Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Thursday, October 15, 2015

2011-2015 Harper Government Wrap-up

The problem with writing about politics, is you generally find an audience that has already come around to your way of thinking.  That’s not a very good way to change minds at election time.

So I’m trying to shift my perspective a tiny bit and trying to think up ways to convince people that a vote for Steve is a really bad idea.  Of course, I’m never going to convince the diehards, but maybe there are some soft supporters that can be shown the value of voting for somebody else?  In order to do that, I need to try to understand their motivations.  Which is hard.  I’ve been so buried in this stuff for years and years, I can’t imagine a valid justification for voting Conservative.

So I will try to appeal to the people that haven’t been sucked so far into the weeds.  And I think if you talked to the average soft Conservative supporter, they would probably be drawn to one issue.  Taxes.  I’m not going to waste time arguing with you about the value of taxes, the progress of society and the greater good.  I’ll spot you this point and begrudgingly accept that there is an argument for paying less tax.  But I’m going to show you the cost of those tax cuts you so badly crave.

The other problem I am facing here is that generally when you’re against something, people assume you are for something else.  Life would probably be easier if I felt super passionately about either Mulcair or Trudeau.  Both have their moments, but I can understand the hesitation people are feeling.  But that is no reason to avoid change.  Either is a far better option that what we have now.  My best case is a minority featuring anybody but Harper, and then the country mobilizes to force some kind of meaningful electoral reform.  So please.  Read this post.  Visit the Threehundredeight riding projection tool, and vote for the candidate that has the best chance to unseat Harper.  And then write your MP and tell them to change this stupid system.

And I've been told to make things more interesting with photos, so I've gone a bit overboard.
They didn’t actually balance the budget

“Balanced budgets” are a big talking point this election.  Mulcair is promising them, and Steve speaks of them like they’ve been a regular occurrence over the last few years even though…well.  But everybody needs to be reminded…this government has produced precisely one balanced budget, and they resorted to a whole bunch of shenanigans to make it happen.

So ya, if you sell your house and rob your savings account, anybody can balance a budget.  Let us also remember that this “balanced budget” was delayed for months due to “unforeseen global events”.  How come every shock to the economy is a “global economic force that we have no control over” and every piece of good news is “sound financial management”.  The Cons have blamed all of the bad news this year on lower oil prices that nobody could predict…except for Thomas Mulcair who warned us about this years ago and was soundly mocked for it in a series of attack ads.

They didn’t really balance the budget.  They haven’t been that great for the economy.  If that is your reason for voting Conservative, you should really put some thought into it.
They’ve wasted a piss tonne of money

Of course, “saving money” goes hand-in-hand with “balanced budgets”.  The Conservatives are all about “saving you money”.  Unfortunately, this government has pissed away a lot of dollars.

To me, the most egregious of crimes is this fascination with spending hundreds of millions of dollars on self promotion (including millions just on Facebook ads).  The Harper Government has turned publically funded political advertising into an art form.  Literally hundreds of millions ($750 million is the last number I saw) have been spent on advertisements, many for borderline or blatantly partisan issues.

But they also seem to love lawyers.  We’ve spent another boatload of money ($7 millionish) defending (and losing) court cases brought against some of their awful legislation:

Want some more?

And the grand-daddy of them all…$3.1 Billion, just sort of up in smoke.

These guys aren’t for a “small government”.  They just have a more self-interested way of wasting your money.
They’re actively working against the collection of science and data

Knowledge, facts and data are all generally considered to be good things.  If you want to make sound policy decisions, you generally want as much (factual) information as possible.  And if you don’t know about a topic, you’ll consult an expert.  Unfortunately, this government does not agree with this methodology.

The war on government scientists is well documented.  From dismantling libraries with irreplaceable research to just making shit up about things to suit your purpose, the disdain for science has been talked about ad nauseum.  I’ll just leave you with some of links if you want to dig in to it.  HereHere. Here.

But what about the census?  The Conservatives caved in to their afraid-of-the-Gummint crowd and scrapped the mandatory long form census because it was “too intrusive”.  What has that done?  It’s destroyed our long term data tracking.  It’s resulted in StatsCan putting disclaimers on their dataIt’s impacted our ability to make good decisions.

But maybe that’s the point?  Maybe when your decisions don’t make any sense, you don’t want more pesky data pointing this out?  I mean…we’re “tough on crime” even though the statistics have been pointing in the right direction for years.  What’s the saying?  If it ain’t broke, change all sorts of shit?

But it’s not just data.  It’s a wilful disregard of experts.  We don’t want Insite, even though it has been proven effective.  The Kits Coast Guard Base wouldn’t have helped with the Vancouver oil spill, even though the former Captain says precisely the opposite.  They told the RCMP they have to keep using fur hats that they don’t want.  They told the Border Services they had to keep filming a TV show they didn’t want to be involved withThey killed a program that successfully re-habilitated sex offenders (because who wants those guys to get better, right?)  They rejected a recommendation to ban generic oxycodoneThey rejected a plea for increased legal aid fundingThey rejected research showing the harms of their prostitution policies.  Hell, they can’t even get their own “experts” to agree on things and have put out reports that contradict their own policies.  Nobody knows better than this government, even if it’s their life’s work.

Worse than this…is the appointment of political/partisan/compromised hacks to important postings.  A Kinder Morgan exec. gets appointed to the National Energy BoardThe Minister of Environment is a climate change sceptic.
If you don’t vote for them they don’t really want you to vote

The Conservatives decided that they’ve had enough with people cheating in elections, even though they’re the only people that seem to get caught cheating in elections.  And they came up with the “Fair Elections Act”.  I’m just going to crib directly from my 2014 round-up here: 

This is all bad enough, but then several of them started making up stories about rampant voter fraud to justify the changes (don’t worry, they looked into it and decided not to investigate themselves).  Then it came out that they didn’t consult with the Chief Electoral Officer before they wrote the bill (or the guy that will be taking over investigations from him), and they bastardized the conclusions of a report to justify their actions.  And then they decided to limit debate on the bill, because why worry about discussing such things? 
They’re xenophobes that have diminished our status on the world stage

Canada used to have a proud place in this world.  We used to be a place that the downtrodden looked to for safety.  Be it refugees, war torn countries, or just anybody looking for a sound, middle of the road view of the world.

Somehow, we’ve turned into a Xenophobic mess.  I talk a bit more about this in another post I put up recently.  We’ve turned into a country that goes to court (and loses) in an effort to deprive refugees of health care.  We’ve turned into a country where our Minister repeatedly refuses to answer questions about just how many refugees we’ve taken on and resorts to nonsense to defend his actions.  We’ve turned into a country where the Prime Minister resorts to nonsense facts and statistics to justify and hide his inaction.  We’ve decided that we’d rather let people buy their way into the country, even though it’s been proven that these rich immigrants provide less benefit to the country than refugees.  Always remember, this is what Conservatives think of refugees.
We’ve also decided that Israel is an ally above reproach and deserves our unconditional support.  We’ve literally started to label any criticism anti-Semitism and discussed making it a hate crime.

We’ve also decided that business trumps rights oversees.  We’re selling Saudi Arabia weapons and totally ignoring their human rights abuses.  We’re letting our mining companies do unspeakable things with no oversight.  We even argued that it wasn’t so bad to sell asbestos to third world countries.

Worst though is that the Conservatives are using all of this to stoke hatred and drum up support.  A “barbaric cultural practices” tiplineFurther expansion of the niqab banMore stripping of citizenship?  Unbelievable.  Un-Canadian.
They’re a band of fucking morons

Every party has their dipshit that they hide away in the back benches.  Unfortunately, this party is almost entirely dipshits.

We’ll start with Minister Leona Aglukkaq.  So awful, I’m just going to pull in what I wrote about her in January. 
She just can’t stop stepping in it lately, in loud, embarrassing fashion.  It’s difficult to even understand some of her spats.  Her most recent involves a spat with a Deputy Mayor in Rankin Inlet, after said Deputy Mayor suggested some people were so hard up in his community, they were foraging at the local dump for food.  Leona may or may not have phoned him and demanded an apology.  And she may or may not have threatened to sue him.  But she did most certainly read a newspaper in the House of Commons as debate over the incident swirled around her.  She actually apologized for this, which almost knocked her off the top of our list.  But alas, no.

I’ll remind you that this lady is our Minister of the Environment, and she is a climate change skeptic.  And doesn’t seem to give a shit about the environment.  Her response for why Canada doesn’t do anything about Global Warming?  Well, Canada only puts out 2% of Global GHG emissions, so why bother.  That’s 0.5% of the World’s Population putting out 2% of the emissions...but who cares about things like that?  She also just kind of tends to make things up when asked to defend ourselves.

Also amazing is that this is the woman who decides what makes it onto the Endangered Species List.  She doesn’t have a problem with hunting polar bears.  Or seals.  Seems to think there is no reason to block the international trade of 76 endangered species.  Or caribou.  And has terrible manners.  And seems to be delusional about our place in the world.   And uses her position to speak out against Greenpeace.

Or how about Senator Don Meredith, who has degrees from imaginary Universities.  He also flew to Washington for a prayer meeting after it was specifically not approved.  With his wife.  Business Class.  This was all before he was accused of having an affair with a teenager.

I’ll just post this photo here to remind you that Senator Mike Duffy exists and we don’t need to talk about him.
What about fall guy Michael Sona?  The only person convicted in the RoboCalls scandal.  Somehow.

MP Dean Del Mastro is a favourite of mine.  It started when he made a tearful plea to be charged or to be let off the hook for his election expense inproprieties.  So he was charged.  And found guilty.  But also found time to bully and intimidate witnesses.

And MP James Bezan also had some problems with his finances.

Minister Chris Alexander is terrible at his job, as has been fairly well documented over the last few months.  My favourite is when he hung up on As It Happens when they asked him some questions that he couldn’t answer.

MP James Lunney doesn’t believe in evolution.  “It’s just a theory”.

MP Wai Young suggested that Jesus would support Bill C-51, and also that if it had been in place the Air India bombing could have been prevented.  But then again...maybe she knows more about this than the rest of us do?

It wasn’t enough that MP Rob Anders fell asleep (repeatedly) on the job, including right in the House of Commons.  He’s also re-iterated his disdain for Nelson Mandela, claiming he’s nothing more than a terrorist.

Paul Calandra embarrassed himself in the House of Commons by refusing to come remotely close to answering a question, much to the delight of the clapping seals standing behind him.  His excitement was short lived though, as he was forced to apologize after getting hung out to dry by his party.  It did give us this though, which was awesome.
Minister Bev Oda lived it up in London with expensive hotel swaps and orange juice.  She also required a limousine when a minivan just wouldn’t do.  She is kind of a bad ass though.
MP John Williamson suggested that it doesn’t make sense to pay “whities” to stay home so that we could bring in “brown people” as temporary foreign workers.

MP Laurie Hawn “personally witnessed” voter card shenanigans in the 2006 election and used it as justification for the “Fair Elections Act”.  Unfortunately, voter cards weren’t used until 2008.

Minister Vic Toews thinks you “stand with the child pornographers” if you don’t agree with his e-snooping bill.  He also blamed the opposition for not fighting hard enough against a Conservative appointee who ended up being a criminal.

Even though the citizenship ceremony is apparently some kind of sacred ceremony in the eyes of the Conservatives, Minister Jason Kenney thought it would be a good idea to use staffers to pretend to be new Canadians for a citizenship ceremony stunt.


This is one of my favourite stories of the last few years, as it so perfectly represents where our society is going.  I’m pretty sure this is a real story, but I would accept it if you told me it was actually satire.  A Muslim gentleman sent a text message to his coworkers encouraging them to “blow away the competition”.  He was fairly quickly arrested and branded a terrorist.

Bill C-51 is of course the biggie.  There is so much to say on this, and many, many people have pointed out many, many problems, including a group of ex-PM’s who encouraged the government to take another look.

But why worry?  We have watchdogs to oversee that stuff, right?  Except that the newly appointed privacy watchdog spent his career drafting the laws that he’s supposed to be watch-dogging.

But what is everybody afraid of?  Well, maybe the fact that run of the mill protesters might be branded terrorists?  Maybe the use of the bill as a hammer to quell environmental resistance?  Seriously.  They’re really concerned about this and have spent a lot of time tracking protests and protesters across the country.  For me, the worst case is having the RCMP spy on Northern Gateway protesters at the request of Enbridge.

Why are Conservatives so for “small government” except for when it’s literally about the most intrusive government actions possible?  Oh.  Wait.  They used to worry about just such things before they came to power.  Rightfully so.  Facebook spying.  Mass data collection on Canadians that they denied and then dismissed concerns over and refused to investigate. This is some real Big Brother type shit.   

The hardest part of writing this has been weeding down 4 years of nonsense into one readable post.  If you have some time, I urge you to take a look at my 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 round-ups.  There’s a lot more stuff.

Honestly.  If you’re okay with all this stuff and still insist on voting Conservative.  Well.  Thanks for nothing.  My 2019 I-told-you-so won’t be so friendly.