Friday, April 22, 2011

Tories in the Lead...

The Tories are leading the polls and appear likely to finally take home a majority in early May. This bothers me for a number of reasons.

  • By far the key theme to much of the legislation passed by the Conservatives over the past years has been focused around their "tough on crime" agenda. This despite the overwhelming evidence that "tough on crime" doesn't work--and might actually make things worse.
  • The "tough on crime" agenda is supposedly justified by the Conservatives perceptions of Canadians' perceptions of crime rates. They're dependent on that kind of hearsay because the actual data shows a decline in crime rates from 1990 to 2004. It's obvious from the data in the previous link that Canadian crime is much worse in very particular regions, and therefore is likely more related to local socioeconomic factors than national crime policy. The Conservatives claim that the crime rate is actually increasing because people are not reporting crimes to police; this is provably false, since StatsCan shows that reporting to police actually increased from 2004 to 2009. (NB the most common reason for not reporting was that the event was "not important enough.")
  • The Conservatives are going to be a lot more dependent on hearsay now that they've scrapped the utility of the Canadian census. They claimed their reason was that forcing people to participate on pain of jail was wrong. A sensible Government would have just done away with the threat of jail; but they threw the baby out with the bathwater, causing the head of StatsCan to resign in protest.
  • While championing a program to improve maternal health worldwide, the Conservatives have cut funding from the International Planned Parenthood Foundation completely. The IPPF is one of the world's largest providers of maternal and sexual health care to underprivileged women in the world. Anyone who thinks this decision isn't really about abortion needs to get real.
  • People who support the Tories for their fiscal policies should give their heads a shake. Harper's governments have spent money like spoiled teenagers with Daddy's credit card. Then, when Canadians were truly beginning to suffer from the global recession, the Conservatives came up with a brilliant plan: cut spending, deny pay equity, and cut funding to political parties. The Opposition essentially revolted, causing Harper to freak out and prorogue Parliament. Only after proroguing in the middle of a recession did his government do anything to help Canadians (i.e. stimulus).
  • Despite the deficit from that stimulus, these so-called fiscal conservatives plan on spending billions of dollars on bigger prisons, and their "tough on crime" agenda is outrageously expensive but still being pushed forward in spite of all the evidence (see above) that it's counterproductive. They wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on security for the G8/G20 summits (Britain did the same thing for a fraction of the cost just a couple years prior, and all our security did was illegally detain a bunch of hippies and bystanders.)
  • All that talk of Senate reform that conservatives used to love to talk about? What reform?
Then there are the ideas of principle:
  • Harper prorogued parliament TWICE, once in the middle of a recession, and the other because of charges of complicity with torture in Afghanistan. He also called an election, violating his own law requiring 4-year terms.
  • This whole election is because of the Conservatives' contempt of parliament.
  • This government muzzles scientists and distorts facts.
  • Harper kicks his own cronies out of cabinet without any justification.
  • Harper constantly pretends the other parties are on the verge of taking over Canada via a coalition, despite the fact that he proposed the same friggin thing when he was opposition leader.
  • Harper actually circulated an instruction booklet to Conservative MP's on how to disrupt and obstruct Commons committees.
There are probably other things I could include, but my blood is already boiling. Conservative policies don't work, and they're going to harm our economy and social well-being. Harper is a shrewd leader who cares not a lick for the Canadian people, or even reality for that matter. Say what you will about the other parties or leaders, no one has shown such utter contempt for our country as Harper and his governments.

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