Monday, June 29, 2015
How Stephen Harper Changed the Face of Canada
It still looks like the Canada I first saw on a glorious fall day long ago, through the window of a plane coming into land at Montreal airport.
As I bounced up and down in my seat with excitement, and looked down to see if I could spot any bears on Mount Royal.
A country so big and so beautiful, it took my breath away.
But sadly it isn't the same country. For as Carol Goar points out, Stephen Harper has altered it almost beyond recognition.
Who would have believed a decade ago that the census — the gold standard of national fact gathering — would become an election issue?
Who could have imagined the Canada Revenue Agency going on a witch-hunt for charities that oppose the policies of the governing party?
Who would have conceived of Ottawa sub-contracting the delivery of foreign aid to Canadian mining companies, long criticized for violating human rights abuses and fouling the environment of developing countries?
Who could indeed have imagined that he would destroy so much that was so good about this country?
Demolish so many cherished institutions it had taken us years to build up, and rape our precious Canadian values so brutally.
Canada has metamorphosed from a middle power that championed international co-operation and led the world in the campaign to eliminate deadly landmines into a country that seeks to be known for its military might. The Tories equate diplomacy with weakness, negotiation with naïveté.
A nation that once took pride in its ability to integrate people of all origins into a peaceful, pluralistic society now glorifies pre-Confederation wars, elevates fallen soldiers to hero status and repatriates their bodies with tearful pageantry.
Who could have imagined that he would do such terrible damage? That even after him and his filthy depraved Con regime are finally defeated, it will take us YEARS to repair.
Some of Harper’s changes — the muzzling of federal employees, the withholding of public documents, the stifling of dissent, the marginalization of Parliament — can be undone. Others such as the dismantling of national institutions will be difficult and expensive to reverse.
You know shortly after reading Carol Goar's story, I read another story where the writer suggests it's time to cut the maple leaf flags off our backpacks.
And while that's probably a good idea, because Harper's bellicose policies and his big mouth have made us targets all over the world.
I don't think that writer understands what those little flags meant to me and so many others...
Because for me it was never a chauvinist symbol, or something to brag about, or set us apart from our neighbours. It was a message of friendship to all the people I met in my travels abroad.
It was my way of telling them that I may come from a giant country, but it's one that doesn't bully anyone. I wanted to let them know that we were peacemakers not warmongers. And that we wanted to work with them, to set a good example for others.
And in our humble but decent way help build a kinder, gentler, more equal world for everyone.
And you know what? That's STILL the Canada I believe in.
So although what has happened to it has made me very angry and very sad. And even made me wonder whether I should return to the country I came from.
Which is very small, very humble, but also very beautiful...
And where these days the rebel spirit in those mountains is very much alive, and hope flourishes. Unlike Harperland where for too many it goes to die.
But I'm never going to do that because this is my country now. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. It really was love at first sight.
So what I am going to do is work harder than ever to take the Harper Cons off our backs.
I want to defeat them, crush them beyond recognition, make them pay for what they have done.
And I am going to get my Canada back...
You know it's funny. It was a bitter disappointment to discover that there were in fact no bears on Mount Royal, the first place I saw through that plane window.
But that's where I met Sébastien, the awesome Prince of the Saguenay, who is now my companion.
Isn't that amazing?
Yup. There are now 111 days to go before the election.
Let's use revenge to motivate us.
And make every day count...
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