Stephen Harper has been the head of Canada’s government for over a decade. I was a teenager when he came to power. I have voted federally twice and have never voted for Harper. I am not a Conservative.I do not like many of the party’s platforms. But I find Stephen Harper’s government problematic more so because of Harper than because it is a Conservative majority.
Stephen Harper seems to have little respect for the environment or for the people of Canada. He has a tendency to put corporations ahead of the people. He has caused science libraries to be shut down and he has silenced the scientists of Canada. He is allowing oil companies to hurt our environment: “Canada’s carbon emissions will soar 38% by 2030 mainly due to expanding tar sands projects, according to the government’s own projections.” I find this to be very problematic. Without scientific data it is easy to cause unnecessary environmental disasters like oil spills. It is also harder to share the data, which means that our scientists take longer to make important discoveries. And it hurts our education system because students aren’t taught about recent scientific advancements. As for the harm to the environment, that’s just bad for everybody. Personally, I believe that either his evangelical background or the evangelical backgrounds of a number of his backers is responsible for his disregard for science and the environment. I’m going by what I know about American politics to make that claim.
To add to the problems I see with Harper’s government is Harper’s apparent disregard for the Canadian people. In 1997, Harper said “I was asked to speak about Canadian politics. It may not be true, but it’s legendary that if you’re like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians.” This was said to a group of American visitors to Canada. So according to Harper we, as Canadians, know nothing about our own country or any other. What does this say about Harper? To me, it says that he thinks we are stupid and easily manipulated. Perhaps that is why he thinks that he can get away with destroying our science and our country. In the same speech he said “[Y]our country [the USA], and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world.” There is no question that Harper idolizes the American government. Otherwise he wouldn’t be trying to turn Canada into another United States. This scares me. We are not the United States. I do not like how the United States is run. It is a failing empire. One should not attempt to build their country to be a model of a failing country. Canada should be emulating the countries that are doing better than us on the world stage. The countries with better education, better life-expectancy, better science programs, etc.
Harper troubles me. His version of Canada troubles me. I feel as though I have been watching my country crumble around me. For as long as I have been able to vote I have watched my country crumbling around me. And yet I have studied Canada’s rich history. It is not without its problems, but Canadian history has made me proud of many of the achievements of my country. I am glad that I was born here. But more and more I am not sure that I want to die here. I truly hope that Harper is not given a fourth term as Prime Minister. I am hoping that the Liberals or NDP take power. And I hope that which ever one of those two doesn’t get the PM seat gets to be the opposition.