My days as a Conservative are over; I’m a democrat

Posted on October 4, 2015 in Governance Debates – OpinionLetters_to_editorVoters-Voice
October 3, 2015.   Eugene Kotyk

Fiscally and philosophically I am conservative. In past I have supported, campaigned for and voted for Conservative candidates. However, after watching Prime Minister Harper surreptitiously and inexorably dismantling democracy in my wonderful country over the past decade; no longer. I am above all a democrat.

This is the man who in opposition railed against lack of openness by the previous government and promised transparency if elected, yet has produced the most secretive government in memory.

This is the man who campaigned for an elected Senate yet appointed party hacks and sycophants to a Senate which reversed a bill, that of Bruce Hyer to protect the environment, passed by the democratically elected Commons.

This is the man who prorogued the House of Commons four times to avoid squirming when the questions became penetrating and embarrassing to answer.

This is the man who emasculated Stats Canada by eliminating the compulsory long census questionnaire. Evidently accurate knowledge is bad when it conflicts with ideology.

This is the man who decimated the CBC, the glue that holds Canada together, by successive, punitive budget cuts. Evidently public information and knowledge are anathema to Harper. A good democracy requires an informed and critical public.

This is the man who eliminated The Law Commission of Canada, The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, The Canadian Council on Learning, The National Council of Welfare and on and on.

This is the man who trimmed the civil service by some 5,000 scientists and muzzled those who remain. Vetted by the PMO, their findings must conform with the Harper doctrine in order for them to communicate with their compeers and the public.

This is the man who fired senior civil servants for doing their job well when it didn’t suit the government.

This is the man who rammed legislation through in encyclopedic length, incomprehensible, omnibus bills to ensure that there would not be adequate discussion in the House prior to passage.

This is the man who brought in Bill C51, draconian legislation which infringes on freedom of expression, legitimate protest and assembly, all supposedly in the name of safety.

This is the man who unleashed the Canada Revenue Agency on over 50 environmental organizations, anti-poverty groups, left-leaning think tanks and foreign aid providers whose aims differ from his.

I cherish the day when we return to a vibrant democracy in my Canada and I suspect it will take a long time to undo the harm that has been done in the past decade.

If we were to re-elect Harper to another term we would have the autocracy, if not dictatorship, that we would deserve.

Eugene Kotyk, Thunder Bay

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