different.

A refugee-advocacy group showed that health care for refugee claimants cost about one-tenth the cost of a Canadian citizen.

Doctors and other healthcare professionals spoke about the need to address health concerns before they lead to greater future costs, as well as the ethics of refusing care in a supposedly universal healthcare system.

Lawyers and advocates testified that refugee claimants are fleeing war, famine, and persecution. Which country has better healthcare is hardly a factor.

I also note that refugees whose claims are rejected are not "bogus". The denial of refugee status in no way reflects the truthfulness or need of the claimant. I've read many denials, and the IRB often notes that the claimants' honesty was not in doubt.

And yet.

Then-Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney stoked the politics of xenophobia, bigotry, and envy, and tapped into many Canadians' concerns about supposedly high taxes.

The government inflicted a devastating change on people entirely unable to protest it, the weakest and most vulnerable among us.

And they did it through lies and through bigotry.

I am not a Christian, but it is my understanding that Jesus preached against this type of venality.

[This one had a somewhat positive ending, thanks to activists - largely healthcare providers and refugee lawyers. Through protest and lawsuits, justice prevailed: the Court ordered the Government to end this policy. The Harper government at first refused, then acquiesed, but continued to spend public funds appealing the ruling. An editorial in The Toronto Star notes:

These court rulings, and restoration of coverage, don’t mark the end of the government’s mean-spirited attack on newcomers who are least able to defend themselves. On the contrary, Alexander emphasized that his ministry will continue with its appeal. Thanks to the federal government’s willful blindness, it’s up to yet another court to finally put a stake through the heart of this vile policy.]

So that's my first reason. You can be more succinct or just as wordy.

Kirby Evans said...

Here's an easy one -

Harper has defunded almost every adult literacy program in the country. When Harper came to power there were more than twenty full-fledged adult literacy programs in Canada. Most of them received some small amount of federal funding to promote literacy for people in various walks of life, many catered to new immigrants, but they also help people who simply hadn't received, for whatever reason, the literacy skills necessary at school. The best thing about these organizations is that they didn't just help people learn to read but they also helped people work on a host of other life-skills that helped them be better parents and more active members of their communities. Almost every one of these are now gone thanks to Harper.

Gyor said...

Remind her that Mulcair is a good Christian Boy who went to church all the time as boy and whose childhood mentor was a Priest, Father Cox, who taugh him to help the less fortunate, and that the NDPs first leader, Tommy Douglas was a Minister who taught the social gospel.

If she's worried about the corporate tax increases remind her to "give on to Caesar that which is Caesar's" which is to say Jesus believed in paying taxes.

As for Harper he lies, cheats, and is surrounded by the corrupt who he rewards, would Jesus approve of someone like that?.

laura k said...

I'm not asking about the leaders' church habits. And she is not worried about taxes. This thread is about *specific examples* of why someone concerned with Christian values and family values should not vote Conservative.

James Redekop said...

Harper's government has been the antithesis of good stewards of the Earth.

When you destroy libraries and forbid scientists from speaking about their work in order to dodge criticism of your policies, that's a significant sign that there's something wrong with your policies.

liberalandlovingit! said...

This Christian will vote Liberal because they will fund native and immigrant education systems equally. And because they will discontinue giving millionaires cheques, by means-testing. NDP will continue Harper's vote-buying scheme.

allan said...

War in Iraq and Syria will cost Canada $528M by next year, Kenney says
The unchecked murder of innocent lives is not a Christian quality. That half a billion dollars could be better spent.

At the same time Harper begs for constant war, he's screwing over the veterans of previous wars, going so far as to spend $700,000 of taxpayer money to fight them in court.

allan said...

Added to above:
"In a statement of defence filed by federal lawyers, the government argues Ottawa has no special obligation or 'social contract' with veterans."

allan said...

"Canada has already recorded five consecutive months of minus growth and it has been projected that this year's budget will be in the red, i.e. Harper's eighth consecutive deficit budget. Under the reign of Harper, the Conservatives have increased our national debt to the tune of over $150 billion. The fact is, the Harper Conservatives have the worst economic record of any government since the Second World War (economic growth, job creation, trade deficit, etc., you name it.)"

allan said...

"The Conservative government is slashing funding for all safety and security programs at Transport Canada, with a significant chunk coming out of safety oversight initiatives, planning documents show. The amount of funding set to be clawed away varies between programs — the budget for transportation of dangerous goods is going down 32 per cent while the budget for aviation safety is dropping 9.2 per cent, for example — but all are seeing decreases ... Other programs dealing with cuts include marine safety (23 per cent), rail safety (4.3 per cent) and motor vehicle safety (8.8 per cent). "

laura k said...

It's amazing how the myth of fiscal conservatism still prevails. In reality, conservative governments usually spend a fortune on war and corporate welfare.

laura k said...

I will borrow another reason from the 2008 post. If Harper had been PM in 2003, Canada would have gone to war in Iraq.

ashlea said...

Hundreds of aboriginal women have been murdered or are missing. The idea that life is valuable is supposed to be a strong Christian concept. The conservative government refuses to make finding these women or their murderers a priority despite international outcry. I for one can't imagine feeling so abandoned by my government if I needed to find a daughter, sister, mother or wife in my family. The violence against these women need to be stopped and the families deserve to feel the government does value the lives of their loved ones by making this a priority.

allan said...

Are we allowed to post lists, like an article listing x reasons why Harper is bad?

allan said...

1,181 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Harper, CBC News, December 17, 2014: An inquiry "isn't really high on our radar, to be honest."

laura k said...

Ashlea might have something to say about veterans, healthcare, and conscience. Ashlea is married to a veteran with PTSD who has been abandoned and persecuted by both his own government in the US and the Canadian govt.

laura k said...

Are we allowed to post lists, like an article listing x reasons why Harper is bad?

Good question.

....

I'm going to stick with one issue per comment.

Save some for M@ and ImpStrump. ;)

James Redekop said...

It's amazing how the myth of fiscal conservatism still prevails.

I'd much rather have a tax-and-spend government than a spend-without-taxing one.

ashlea said...

Laura already posted about refugee healthcare and I thought the rule was to not repeat things. Instead I will say that under the Harper government things have gotten a bit scary with the level of militarism they are willing to enact on their own people. I am referring to the mass detainment of people during the G20 summit in Toronto. Many people were detained for no reason, no charges we ever brought to many of them. People minding their own business in the area were detained. People with disabilities were treated in abhorrent manners including prosthetic limbs being taken from people and people who couldn't walk being dragged. You may ask how this is Harper's fault. To that I would respond that he had Toronto construct many many many detainment centres. The police obviously had an expectation or egging on to be on high alert for trouble. This led to so many being detained with no cause. Your fellow Canadians detained for more than 24hrs for no lawful reason. That is scary to me. Also very few police were ever punished for their roles in all this. The government should have stood up for the average Canadian and called out their mistreatment, unless they were involved in the treatment which is also wrong.

ashlea said...

Another thing the Harper government has done that is disgusting is the way they treat their veterans. They are pro military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria but they have cut services and funding that the veterans need to survive. Many veterans who have fought for this country have decided to no longer vote conservative because of the way they have been treated. They have been willing to give the greatest sacrifice, John 15:13"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." They are even willing to die for their country but they way the government honors them is by giving them lump sum pay outs instead of life long support after they suffer an injury yet government workers receive life long pensions. ect... you can look up more info on the specifics if you want

allan said...

The Closing of the Canadian Mind

[Harper] has chosen not to participate in the traditional series of debates on national television ... His own campaign events were subject to gag orders until a public outcry forced him to rescind the forced silence of his supporters.

Mr. Harper's campaign for re-election has so far been utterly consistent with the personality trait that has defined his tenure as prime minister: his peculiar hatred for sharing information.

Americans have traditionally looked to Canada as a liberal haven, with gun control, universal health care and good public education. But the nine and half years of Mr. Harper's tenure have seen the slow-motion erosion of that reputation for open, responsible government. His stance has been a know-nothing conservatism, applied broadly and effectively. He has consistently limited the capacity of the public to understand what its government is doing, cloaking himself and his Conservative Party in an entitled secrecy, and the country in ignorance.

His relationship to the press is one of outright hostility. At his notoriously brief news conferences, his handlers vet every journalist, picking and choosing who can ask questions. ...

He has been prime minister for nearly a decade for a reason: He promised a steady and quiet life, undisturbed by painful facts.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

I'm curious. Why can't your friend figure out for herself how she should vote?

laura k said...

I'm curious. Why can't your friend figure out for herself how she should vote?

I'm curious. Did you read this post?

I didn't say my friend couldn't figure out how to vote. Not sure if you're being serious or snarky, but either way you're not contributing to the thread.

laura k said...

Harper is linked to the G20 police abuse in many ways, along with Dalton McGuinty. The giant barriers set up all over Toronto, the surveillance cameras, the militarized police force - all of it was set up with special federal and provincial funding and plans.

allan said...

Harper's Love of Secrecy Knows No Limits
Even though it lost a court case and was ordered to comply, the Harper government nevertheless refused to share 170 times reasons and impacts for cuts with Canada's independent budget watchdog, mocking Parliament's right to control the public purse.

This is from:
"A Little Dubya Up in Canada: 70 Ways Prime Minister Harper Has Assaulted Democracy"

fern hill said...

I just posted this picture on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/fernhilldammit/status/633075361006362624/photo/1

wb said...

From my reading of the bible, Jesus was particularly concerned about the poor and downtrodden and disliked those who sought only profit from life, like the money changers in the temple.

When I look at Stephen Harpers policies, I see repeated preferences for the rich over the poor. Pension splitting and TFSA increases will shelter income from taxes for the wealthy while doing nothing for our poorest citizens who don't make enough money to benefit from tax savings. Bringing in lots of temporary foreign workers has created a glut of people available to do manual jobs. This has driven down wages making it more profitable for business owners - who are usually already well off - while making it tougher for people at the bottom of the wage scale to survive.

Finally, although there are already substantial challenges facing younger generations of Canadians who will need to cope with harder financial conditions than their parents, Harper has increased the age for qualifying for CPP - but delayed the implementation so that those who are already worse off will be hit hardest.

Jesus was a champion for the poor. Stephen Harper seems much more interested in the interests of the wealthy.

allan said...

Election fraud convictions in 2006.
Election fraud convictions in 2008.
Election fraud convictions in 2011.

allan said...

2006: Broke Election Spending Laws
2008: Broke Election Spending Laws
2014: Rewrote Election Spending Laws

ashlea said...

back to work legislation seems immoral to me

impudent strumpet said...

I was stuck on writing for a Christian perspective (the religious portion of my life didn't overlap with the politically-aware portion of my life), but WB's excellent point about concern for the poor reminds me of another thing:

During and in the aftermath of the economic crisis, when unemployment was high, the government cut jobs at Service Canada, where they process Employment Insurance claims.

In addition to adding to the existing unemployment, this resulted in costly delays in getting EI benefits to people in need.

allan said...

Here are seven ways the Harper government has waged war on its own veterans:
1. Conservatives kill lifetime pensions for veterans
2. Harper minister insults veterans, closes nine veterans offices
3. Auditor General finds Harper government failing veterans
4. Conservatives slash 900 jobs despite pleas from managers
5. More than $1 billion not spent by ministry to help veterans
6. Judge orders government to pay $887 million to vets
7. Silencing and smearing veterans who criticize

allan said...

UN Blasts Canada's Treatment of Immigrants
Changes made to the Canada's immigration and refugee system under Harper were investigated by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, whose report blasted how thousands of migrants are detained indefinitely without due process, many for over a year or more, as well as poor mental health support for those incarcerated.

allan said...

Found on Facebook via "Boycott The Harper Conservatives":

Voting Conservative? Here is the track record you will be endorsing:

1. Electoral fraud in 2011 and involved in irregular elections in both 2006 and 2008
2. Contempt of parliament
3. Multiple prorogations of parliament to avoid confidence motions
4. More than 150 billion dollars of debt
5. Eight straight deficits
6. C-51.
7. Cut 36 billion from health care
8. Northern Gateway approved despite an ongoing court case with First Nations and an illegitimate environmental review.
9. Anti-democratic omnibus "budget" bills (such as C-38 and C-45) that were more meant to gut environmental legislation than take care of financial matters.
10. The “Fair Elections Act” which makes it harder for traditional non-Harper voters to cast ballots.
11. Bill C-24, which created two-tiered citizenship for Canadians
12. Sabotaged international climate negotiations and failed to meaningfully reduce Canada's emissions
13. Clandestine trade deals such as FIPA with China, and CETA with Europe
14. Attacked the CBC and stacked its board with Conservative donors
15. Went after a disproportionate number of environmental and social justice charities
16. Gagged and fired government scientists in the area of climate science
17. The Senate scandal(Duffy, Meredith, Brazeau and others)
18. Handling of the F-35 situation
19. Eliminated the long form census
20. Spent more than 750 million dollars on advocacy advertising for such things as "Canada's Economic Action Plan", including promoting legislation not yet passed in parliament
21. Ongoing sales of arms to the Saudis, one of the most repressive regimes in the world
22. Cancelled the Kelowna Accord and has shown complete contempt for working with our Native People.
23. Continued to slash foreign aid and merged the Canadian International Development Agency with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
24. Sold the Canadian Wheat Board to the Saudis
25. Increased spending on prisons despite a forty year low in crime.
26. Closed down Veterans offices
27. War with ISIS.
28. Withdrew from virtually every international treaty we were part of
29. Lost out on a seat on the UN Security Council
30. Spent a billion dollars on the G8/G20 summit.
31. Unconditional support for Israel and possible hate crime charges for criticizing Israeli foreign policy
32. Refused to participate in nationally televised leaders debates.
33. Removed the per-vote subsidy to stack elections odds in Conservatives favour.
34. Shut down debate in parliament more than a hundred times
35. Closed coast guard stations
36. Ended Canada Post delivery in urban areas.
37. The Omar Khadr situation
38. Weakened pesticide regulations
39. Fired Linda Keen for reporting an unsafe nuclear reactor
40. Refused to sign the UN declaration on water being a human right, and UN declaration on rights of indigenous people.
41. Reneged on promise to stop billions in oil subsidies
42. The only country who withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol
43. Elimination of the long gun registry, and retroactively rewrote gun registry to avoid RCMP charges
44. Broke the Atlantic Accord
45. Passed C-36, a law that will likely put women involved in the sex trade at greater risk.
46. Cancelled the home energy retrofit program.
47. Income splitting implemented, despite only helping 15% of the population.
48. Cutbacks to food inspection services.
49. Dean Del Mastro, Bruce Carson, Bev Oda, Chuck Cadman, Arthur Porter
50. Repeatedly being in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and fighting with Supreme Court"

allan said...

How the Harper Government has Helped Mining Companies Plunder Africa: Public money has subsidized Canadian extraction across the continent

Despite rhetoric about providing aid to the poorest, the Harper Conservatives have worked assiduously to ensure that Canadian corporations profit from Africa’s vast mineral resources, rather than the continent’s people.

Even widespread criticism of their operations has failed to dampen the Conservatives’ support for Canada’s many mining interests in Africa. Canadian mining companies have been accused of bribing officials, evading taxes, dispossessing farmers, displacing communities, employing forced labour, devastating ecosystems and spurring human rights violations.

But more important than the specific instances of abuse, which I detail in my forthcoming book Canada in Africa: 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation, the mining industry contributes little to sustainable economic development. Instead it vacuums up resources to benefit wealthy people, very few of whom live in Africa.

***

allan said...

HuffPo:

The Harper government wants to hide all of its secrets.

While reviewing the latest edition of the federal government's little-known legislative bulletin, The Canada Gazette, Canadian Press reporter Jim Bronskill noticed a troubling detail: a new order is now on the table that would dramatically expand the number of current - and former - federal government employees under a lifetime gag order, potentially curbing the right to free expression for thousands of Canadians. ...

It's not known exactly how many more people will be subject to the gag as a result of this latest order, but given that it would extend to CSIS' legal service units, the CSE (Canada's spy and electronic communication surveillance agencies), and the Privy Council Office.

The timing is spot on. In recent weeks, CSIS and the CSE have come under intense public scrutiny in response to the revelation of enormous telecom and online surveillance operations by the U.S. National Security Agency.

***

laura k said...

A diehard Conservative says voting for another Harper government is not the Christian thing to do.

allan said...

From "National Stop Harper Campaign":

Harper has quietly put in place the mechanism for deep cuts to federal support for public health care. There was, of course, no proclamation pointing that out. His government simply announced, just before Christmas in 2011, that there would be no negotiations to renew the expiring health accord with the provinces.

Instead, it unilaterally imposed a new formula — which will cut federal support for health care by an estimated $36 billion over the next decade, leaving the cash-strapped provinces scrambling to cover costs, with private, profit-seeking health entrepreneurs buzzing at their doorsteps.