To the editor:
The Harperites have contaminated the political discourse in this country by the importation and implementation of Republican-style attack ads and fear-mongering campaigning.
The Harper attack ads stress: 1. Character assassination of opponents (particularly Michael Ignatiaff) and 2. The dire consequences for Canadians if the Conservatives are not re-elected, saying that their re-election is the only way to keep Canadians “safe”.
Depending on the issue, the Harperites paint their opponents as: 1. reckless spendthrifts, 2. weak on crime, national defence and security, 3. lacking integrity, and 4. in some cases, unpatriotic.
Further, these ads have so poisoned the political atmosphere in this country that rational debate on issues vital to Canadians has become virtually impossible. In reality, Harper’s attack ads and scripted “bubble” campaigning show contempt, not only toward political opponents but the Canadian electorate. They obviously believe that the majority of Canadians are politically unsophisticated and thus easily duped.
The following points, among innumerable others, can be made regarding Harper’s re-election campaign promises and statements to date:
1. “Corporate tax cuts are good for the Canadian economy”, says Flaherty.
As reported by Statistics Canada, the rate of investment in machinery and equipment has declined in lock-step with falling corporate tax rates over the past decade. Corporations, however, added $83 billion to their cash reserves. Flaherty promises a further cut to 15 per cent will be implemented. This proposed tax cut will cost tax payers $14 billion per year by 2013.
Liberals propose cancelling Flaherty’s proposed cuts. Good idea.
2. “Costing of F35 fighter jets to be $75 million per plane as per contract,” says Harper.
The true per-unit cost of the F35 will be at least double Harper’s figures, Canada’s Parliamentary budget officer stated, and confirmed by Winslow Wheeler, Centre for Defence Information, Washington, D.C. Therefore, total cost to Canadians will be $18 billion for 65 planes, plus maintenance costs of $7 billion.
Liberals promise to open this file to competitive bidding. Good idea.
3. Conservatives state that “for a safer Canada we will be building more prisons.” (Cost purposefully not divulged but experts estimate costs to be multiple billions in construction, staffing and maintenance). In fact, Canada’s crime rate has been decreasing. The U.S. incarcerates more people per capita than any other western country and U.S. citizens are hardly safer than we are.
Liberals propose a pro-active approach in mitigating conditions that lead to crime rather than a reactive approach promised by Harper. Good idea.
4. Conservatives are superior fiscal managers, Harper implies.
A) Harper squandered the inherited Liberal surplus of $14 billion before the 2008 recession.
B) Jeffrey Simpson, editorialist with the Globe and Mail, has this to say about Conservative fiscal management: “Conservatives tend to deliver lower taxes, bigger spending and large deficits. The gap between promise and delivery has been, and remains, huge.”
To sum up, as a former Red Tory of the late lamented Progressive Conservative Party, I can state without equivocation that Harper’s vision for Canada, both domestically and internationally, is not mine. Hopefully, other disaffected former PC supporters like myself will cast their vote for a national party that better represents their values. Harper has betrayed the trust of Canadians and does not deserve re-election.