I backed into what became an argument today with an old friend and I did not feel very good about it at all. We both knew Duffy way back when and naturally the conversation turned to the trial.
Trev is one of those guys I mentioned this morning who doesn't think that the Duffy trial is a big deal that undermines the Harper government. He just thinks it falls short of being significant in deciding how he'll vote. He is unhappy at how the Harper government has treated veterans but, again, it won't keep him from voting Tory.
Trev has it in his 75-year old mind that Harper has done a pretty good job with the Canadian economy. He can't say why that is, it's just the way he feels. He had no idea that Harper has turned in 7 consecutive deficit budgets. He had no idea that Harper has swollen our national debt to the tune of $150-billion. He still thinks Harper has done a pretty good job.
I told him that, in this election, he'll have to choose. Will it be Harper or will it be Canada?
In every election since Trudeau first led the Liberals I have never felt that any party leader was less than dedicated to our country. Sure they had differing views, irreconcilable ideologies in some respects, but that didn't negate their commitment to the country and the Canadian people. All of them would respect our democracy and do nothing to degrade it.
In no way can I find any of that in Stephen Harper. As Harper cheerleader, John Ibbitson, recently wrote
The Conservatives’ autocracy, secretiveness, and cruelty, critics accuse, debase politics to a level that threatens the very foundations of Canadian democracy. “Hardly anything in this world hints of Putinism more than Harperism,” columnist Ralph Surette of the Halifax Chronicle Herald opined.
, no fan of Harper to be sure, nonetheless put it both fairly and accurately when he wrote:The hallmark of the Harper era has been an attempt by the government to take ownership of all federal human assets in a degrading and political way. Civil servants have been used as props in fake TV news items. The justice department has drafted a string of unconstitutional legislation reflecting the CPC’s ideological agenda. Federal scientists have been muzzled like unruly dogs.
But one of the most disturbing elements of this tyrannical capture of every aspect of the machinery of government is the increasingly partisan behaviour of the RCMP. The Force has been used against Harper’s political enemies, often without a shred of real misconduct on the table.
Then, today, long-time Harper booster, Andrew Coyne, captured the culture Harper has bred within his own Prime Minister's Office
, one that would befit The Sopranos
:...It is noteworthy that, almost without exception, no one at any point raises any objection to what is going on: not the public deception, not the attempts to tamper with the audit, not the whitewashing of the committee report. The lies are so habitual, so instinctive, so much a part of the normal run of things that no one seems to think them even unusual, let alone unacceptable. It matters, in the end, because the things that should have mattered to them, like honesty and integrity, didn’t.
Harper, like a monarch rather than a prime minister, has indeed taken "ownership of all federal human assets in a degrading and political way
." For years I've lamented on this blog how Harper has corrupted everything he touches in a blatant coup to subvert parliamentary democracy by transforming our public service, our state police apparatus, even our armed forces into his personal, partisan agencies. What he has truly degraded, with clear contempt, is our democracy - the same democracy that our veterans for so long fought and died to defend. Harper has instituted illiberal democracy
. In my view that's nothing short of treason.
It should make no difference - Right, Left or Centre - we should all be Canadians first regardless of our partisan affiliations. Canada comes first. Our fellow Canadians come first. Any leader who places himself above the country, above our people, who treats our government as not ours but his and our 'federal human assets' as his property is not a leader but a malignancy.
Harper is solely responsible for making Conservatives choose between Canada and their party. Through four successive elections they've empowered this betrayal of their country, our Canada. Now they've had four years of majority rule to see what Harper is, his true face and now they've seen it, they have to choose.