As Canada celebrates its 148th birthday, there is little for progressives to smile about
On this Canada Day, if you’re still among those who think the Great White North is a beacon of democracy or a shining example for our international brothers and sisters to follow, you’re probably somebody who coasts through life without thinking about the world around you.
But if you’ve seen what I’ve seen, if you feel as I feel, you know the truth. As V once said “and the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?” Almost a decade of Conservative rule has weakened this country beyond imagination.
On the International front, since Stephen Harper squeaked out a Majority Government with 39% of the vote in 2011, Canada has dropped bombs on three different Muslim countries, In addition, Canada has closed its embassy with Iran and has done everything possible to undermine Palestine’s international status. Prime Minister Harper has said that he will continue to support Israel “whatever the cost.”
As if that isn’t enough, Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party has made us the laughing stock of the world on environmental policy. He has gagged federal scientists from speaking to the media, halted environmental research, and has gutted most environmental laws.
The Fisheries Act no longer protects most fish. The Navigable Waters Protection Act no longer protects most lakes and rivers. The federal Environmental Assessment Act was repealed in its entirety so that oil and gas projects could be fast-tracked. Canada remains the only country in the world that signed the Kyoto agreement on carbon pollution, only to withdraw from the treaty.
Blood boiling yet? Let’s move on to the economy. When it comes to taxes, Harper is the Reagan in chief. For starters, he cut corporate taxes in half, from 30% down to 15%. Corporations now pay a lower percentage in taxes than I do. He cut the GST by 2%, but then introduced family income splitting which benefits the top 1-5%.
Conservatives are proud to say that “Under our Conservative Government, the tax burden on Canadians is at the lowest level in more than 50 years.” But that means revenue is also at its lowest, and we are yet to feel its effects. Less money for Medicare, schools, daycare, basic infrastructure, social programs etc. Harper has successfully shifted Canada’s tax burden from corporations onto the people.
The conservative approach to the economy just isn’t working. They managed to balance the federal budget just for this election year and they put all their bread in the fossil fuel basket, while completely ignoring manufacturing. As a result, it looks like we are two bad months away from a full blown recession (having had negative growth every month since February).
Are you still happy? Have I completely ruined your Canada Day? Now let’s grasp how Harper’s Conservatives are doing when it comes to passing laws. To put it bluntly, despite having a majority government, Harper has had major setbacks.
The Conservative Government doesn’t care much for Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Canadian equivalent to the American Bill of Rights. So far the Supreme Court of Canada has rejected or overturned at least ten conservative laws.
When the Conservatives were first elected, they promised the Canadian people they would get tough on crime, despite the fact that crime was at a forty year low at the time. After passing their omnibus crime bill back in 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada has shot down efforts to close Canada’s only safe injection site, ruled three key parts of Canada’s prostitution laws unconstitutional, and lifted the ban on assisted suicide. Most recently, the highest court determined that the federal ban on non-dried marijuana extracts for medical use was illegal.
Additionally, new Conservative legislation pertaining to mandatory sentencing rules, the Abolition of Early Parole Act and the Truth in Sentencing Act have all been ruled unconstitutional by the court as well. Funny thing is, the majority of Supreme Court Judges on the bench were appointed by Harper himself. Yes, his own judges are consistently ruling his laws to be unlawful.
Now that you know the story (this is only a small portion of it). Now that you know where we’re at as a country, how can you in good conscious go see Canada Day fireworks draped in Canadian flags and other red and white paraphernalia? Be happy for what you have, but be angry about where we are.
The only day worth celebrating in Canada this year will be October 19th, the tentatively scheduled day for the 2015 federal election and the day these idiots are finally voted out of office. Now that will be a day to party!