Thursday, October 8, 2015

Politics - Reasons

Politics - Reasons

So about two weeks ago or so now, my father and I had a pretty angry discussion about who to vote for in the upcoming election. In general, I have been somewhat dis associative of the election, I have a fairly clear view personally of who I am voting for and ultimately as long as people vote, I've been taking the viewpoint that people can make their own informed choices and don't need me airing negativity one way or the other.

That changed about a week ago, at least personally, because of the Conservative campaign of racism against the Middle East, the Niqab debate (which is ridiculous), and the ongoing campaign of attacking, rather than of valuing. There's a weird moment because you look on social media, you look on facebook, you look all over and Conservative supporters seem to be few and far between. But they have a majority right now. And they're projected to possibly win again. So who is voting for them? And why?

And then I had that debate with my father, and everything became clear. My father doesn't actually care that much who is in power. He cares in so far that he isn't taxed more. He cares in so far that he isn't paying for excessive public services. He believes in less government intervention where possible, and the Conservatives have positioned themselves in their propaganda as that...even though research has proven otherwise.

So here, I am compiling a list. These are the reasons to not vote Conservative, because it's not about name calling, but here are the fiscal reasons that you shouldn't vote Conservative. With appropriate citation.

Taxation:



Why is this important? The Harper government is in this situation directly involved in a conflict of interest case, potentially millions of dollars for the wealthy to evade taxation. Why? Why is our government looking out for the interests of the few over the many?
So. That's your fiscal government folks. Some people will say that under a different government we'd be more in the red, I guess that's a possibility. But I have only the raw numbers to go on...and uhhh...I don't think we can say that's a particularly rosy outlook. Someone saying to me "Well under the NDP we'd be 128 billion in debt!" Seems...unnaturally naive, or just idiotic.

  • Conservative Senator Mike Duffy is currently on trial on 31 charges, including fraud, bribery and breach of trust.
  • Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin is currently being investigated by the RCMP for fraudulent travel expenses.

Two Conservative senators are being investigated / on trial for abuse of their powers and fraud of the Canadian people. There are more than two as well, look up Senator Irving Gerstein and Senator Patrick Brazeau.



Employment:


Worst job creation since WW2 http://www.unifor.org/sites/default/files/documents/document/909-harper_economic_critique_eng_0.pdf


This government has the worst track record of unemployment and lackluster Job Creation of almost any Canadian government on record.





This is a point that people seem to bring up. The income splitting will benefit us. We support his income splitting plan. Well let me tell you something, we're not ALL that 15%. Let's actually figure it out, who does it benefit? Why? When? Where is the economic cost being shouldered otherwise?


Tax Evasion:



So foreigners, non-Canadians are permitted to evade taxation in our country, and the Conservative party is making it EASIER to do so. The cuts to the public sector in the CRA were even touted as a money saving initiative, meanwhile making it harder for them to do their jobs.

As Canadians dutifully file personal income tax returns during the coming weeks, consider this: many profitable companies pay little or no tax. “There’s been a proliferation of tax havens,” Howlett explains to host Michael Enright. “Now, a quarter of all direct Canadian foreign investment going abroad is going to tax haven countries. That’s about $170 billion sitting in tax havens, so it’s become a huge problem.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/corporate-tax-avoidance-scheme-hurting-canada-expert-says-1.2572712


Healthcare:

  • Harper is cutting the "jugular of public health care,". To date, the Harper government has refused to meet with premiers to negotiate a new accord. Instead, the federal government plans to cut $36 billion over 10 years from public health care and walk away from its responsibilities to ensure equal access to all Canadians, which could lead to mass privatization. http://canadians.org/media/harper-cutting-jugular-public-health-care-says-barlow 
  • After 2017, Canada Health Transfers to be much lower than previously paid, putting real struggle on provincial health care across Canada. After 2017, minimum three percent rate is below the funding increases of the last 10 years. What this means is that the growth of transfer payments will not likely keep up with the possible continued growth in healthcare costs. In other words, provinces and territories will see funding from the federal government grow at a slower rate than previously. Increases above three percent will also be less predictable and less stable, as they will be tied to increases in GDP above three percent. The bottom line: Given population growth and inflation, federal health cash transfer growth of only three percent after 2017 essentially means a freeze in real per capita health transfers. http://umanitoba.ca/outreach/evidencenetwork/archives/26746
  • Canadian Medical Association Journal - Harper government has dithered on public health measures of glaringly obvious benefit, such as tobacco control and asbestos elimination; ignored and disbanded expert advisory panels on health issues; weakened the authority of the public health agency; muzzled scientists; eliminated the long form census, the best source of information on regional disparities relevant to health; and eroded research support, while increasingly tying what remains to business interests rather than health benefits. By all appearances, the federal government seems to be trying to get itself out of the health care business. It cannot. Many essential aspects of health care are a federal responsibility, and our biggest, most complex problems in the health care system cannot be solved without federal leadership. Without such leadership, Canadians will continue to suffer. http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2015/08/17/cmaj.150896.full.pdf 

Military:





WOW that was a long list. That's not even everything either. I picked and culled from more than 50 articles that caught my attention after a few days of research and browsing around. These are just the directly 'fiscal' reasons for not voting Conservative. These are facts, these are numbers. These are what voting Conservative is costing you. Billions of dollars spent on a bunk jet fighter. Spending your tax money fighting our own veterans. Spending your tax money to aid tax evasion. Cutting the budget to healthcare quietly, calling it a 'Success' when even the Canadian Medical Association Journal says it is impossible and outright dangerous to the public health and interest.

Do you want more? Okay. What follows are the SOCIAL reasons to not vote Conservative. These are more speculative, more opinion based, but also with appropriate citation.


As a point of interest, it should be mentioned here that the Liberals under Trudeau also supported this Bill. The Bill is considered widely to be one of the most dangerous pieces of government policy introduced in the western world. I've even had debates with friends around the globe about what it is and why it represents the worst of our government muzzling.

  • Contempt for Canada. Lest we forget, the last time we were called to an election it was because the Harper government was actually found in Contempt of Canadian Parliament. It was March 25th, 2011, and it was the first time in the history of literally any Commonwealth government that it has happened. The Speaker of the House ruled three times that the 'Harper Government' had appeared to breach Parliamentary privilege. (Source)  
Know what's even sadder about that? Go look up Wikipedia for Contempt of Parliament. Canada is the only listed entry. 3 times.


  • "This is more than an attack on academic freedom. It is an attempt to guarantee public ignorance." Over the last few years, the government of Canada — led by Stephen Harper — has made it harder and harder for publicly financed scientists to communicate with the public and with other scientists. It began badly enough in 2008 when scientists working for Environment Canada, the federal agency, were told to refer all queries to departmental communications officers. Now the government is doing all it can to monitor and restrict the flow of scientific information, especially concerning research into climate change, fisheries and anything to do with the Alberta tar sands — source of the diluted bitumen that would flow through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Journalists find themselves unable to reach government scientists; the scientists themselves have organized public protests. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/22/opinion/sunday/silencing-scientists.html?_r=0


  • "The Harper years have seen a subtle darkening of Canadian life," writes Stephen Marche, a Canadian who has regular columns in both Esquire and the National Post. [...] The darkness has resulted, organically, in one of the most scandal-plagued administrations in Canadian history. [...] Americans have traditionally looked to Canada as a liberal haven, with gun control, universal health care and good public education," says Marche. "But the nine and half years of Mr. Harper’s tenure have seen the slow-motion erosion of that reputation for open, responsible government. His stance has been a know-nothing conservatism, applied broadly and effectively." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/opinion/sunday/the-closing-of-the-canadian-mind.html

  • Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver is casting doubt on climate change science. "I think that people aren’t as worried as they were before about global warming of two degrees,” Oliver said in an editorial board interview with Montreal daily newspaper, La Presse. “Scientists have recently told us that our fears (on climate change) are exaggerated.” Meantime, a newly-published peer-reviewed study shows linked fossil fuels to rising temperatures in China. http://o.canada.com/news/national/blog-joe-oliver-casts-doubt-on-climate-science-in-defence-of-oilsands


Security Council rejection a deep embarrassment for Harper. [...] imposed on a country that no longer plays its traditional role of peacekeeper and champion of human rights on the international stage. [...] Canada will now have to wait a decade or more before it can expect to mount another campaign for a Security Council seat. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/security-council-rejection-a-deep-embarrassment-for-harper/article1370239/


Canada was one of only four countries not to vote for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; the only Western country that refused to repatriate its citizen from Guantanamo Bay, Omar Khadr; and the only one to pull out the Kyoto environmental accord to reduce emissions. http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/09/27/the-high-cost-of-stephen-harpers-foreign-policy-siddiqui.html


Stripping of federal protection of our lakes and rivers. Thanks to Harper's new Navigation Protection Act, 99 per cent of our lakes and rivers now have no federal protection according to Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow. Documents reveal that the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association were the ones who initially pushed for these changes and Harper, of course, obliged.




Our Military broke Geneva Convention and handed over prisoners, many of whom were probably innocent, to be systemically tortured. You forgot that one didn't you? I didn't. It was a major point of contention when I was in my 20s and wrote a scathing article on it. "Many were just local people: farmers; truck drivers; tailors, peasants - random human beings in the wrong place at the wrong time." Yet, he said, they all faced the same fate. "According to our information, the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured. For interrogators in Kandahar, it was standard operating procedure," Mr. Colvin said. "In other words, we detained, and handed over for severe torture, a lot of innocent people." (Source)


The Conservative Party under Stephen Harper has never run a clean election campaign in any election. Stephen Harper is rewriting Canada’s Elections Act to prohibit the Chief Elections Officer from educating Canadians about voter rights. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/election-reform-bill-an-affront-to-democracy-marc-mayrand-says-1.2527635


An inquiry into the missing indigenous women is "not high on our radar". There are 1200 missing Canadians. 1200. At what point does it become high on our radar? Perhaps we need to hit five digits? Please explain at what point the tipping point is to have an inquiry into why people are being murdered? I would like to know. And I rather expect that it's pretty high on many Canadian's radar too. http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/stephen-harper-s-comments-on-missing-murdered-aboriginal-women-show-lack-of-respect-1.2879154


Auto sector to see 1 billion dollar compensation after signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. So the government signs a deal that it knows is bad for one of our major industries, and to placate them it offers one billion dollars in taxpayer money. Money that the auto sector itself has said is ineffective, and is actually just an extension on a pre-existing non-repayment funding program. So the promise is hollow. Why did we sign the agreement to begin with? http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-harper-auto-sector-tpp-1.3258339


Harper's government spent a whopping $13.4 million fighting charities through the CRA. Just a few weeks ago Canadian charities received support from the U.N.. "These audits have resulted in mounting fear of losing charitable status, and therefore necessary funding sources, across the entire charitable sector. Human rights in Canada are under assault, and the U.N. Human Rights Committee noted that today," said Canada Without Poverty president Harriett MacLachlan. 



Conclusion:

Okay. I can keep going, and I just might to be honest, but I think an explanation is in order. First my reason for making this document and writing/researching all this. When I enter into discussions with people who ARE voting conservative, they frequently tout that the government is fiscally responsible, and that's what is appealing. So I went into my research from that perspective trying to figure out if it actually WAS responsible fiscally. I couldn't find that. Instead I found a tremendous number of incidents like those listed above where the government had given benefit fiscally to one particular sector to either placate it, or to ensure it got a tax break. Or, on the flipside, the government withdrew funding from a particular organization or sector and touted it as cost-cutting.

However, even a rudimentary amount of digging showed that often experts were at odds with the government's intervention. Or, the government had outright been investigated for fraud or corruption, as is the case with some Senators or kickback schemes.

The problem is propaganda. The Conservatives have the largest amount of reserves to create media with bias. With Bias. That's the important part here. Those radio ads you hear about creating jobs? Those tv commercials about more opportunities or tax breaks or whatever? They can say ANYTHING. It's easy to spin the numbers and word it in such a way that it sounds positive. Or negative against the other parties. The point is that you have to do what I've been doing here, dig a bit, read articles, research, ask people.

The fight this election is really split between fiscal, and social perspectives. And I get it, I do. For some people, the fiscal elements outweigh the social ones. I have few responsibilities, no children who are relying on me to make money every week, no retirement I need to consider at this point. I can get outraged at the social elements of this election. But if you aren't at least listening to the social elements, and are instead wholly focused on the fiscal ones, I urge you to consider something.

In the pursuit of protecting your own money, your own livelihood, your own quality of life, are you prepared to give up some of, or all of these social, sometimes moral elements? If you make 70k a year, is your 70k a year worth knowing that you are putting in power a government that denies Climate change. Is your 70k alright with giving away your right to privacy, your right to your Canadian Citizenship? How about knowing your children can grow up academically inquisitive and not be muzzled? Will you be okay with your grand-children not having an appropriate democratic process? Growing up in a Canada that has obfuscated Electoral reforms where thousands upon thousands of people are receiving the wrong voting information and cannot participate? Will you be okay knowing your government handed over innocent people to be tortured in a military action on foreign soil? Are you alright knowing that the government spoke out against the niqab in a racist, ignorant way and the next day a pregnant woman wearing one was attacked by a gang? That's not my Canada, or so I thought.

These are the social problems. For me, there is no question what side of the line I stand on. I get that it isn't that easy for other people. But therein lies the problem, on election day, (or before it if you vote in advance) you need to have all the information. You deserve to have as much as you can. I don't want to tell you who to vote for, I just want to provide information for you to make an informed decision.

This is what our government has been up to these last two terms. This is what you can look forward to, and more if you vote for them.

Go vote. Democracy begins with voting, not ends. Stay curious, questioning and engaged.
'We detained, and handed over for severe torture, a lot of innocent people.' in 2009 Canadian Diplomat Richard Colvin shocked the nation with these words. In Afghanistan, Canada captured 6x more prisoners than the British and 20x as many as the Dutch. Colvin explained that 'Many were just local people: farmers; truck drivers; tailors, peasants...the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured.' - See more at: http://www.whynotharper.ca/#printablelist


Edit:
I am completely open to discussion and discourse about the election. But I am not interested in saying who I am voting for to strangers. Nor am I interested in providing a forum in which people are attacked, degraded or belittled for their opinions. If you want to engage, you must be CIVIL, and if you want to discourse like adults, you must provide citation or research to back your points up. If they are links to rebelmedia I shall be SORELY disappointed.

Also, this blog as mentioned somewhere on here in a disclaimer is NOT a democracy, and Freedom of Speech only protects you insofar that no one will persecute you for what you say. I'll probably just ban you, and not lose any sleep over it whatsoever if you act like an ass.
The reason you're being called to vote again, is because on March 25th, 2011, the Harper administration was found to be in contempt of Canadian parliament. This is the first time in the history of any commonwealth government that this has happened. The Speaker of the House of Commons had to rule three times that "the Harper government" appeared to breach parliamentary privilege. - See more at: http://www.whynotharper.ca/#printablelist
Contempt for Canada
The reason you're being called to vote again, is because on March 25th, 2011, the Harper administration was found to be in contempt of Canadian parliament. This is the first time in the history of any commonwealth government that this has happened. The Speaker of the House of Commons had to rule three times that "the Harper government" appeared to breach parliamentary privilege.
- See more at: http://www.whynotharper.ca/#printablelist