|Stephen Harper Wants to
Stifle Democracy in Canada
The Canada eZine - Canadian Politics
Dispelling Myths about Stephen Harper
By Charles Moffat - December 3rd 2008.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper isn't used to talking about democracy or claiming to defend it. In fact, lets look at his track record with respect to democracy and censorship.
#1. Bill C-10 was designed to cut tax credits away from the Canadian movie industry for films containing violence, sex or homosexuality. Examples of such films include Brokeback Mountain and A History of Violence. Those tax credits are important to the Canadian film industry which is surprisingly fragile when it comes to finances. Without them, more controversial films aren't likely to be made. This hurts freedom of speech in Canada and democracy. You can't even make a film about AIDS prevention and condoms now thanks to Bill C-10.
#2. Stephen Harper made $45 million dollars in cuts to Canada's arts industry, effectively censoring Canada's singers, actors, dancers, artists and writers. Quebec artists in August were so upset about these cuts they referred to Stephen Harper as "Stephen Hitler".
#3. In 2007 Harper cut funding to women's rights groups and women's shelters. Such groups talk about women having democracy, the right to vote and the right to stand up for themselves. Cutting those groups means more Canadian women are living in abusive relationships and feel powerless because there's no one to help them.
#4. In 2006 Harper cut funding to adult literacy programs. Adults can vote, but uneducated illiterate adults aren't known to push for freedom of the press, freedom of speech or democracy in general.
#5. Last week Stephen Harper tried to cut $30 million from public funding of political parties. Political parties rely on those funds to make sure elections are conducted fairly and that one party doesn't have an uneven distribution of donations from wealthy donors (ie. the Alberta oil industry). Having that money ensures democracy by allowing all official parties to compete. Eliminating it makes it more difficult for them to compete and thus negates democracy.
When taken all together you realize that Stephen Harper doesn't really like freedom of speech or democracy. He has a general disdain for it and for the Canadian public.
So when Stephen Harper talks about democracy and claims the Liberal coalition to replace him is "undemocratic" he's really just using the word to suit his own purposes. He doesn't really mean it.
Lets stop and look at a chart of the last election's results:
So based on these numbers did Stephen Harper get a mandate to lead Canada? No. He got a minority government. He did not "win the election" at all. You need 155 for a majority. Harper didn't even get a majority vote. Roughly four out of five Canadians either voted against him or didn't vote at all.
Thanks to low voter turnout and vote splitting between the Liberals, NDP and Greens none of them won either, but they did get a combined 51.2% of the vote. The mandate there is that Canadians want more of a green agenda with social initiatives.
So contrary to what Stephen Harper will tell you the Coalition does have a mandate to lead.
And "pootawing" the Coalition for being supported by the Bloc is nonsense. The Conservatives stayed in power because they made an alliance first with the Bloc, then with the NDP and later bullied the Liberals into supporting them.
Now we've reached a deadlock. They have lost Bloc and NDP support and the Liberals aren't going to be pushed around anymore. Everyone now hates Stephen Harper because he's proven to them he can't be trusted.
Its reached a point where the ONLY way for our government to go forward is to have a Coalition government. We don't have a choice.
A Coalition government is a fail-safe mechanism of democracy, entirely democratic and constitutional, employed to protect the system from being hijacked by a bully. Harper can be proud he won his minority government, but he lacked the leadership skills to compromise with other political parties and keep it afloat. Now his government is sinking into the pages of history.
So when Harper calls the Coalition undemocratic he is just spouting nonsense. His words don't match his statistics. 22.3% does not make Harper a leader with a mandate. The Coalition does have a mandate. It is democratic. It is constitutional.
And frankly its about time. Harper doesn't support democracy whatsoever. He wants to do the opposite and stifle it and he's proved his intentions with his past actions. He believes in might is right and bullying his way through parliament, scaring other parties into supporting him when in reality they want to gang up on him.
Harper doesn't deserve to be Prime Minister and come Monday Michaelle Jean will support the new Coalition government. She won't do it just because its more democratic or constitutional, although it certainly is, she will do it because its the only way Canada can move forward.
My advice to Stephen Harper is to go out gracefully.
Or he can be remembered as the bully who no one wanted because he wasn't a team player.
Lastly, to those people who claim the Coalition members are "behaving like children", I disagree. They've behaved honestly, fairly and under the circumstances they don't really have much choice. They've acted like responsible politicians for once and we should applaud them for it.