40 Reasons Why I Cannot Vote for a Candidate in My Riding Who Supports Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government

In all my sixty-nine years, the current government of Canada led by the Conservative Party of Canada is the worst, most anti-democratic, most anti-Parliament, government I have experienced.
I have voted in every election for which I have been eligible and my voting habit is to vote the person among offered candidates within the electoral constituency in which I live, rather than vote the party, as should every voter in a Parliamentary democracy if Parliament is to function properly in representing people.  As it turns out, the candidate in my riding whose views have most matched my own views was usually a Progressive Conservative candidate.  During the minority government years of the current regime I could support our local Member of Parliament in spite of his participation with a leader I find repellant.  He spoke his mind and, often a thorn to his colleagues, found himself shut out from potential advancement.  With his retirement before our last federal election, I could not support his successor and turned my vote to another, though unsuccessful, candidate.
With the coming Canadian federal election I will vote for a candidate in my riding other than any candidate who supports Mr. Harper and his Conservative Party of Canada for the following reasons (in no particular order but two of which I emphasize as truly substantial):
1. Contempt for Parliament: on March 25th, 2011, the Harper administration was found to be in contempt of Canadian Parliament. This is the first time in the history of any commonwealth government that this has happened. The Speaker of the House of Commons had to rule three times that "the Harper government" appeared to breach parliamentary privilege. (reference, The Globe & Mail)
2. Cheated in the 2006 Election: in Spring of 2011, a federal court found that Mr. Harper's Conservatives wilfully violated the $18.3 million election spending limit, during the campaign which originally brought them to power in 2006. 4 Conservatives (including 2 Conservative Senators) currently face charges and possible jail time. (reference, The Globe & Mail)
3. Discourages voter participation by restricting our rights to vote:  This government passed its so-called Fair Elections Act (widely colloquially called the “Unfair Elections Act”) which strips Elections Canada, the nonpartisan government body responsible for administering elections, of its authority to actively encourage citizens to vote; allows incumbent candidates rather than Elections Canada to appoint polling supervisors; muzzles the Chief Electoral Officer, restricting the role from raising awareness of the electoral process to speaking publicly on just five ‘safe’ topics such as ‘how to become a candidate’ and ‘how to cast a ballot’ and specifically removing the role’s power to alert the public to problems during an election while making it more difficult to investigate vote and campaign  fraud by cutting off Elections Canada’s investigations arm; and then cut Elections Canada’s budget by 8%. (reference The Guardian)
4. Turned Canada's Surplus into Debt: by 2006, under non-conservative leadership, the Canadian budgetary deficit had been turned around, into a $16 Billion surplus. Four years later, and the current government had returned Canada to a record $56 Billion deficit and, until the 2015 budget with its dubious surplus, had failed to return Canada to a surplus position in spite of protestations of fiscal responsibility. (reference Catch22)
5. Takes credit for others’ achievements: Since the 2008 Financial Crisis, this government has been taking credit for the relative strength of our financial sector, based on fiscal policy and a system of banking regulations they inherited, but didn’t support. (reference The Tyee)
6. Shut down Parliament. Twice: one of the Conservative platform promises was more accountability. Since making this promise, This government has shut down Parliament twice, once for several months to block an inquiry into Afghan detainees and to stall government bills, and a second time to avoid a vote of non-confidence which the government was expected to lose. (reference The Globe & Mail)
7. Suborned Canada’s national sovereignty and continues to suborn: This so-called loyal Conservative government negotiated, signed and eventually ratified the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) which goes far beyond simply providing for freer trade but in effect diminishes Canada to a resource colony of the Communist dictatorship in Beijing for the next thirty-one years.  Chinese firms (which are merely arms of the Chinese Communist dictatorship) with investments in Canadian business now have the right to sue Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal governments in secret tribunals outside of our justice system if new environmental, labour, health and safety, business practice, etc. law impinges on their investment.  That is to say, Canada now has to clear such new laws, regulations, and court judgements with Beijing in order to bring them into effect.  Similarly, this government participates in CITA, TPP, TTIP, and TiSA secret negotiations and has signed other so-called free trade agreements, all of which include provisions for investor-state arbitration by which international corporations can sue sovereign nations in secret tribunals outside of any national judiciary to overturn new law enacted out of a nation’s sovereign right to govern itself.  This provision raises international corporations from the subjects of nations to, in effect, non-territorial kingdoms equal with or superior to no-longer sovereign nations while reducing nations to resource and labour colonies of those multinational corporations.  For these actions Prime Minister Harper and those of his ministers involved in these negotiations should be called to answer to the charge of treason. (reference Canadian Centre for Policy AlternativesVancouver Observer, The Council of Canadians , The Independent, and many others)
8. Wants to replace the stable CPP with the untested PRPP: Although seniors' incomes have dropped for the first time in decades, it is clear that the so-called Conservative government was laying the groundwork to replace Canada's well-run, cost-effective, and stable CPP with a private, more expensive pension scheme, the Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP), run by the banking, mutual fund, and insurance industries. This new plan would mean Canadians would have to work for longer, or to retire on less. (reference NUPGE [PDF])
9. Shut down Women's and Minority advocacy groups: Since coming into power, our so-called Conservative government has cut funding for women's advocacy by 43 per cent, shut down 12 out of 16 Status of Women offices in Canada and eliminated funding of legal voices for women and minority groups, including the National Association of Women and the Law and the Courts Challenges Program. (reference Toronto Star)
10. The Economic Action plan has been to the benefit of the super rich; Mr.Harper's economic 'recovery' favoured the extremely wealthy: Over 321,000 Canadians lost their jobs in 2008 and Canadians' average wages fell. Meanwhile Canada's 100 wealthiest persons became richer, reaching an average net worth of $1.7 billion each, up almost 5 per cent from 2008. The majority of those surveyed by the Parliamentary Budget Office reported that the program has had either a neutral or negative impact on jobs. Even the conservative Fraser Institute has criticized it.  (reference Canada.com; The Tyee ; The Fraser Institute)
11. Fraud: One of Prime Minister Harper's top aides, Bruce Carson, had been convicted of 5 counts of fraud, and is currently under investigation by the RCMP. Most recently he was lobbying the government to buy water filtration systems, from a company where his wife was employed. (reference National Post)
12. Wasteful G20 spending, and a record number of arrests: at the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto: Mr. Harper spent $1.9 million building an artificial lake and nearly $1 Billion on security for the 3 day event. 1,105 arrests were made, the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. Of those 1,105 arrests, only 99 criminal charges were ever laid. (reference The Toronto Star)
13. Loosened regulations to allow more chemical residues on your food: Since taking office, this government has weakened regulations so that more pesticide residues can be left on your fruits and vegetables. The plan is to bring Canadian regulations in line with U.S. Levels, which can allow to 100 times higher levels of residue. Under additional new regulations, corporate food producers will be allowed to conduct their own safety inspections. (reference Canwest News)
14. Removed the protection on our lakes and river established by Sir John A. MacDonald:  This government reduced the number of protected lakes and rivers from 2.5 million down to a mere 159. (reference CBC, o.Canada.com news)
15. Vindictive with knowledgeable people who raise concerns: in 2008, when Luc Pomerleau, a biologist at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with a flawless 20 year record with the agency, leaked the plans mentioned in item 10, he was immediately fired. Since then, the listeriosis meat outbreak killed 17 Canadians. (reference Canwest News [2] & The Ottawa Citizen); in 2008, Linda Keen, President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, reported that the aging Chalk River nuclear facility was at a risk 1000 times greater than the international average. Our so-called Conservative government quickly fired her. (reference Toronto Star)
16. Shut down Canadian aid to the world's most impoverished countries: Despite consistently pointing out that Canada's economy is a global leader, Prime Minister Harper used the excuse of poor economic times to freeze aid to some of the world's most impoverished countries. An example of this is the African nation of Malawi, one of the 10 poorest nations in the world. Before this government, Canada was the 6th largest aid donor to Malawi, and the largest supplier of school books. After coming into power, they closed the Canadian embassy in Malawi and took the country (alongside 6 other African nations) off of Canada's aid priority list. They cut aid to Africa in half, before finally freezing all foreign aid in 2010. (reference 680 News)
17. Want to buy 65 stealth fighter jets using $29 billion of tax payers' money: That works out to around $1000 per person in Canada. The government initially reported the cost would be $9 billion, plus $7 billion in maintenance costs for a total life-time project cost of $16 billion. In March, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page warned Canadians that the Harper Government was low-balling the cost by more than $12 billion.  That is responsible fiscal management? (reference The Globe & Mail)
18. Refusal to sign UN declaration designating clean water as a human right: In the 2011 budget, this government failed to allocate any new funding for drinking water on First Nations reserves. 100 First Nations communities currently have water advisories, including 49 communities which are high risk. He also refuses to sign the UN declaration designating clean water as a human right. (reference Rabble )
19. Tried to quietly eliminate the Canadian long form census and with considerable controversy did eliminate it: The long form census is how our government determines the state and needs of the country, and is used extensively in various fields of research. In eliminating the census, many projects would be affected negatively, and it will become much more difficult to understand the needs of the country. (reference Hill Times)
20. Never kept promises of cutting $1.4 Billion in federal subsidies given to oil companies: In 2007, our current government cut $1.2 Billion from the establishment of national childcare, but failed to keep his promise of cutting the $1.4 billion in tax breaks he gives to oil companies, while these firms continue to see record profits. (reference CUPE )
21. Sabotaging efforts to deal with climate change: Protecting the interests of large oil companies, this government has fought global efforts to deal with climate change. In 2009, they cut science research funding by $138 Million, and imposed limitations on scientists at Environment Canada, requiring that they obtain permission to do interviews, and often screened their responses. The result is that Canadian media coverage of climate change science has been reduced by 80%. His efforts here have been so destructive, that in 2009 prominent politicians and scientists called for Canada to be removed from the Commonwealth. The last time this mark of shame was used, it was against South Africa while it was still under racist apartheid rule. (reference Guardian UK)
22. Cancelled the Kelowna accord: The Kelowna accord was a $5 billion breakthrough agreement to improve the quality of health and education for Canada's First Nation's Peoples. This government cancelled it in 2006, immediately after taking office. (reference CBC)
23. Tarnishing our international reputation as Peacekeepers: ‘We detained, and handed over for severe torture, a lot of innocent people.' in 2009 Canadian Diplomat Richard Colvin shocked the nation with these words. In Afghanistan, Canada captured 6x more prisoners than the British and 20x as many as the Dutch. Colvin explained that 'Many were just local people: farmers; truck drivers; tailors, peasants...the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured.' (reference The Globe & Mail)
24. Devastated Canada’s once significant reputation as a world leader on environmental issues. (Reference CBC, Huffington Post, The Star)
25. Wants more power, less oversight: The  so-called Conservative government has vowed to implement unprecedented levels of monitoring on Canadians' internet activities. Prime Minister Harper has tried and failed (4 times) to create a law that would implement mass scale internet surveillance, and that would allow the government access to private information without any warrants, and without any court oversight. (reference CBC & Michael Geist)  Now, this government seeks to diminish our human rights and impose secret police upon us with Bill C-51 when existing law, if properly resourced, is sufficient to respond to potential terrorism without reducing our freedom and privacy. (reference Times Colonist, The Globe and Mail, ThinkPol, CBC)
26. Wasteful prison spending increases, while shutting down rehabilitation centres: Even though crime rates have been falling for a decade, this government plans to implement tougher laws, and to incarcerate more Canadians than ever before. Plans are to double annual prison spending by 2015 (an increase of $5 billion annually). Meanwhile, six prison farms, considered by some to be Canada's most effective rehabilitation programs, where inmates produced food for themselves and other prisons, have been closed. This is in spite of having support from the majority of Canadians. Observers say that this will result in inmates being hardened, instead of healed. (reference Times Colonist & CBC)
27. Defunding and diminishing our national public broadcaster, the CBC (reference Friends of Canadian Broadcasting)
28. Breaking traditions: Traditionally, the lobby in parliament has been decorated with photos of former Prime Ministers. Since taking office, Stephen Harper has broken this tradition, decorating the lobby, Orwellian Big Brother style, with just photos of himself. (reference Ottawa Citizen)
29. Renamed 'The Government of Canada' to 'The Harper Government’: In late 2010, public servants from various departments confirmed that Stephen Harper has indeed renamed 'The Government of Canada' to 'The Harper Government,’ again in Orwellian Big Brother style. (reference The Toronto Star CBC )
30. Turned what is very Canadian over to foreign control: Just recently, this traitorous government sold control of the Canadian Wheat Board out from under our wheat farmers to American and Saudi interests. (reference The Globe and Mail, Global News)
31. Deliberately exporting jobs: Canada lost $3.5 billion when Finance Minister Joe Oliver chose to sell the government's shares in GM before they earned back their full value (reference The Globe and Mail) while Export Development Canada announced a $526 million loan to Volkswagen to help them "grow their operations in North America,” by building factories and creating jobs in Mexico at the same time as 1,000 auto workers at General Motors learned they were the latest ones to lose their jobs when the automobile giant announced massive layoffs at its Oshawa assembly line.(reference Press Progress)  Meanwhile, Canada's unemployment rate remains higher than it was before the 2008 - ’11 recession. (reference The Tyee)
32. Impeded world-wide nuclear armament non-proliferation: At the United Nations review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, this Canadian government has now helped block a major international plan towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons; thus nuclear disarmament efforts have been stalled until 2020. (reference The Globe and Mail, CBC)
33. This poster speaks for itself.
34. Hides under threat: When a pseudo-terrist nut case armed gunman stormed Parliament Hill after killing Cpl. Nathan Cirillo a short distance away, Mr Harper’s leadership style was such as to allow his caucus to have him cower in a utility closet behind his caucus in their meeting room. (reference Daily Brew Canada News)
35. Machiavellian plot to wreak Parliamentary havoc:  Back in 2007, a secret Tory handbook on obstructing and manipulating Commons committees revealing secret techniques to disrupt committee proceedings and render them ineffective at close scrutiny of Parliamentary business got leaked to the press. (reference CTV)
36. Doing nothing about giving Canada a part in controlling anthropogenic climate change. (reference Press Progress)
37. Spent more than $4.7 million fighting 15 losing court cases.  This is competent government? (reference CBC)
38. Arbitrarily and without due process seized the passport of a Canadian citizen while he was out of Canada, precluding him from returning to Canada.  (reference Reuters)
39. Attacks Canadian human rights to a sufficient extent as to draw the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.  (reference Huffington Post, the Globe and Mail, The Star, and see items 9, 12, and 25 above)
40. Transferred fish protection away from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to the National Energy Board for waterways along potential pipeline corridors. (reference Common Sense Canadian)