R13: Harper Government Found in Contempt

I’m posting on the reasons I won’t vote for Stephen Harper and his party:

Related to my last posts on proroguing parliament (Bowles, 2015) and the Afghan Detainee Issue (Bowles, 2015), Stephen Harper was found in contempt of parliament in 2011. A historic first. That in itself says a lot about the man and how he works in parliament. Even if there was some “partisan gamesmanship” (Globe and Mail, 2011) in the decision, Harper’s inability to work as a minority government leader is not something that we as Canadians should accept. Yet we do.

This was, in fact, what precipitated our last election (Globe and Mail, 2011). It has drifted out of public knowledge over the years, but in fact is a serious charge. And it was correct. Harper had been found to be stonewalling efforts to get information about his government. He had stopped the government working completely for two months to try to avoid criticism. In a democracy, these are not things our leaders should be doing to try to shore up their reign. He skillfully controlled the public perception of those actions, in spite of media outcry (there is no doubt about it: Harper might be cynical, petty and secretive (Chatham Daily News, 2015), but he’s also precise and skillful at manipulating public perception of his supporters). And what did Canadians do? We gave him a majority. We gave him the power to rework our nation exactly the way he wanted. Much though we can decry the difficulty we have with our government and the ills we see being propagated, we are the ones who gave him that power.

Almost like a Monty Python movie: Harper does his best to evade political and international law, and we reward him with more power. I’m not sure if it’s because we didn’t want to believe that his dark deals were really serious, or if we just wanted to have the elections over with… or maybe it’s because we really have stopped caring about honesty and human rights. Whatever way it is, when history is all said and done I think this will be one of the more embarrassing periods in Canada’s history. These five years are set: we have the capacity to change the next five.

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