We’ve all grown up with a certain perspective about Canada, what it means to be Canadian, how we wish to be perceived as Canadians. Our Canada has always been a country where looking after each other was more important than getting ahead, making more money and acquiring more stuff. Where the words “social safety net” were not sneered at or feared but were something to aspire to. Where women could be proud of their hard-won rights and look forward to an even brighter future for their daughters. Where nobody would be denied quality health care because they couldn’t afford it. Where immigrants and refugees could come with their families and forge a better life, and at the same time, enrich us with their thoughts and customs. Where we understood and appreciated the wild beauty and vastness of this land, and tried our best to preserve it and keep it safe. A country where people could speak their minds, whether it was their own opinion or to expose wrongdoing they’d discovered, without fear of persecution. A country which was regarded in the International Community as a non-partisan bastion of human rights, dedicated to fostering peace and justice in the world.
Since 2006, slowly, and sometimes not so subtly, we’ve seen our Canada change and become tarnished. We’ve seen long-cherished values, and hard-won rights and achievements be unceremoniously swept away and buried, covered up under blatant lies. We’ve seen our country’s global reputation reduced from being admired and respected and even loved, to being the subject of anger, ridicule and yes, even loathing.
That this could all happen in a few years with Canada in a minority government was astounding. And now to see what is happening to our beautiful country under a Harper majority is heart-breaking. Never before has an elected government given us cause for such apprehension – but also for such hope that Canadians will engage in the process of governing their country. We’ve seen social media explode with opinion and debate. Students have become involved and have filled the streets, taking democracy into their own hands and have made a difference. Scientists and doctors, not generally known for taking to the streets in protest have done so and have been supported by thousands of their fellow Canadians. First Nations and environmentalists have joined forces to protect the environment.
Will all of this be enough to reclaim the Canada we were once so proud of? Time is growing short as more and more legislation is changed or repealed: twenty years’ worth of hard-won laws to protect our environment – obliterated by one omnibus bill; environmentalists demonized by “Honourable” Members of Parliament; protection of women’s rights, seniors’ benefits, workers’ rights, internet privacy – eroded; scientists and whistleblowers silenced and discredited; veterans’ benefits and aboriginal children’s health – challenged in court by our own government using taxpayers’ money; and finally, most dangerous of all, aggressive attempts by the Harper government to crush any investigation into the election fraud that took place during the 2011 federal election.
Those who have a long history of voting Conservative, please understand: the Harper Conservatives are not the PC’s of the past, they are the Reform Party, based on neo-conservative, Evangelical Christian values – think radical, right-wing religious. Is that our Canada?
Every day, there are media reports on some fresh horror perpetrated on our cherished Canadian values by the Harper government. Some would make for great entertainment were there not so much at stake. Worried that important issues might be lost and forgotten in the deluge of disasters emanating from Parliament Hill, we created this blog as a partial record of the Harper government’s crimes against Canada and the world. We hope that you use it and share it so that we never forget what the Harper government has done to our country. After the next election, we look forward to once again being able to say “the Government of Canada” with the pride we once felt in being Canadian.