Conservative Contradictions; Only the Tip of the Iceberg

Julian Wolfe
April 13th, 2011

Canada is in the fourth election in seven years and the contradictions that have been set forth by the current government could not be more rampant.

Stephen Harper’s Conservative party has made plenty of promises over the years. They promised to bring accountability back to Ottawa. They promised not to tax income trust. The list of broken promises goes on, as does the list of the lies that they committed along the way.

Stephen Harper and his party have committed several lies and contradictions in their careers; here are just a few.

Dealing with Power

Everyone has Equal Say

Stephen Harper claims that he will defend Canadian democracy, but when someone opposes his views, he opposes their presence and discards their beliefs.

In London, Ontario, Conservative Party organizers threw a group of students out of a Conservative rally after screening Facebook to find that one of them had made a group picture with Michael Ignatieff.
CTV reported that Awish Aslam, a second-year political science student at the University of Western Ontario, “We were waiting for Harper and then an official came by and said, ‘We need to talk to you girls outside,'” the 19-year-old Western student told A-Channel London. “(The official) said, ‘You are no longer welcome here.'”

Aslam asked why she was being banned from the event and was answered with, “We know you have Facebook ties to the Liberal Party.”
He also limited media output by baring them to four questions per day and keeping them stacked behind fences a good 15 meters away.

Opposition plot a coalition that will grab power and unrightfully form a government

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff made it clear from the first days of the campaign that a coalition would not happen.
On March 26, 2011, Ignatieff told the media, “This is about a Liberal government and not a coalition government.”

In 2004, Stephen Harper fought to have a coalition government with the New Democrats which he refers to as ‘socialists’ and the Bloc Quebecois, which he refers to as ‘separatists.’ In an article entitled, “Our Benign Dictatorship,” Harper defends the concept of a coalition government and explained that it was a democratically valid form of government. It happened in a time when the opposition parties lost confidence in Paul Martin’s government – similar to what happened in 2008 with the Dion-led coalition which got dismantled and thrown away by Michael Ignatieff himself. Meanwhile, Harper is campaigning that his former friends are evil and are only in it for power.

Fixed Election Dates will come to Law

On May 30, 2006, the Conservatives stuck to their promise to enact a piece of legislation that would set a fixed election date so that the government could not fall when the Prime Minister wished – which is usually done in terms of reelection strategy.

The fixed election date law would have stated that the election after January 26, 2006 would have taken place on October 19, 2009 according to the federal page that was made specifically to promote the new legislation.
Harper declared that parliament was unstable and an election was needed – effectively breaking his own fixed election law. He went to see Michael Jean and an election took place on October 14, 2008. Polls suggested a Conservative majority; election results gave him a strengthened minority at a vast expense of the Liberals who lost over 20 seats.

Dealing with Finance

Canada’s new F-35 Planes will cost $16 billion

While Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton want to fund students, healthcare and families, Harper insists that all of these plans will be bad for the economy and that an untendered contract for arguably unnecessary planes for the moment is a better way to spend public funds than students and families.
The United States of America purchased the same model of planes that we did and they warn us that our cost estimations are way too low. Harper himself had to come up with a new estimate for his hand-picked contract.

Apart from the inflating costs of the planes, the quality is also questionable. Both Democratic and Republican politicians in the American congress agree that the planes were not what they had hoped for.
If this spending project alone were to be cut, Canada would come a lot closer to slaying the deficit that Jim Flaherty said that we would never have.

Jim Flaherty Promises that there won’t be a recession or deficit

On May 30, 2008, economists predicted an economic decline, but Flaherty thought otherwise.
“If some people are saying that (Canada is recession-bound) I disagree with them,” Flaherty told reporters, according to The Financial Post.

“The strengths in the economy across the country are quite remarkable,” Flaherty said.
After the recession struck, Flaherty told the economists, who forewarned that there would be a recession, that no one saw it coming.

Despite the fact of the recession, Flaherty predicted that Canada could steer through it calmly without a deficit of big catastrophe. Canada at that point was already in deficit, and had been since July of that year. The recession only struck by the end of November.

Canada’s books plunged in the red due to tax cuts where Jim Flaherty underestimated the economy, according to The Star and The Canadian Press. The deficit in July 2008 was $500 million and would mark the trend of Canada’s slipping economy – even before the global crisis started.

Flaherty had initially predicted in February 2008 – upon the release of his federal budget – that Canada would have a $2.3 billion surplus and a slim $1.3 billion surplus in the 2009-2010 year – which was reduced to a deficit.

“The budget will be balanced for this … fiscal year. The big challenge is 2009 and going into 2010,” Flaherty responded in December 2008. “But 2009 is going to be a difficult year for Canada and Canadians and we have to gird ourselves for that.”

The once strong $13 billion surplus left behind by the Liberals had been disintegrated within two years of Harper’s election win in 2006. Harper’s legacy deficit reached $53 billion at its peak.

Liberals are ‘Tax and Spend’

Historically, the GST was put into place on September 27, 1990 when then Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney stuffed the senate because the Liberals vowed to kill the bill. His record includes creating a $39 billion deficit and spending measures that dragged our economy into a state of peril.

Ironically, it was Jean Chretien, Leader of the Liberal party at the time who campaigned to abolish the GST but couldn’t when he came to power because the damage that was done by the previous government was worse than the perception going into the election.

On another ironic note, Kim Campbell who was leader of the Conservatives used the same dirty attack ads that Stephen Harper is using right now. In that time, the ‘Face Ad’ was the controversial deal. It mocked Jean Chretien for face deformities.

Members of the Progressive Conservatives distanced themselves from their party adverts – something that Harper’s Conservatives won’t do.

Income trust Will Not Be Taxed

In the 2006 federal election campaign, Harper pledged that he would, “stop the Liberal attack on retirement savings and preserve income trusts by not imposing any new taxes on them,” in the Conservative Platform.

“When Ralph Goodale tried to tax income trust, don’t forget this,” Harper said in a rally in Regina on December 2, 2005 which was aired on Global News. “They showed us where they stood. They showed us about their attitudes towards raiding seniors’ hard earned assets and a Conservative Government will never allow either of these parties to get away with that.”

However, on November 1, 2006, CBC reported that Flaherty imposed a new tax on income trusts. Shortly after, the stock markets fell and $20 billion of trading was wiped out on the first day of trading since its implication and the Canadian dollar fell the most in four months as a result.

Provincial Transfers for Healthcare are Safe with the Conservatives

In October 2010, Maxime Bernier told CBC the following,

“This [bringing back a balanced federalism envisioned by the founders of Confederation] would be done by putting an end to all federal intrusion into areas of provincial jurisdiction. Instead of sending money to the provinces, Ottawa would cut its taxes and let them use the fiscal room that has been vacated. Such a transfer of tax points to the provinces would allow them to fully assume their responsibility without federal control.”

In a nutshell, this means that the Conservatives would cut all funding to the provinces. This is something Harper promised that he wouldn’t do. Look at all of the lies that he has spread and the out-right refusal to release information, do you think he can be trusted with our healthcare system?

Dealing with Crime

Conservatives are Tough on Crime

Stephen Harper and his party claim that they will crack down on crime. They want to fund new prisons to jail criminals, but let those in their party with criminal records get by and make the rules.

Stephen Harper played the “I didn’t know” card when his right hand man had been found scandalous along with the errors that other of his party staffers have committed in the campaign and during public office.

Stephen Harper invited Bruce Carson to work with him because Carson helped his launch in politics. Carson told The Canadian Press, “Mr. Harper invited me to come and work for him when we were in opposition. It was an interview in his office, that’s all. It was just a meeting in his office.”

Harper’s Chief in Staff Ian Brodie said that “There were only a handful of people in the office with Top Secret clearance. When I talk about a handful I mean, probably, five.”

Carson, however, never received his clearance, speculating, “For the kind of work I was doing that seemed to be sufficient, I guess. I don’t know.”

William Elliott, now head of the RCMP, said that it was Secret-level classifications were never denied and added that even someone with a criminal record will be accepted.

How can you be tough on crime if your own crimes happen on a daily basis?

In and Out Scandal is not a Scandal; it is a dispute with Elections Canada

As money went into Conservative ridings as a part of regular election money distribution practices, Harper ordered money to go out to fund a centralized national campaign, and allowed an extra $18.3 million in to save for a rainy day.

A lawyer ran for the party and refused to apply the “In and Out” scheme because he knew it was illegal. Meanwhile, the Conservatives claim that it is nothing more than a legal dispute.

Harper came IN to power on a platform of accountability and came OUT of it with a next to daily scandals.
When voting on May 2, it is important to consider what the incumbent government has accomplished and is trying to accomplish to decide whether one is satisfied with the status-quo. Every action stated will continue if Harper is re-elected – why would he change now?

Stephen Harper has made his path clear, if you don’t vote, this is what you will get.

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   Categories: Conservative, Economy, Election, Harper, Healthcare, Military, Scandal

On Monday, the longest campaign in modern history will come to a close and if current polls are any indication, Canada may be seeing a change in government after 9 years of Conservative rule under the leadership of Stephen Harper. Accountability was his calling card in 2006 and today, accountability may very well be one of the defining reasons for his departure.

In its length, in its cost and in its debate schedule, this election is unusual. The first and possibly only real debate of the campaign ended and here are the highlights of what happened.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper left Rideau Hall this morning with Governor General David Johnston’s approval to drop the writ and Canadians are now officially headed to the polls on October 19. For the first time since fixed election date legislation was brought in by the Conservative government, a fixed election date has been followed.

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