COLUMN: Solberg – Don’t believe the hype on Harper

- July 16th, 2012

Canada is alive and well, thank you

by Monte Solberg

Recently I received an e-mail from someone who informed me that Stephen Harper had destroyed Canada.

This was news to me because, even as I read his e-mail, I was sitting in Canada, which didn’t look like it had been destroyed. Being a nice summer day, Canada looked especially lovely dressed in greens against a backdrop of blue sky.

Nevertheless, I sensed my virtual friend was angry and I suppose it was his opinion that Stephen Harper had made Canada a less attractive place to live.

I really don’t want to be contrary, but based on all the indicators Canada really is an excellent place to live, even if you don’t like the current occupant of 24 Sussex Drive. Don’t take my word for it, check out the UN Human Development Index, which placed Canada sixth in 2011.

For some perspective, France was 20th, which must be upsetting to French citizens like Thomas Mulcair.

Consider that for a moment. Canada, with our oilsands and pipelines and with a Conservative in the prime minister’s office, still ended up in sixth place on a UN index!

Anyway, let’s forget about all of that stuff. The people at the UN are not the most credible folks given their habit of putting countries like Iran, North Korea and Syria on committees that influence international arms agreements and human rights. The UN is a kind of Narnia for people with lots of academic qualifications but without the sense that God gave a goose.

But back to poor old Canada, who according to rumour has been murdered by her own prime minister. The latest evidence the government’s critics point to is Budget 2012. Yes, in this game of Clue the prime pinister allegedly bludgeoned Canada to death in the House of Commons with the 450-page Budget Implementation Act.

But here’s the thing, Canada is actually alive and well. Jobs are being created. The country’s finances are improving and investment is flowing in. Well yes, say critics, but what about the environment?

Actually the Conservatives even addressed environmental issues the Liberals only talked about. They imposed tough new limits on GHG emissions from transportation and electricity generation.

But wait, say other critics, the changes to the Fisheries Act contained in the budget show the government is intent upon selling the environment down some stinking, pollution-choked river.

But just last week the government announced plans to clamp down on municipalities that still spew 150 billion litres of sewage a year into Canada’s lakes, rivers and oceans.

The Conservatives are also putting in place a new National Conservation Plan to protect biodiversity.

Yes, the Conservatives are cutting scientific and environmental programming in some areas, but they are undertaking important new scientific and environmental initiatives in others.

That doesn’t seem to fit the theory the government is either anti-environment or anti-science.

My point is only that sometimes critics create caricatures of the government that are then contradicted by things like, well, evidence.

No, Canada is not perfect, but the evidence shows that in many important ways it’s getting better.

Categories: Contributor Columns

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4 comments

  1. ed says:

    sore losers on the left are always complaining and refusing reality that the conservatives are in power. Somehow, taking a page from the left in the US, that somehow, Harper stole the election just how they accuse Bush of stealing the 2000 Election. Sour Grapes.

  2. Bill Elder says:

    Not to worry Monte, just another useful idiot true believer who drank the Jonestown punch the media party serves up.

    Reality based voters are Harper’s constituency, and speaking for them, I would ask you to tell Mr. Harper to stop spending like a Keynesian debt disciple.

  3. Greg says:

    The fact is Harper did not do much to help Canada except cut and cut and that doesn’t create a good economy. People have to realize that tax cuts alone won’t help an economy. The Republican approach caused the financial mess in 2008. The Bush administration presided over the mess in the USA after all. They in essence did cause it.

    People need to realize that endless growth cannot last forever. We live in a finite world which means we need an economy that works in such a world. I mean we need a sustainable economy that works for everyone. It must also be an economy where everyone who tries can succeed.

    People need to ask themselves why Harper wanted deregulation of our banks, why Harper wanted to go into Iraq, why Harper wanted and still wants an interventionist foreign policy, why Harper gave so much money to the banks, and why Harper did not know an economic storm was coming in 2008 when every economist said a recession was on the way.

    Harper in essence took credit for what the Liberals did. Harper has to ask himself why he spent so much before the recession and why Harper did many things wrong before becoming leader of the new Conservative party.

    The Liberal party that gave Canada the best record and a 13 billion dollar surplus. The Liberals cleaned up a Conservative mess and Conservatives are lecturing on good economics.

    People also have to wonder why Harper wants to secretly go into Iran and / or Syria. Those are important questions what I brought up since Harper could mean major divisions in Canada. If we want this country to succeed, we need to listen to all Canadians, follow a good path that works for everyone, and find solutions in constructive ways instead of fighting all the time. It is obvious Harper will mean more benefits for the rich and more pain for the rest of Canada. Remember that the average Canadian is indebted and this generation could be a lost generation because so many young people are suffering. Also, worsening economies mean that war is more preferred and why Western nations and Harper may favour such a war. Remember Harper campaigned against Canada in 2003 for Iraq and Harper in 2000 wanted a firewall around Alberta. Therefore, Iran and / or Syria could be on the agenda and the truth is what will it mean for Canada.

    These are the many questions that people should ask themselves because Harper is bad in the long run for foreign policy, the economy, national unity, and how people as a whole do in society.

    Also, since we live in a globalized world, people should know that since all economies are more tied together than ever that it is inevitable in some ways that we will most likely go down too. Nothing can stop a recession from coming if all nations are tied together. Remember Europe, USA are first then the rest. It is a matter of when rather than if.

    Thank you and choose a peace agenda!

  4. Rich says:

    Greg your rant above omits a number of facts:

    Fact 1: regarding the Liberals economic management they downloaded health care and infrarstructure cost on to the provinces; they took a 56 billion dollars surplus from EI fund and transfered this surplus into general revenues to be used at their whim: The Conservatives took the 12 billion dollars surplus inherited from the Liberals surplus 2005/2006 fiscal year plus th 14 billion dollar surplus in 2006/2007 fiscal year plus the 13 billion dollars surplus in the fiscal year 2007/2008 and paid down the largest amount on the National debt ever. Which by the way was the result of Trudeau mismanagement.

    Fact #2: It was Chretien that put Canadian forces (JTF) into Iraq in the early 90′s see comments from then Minister of Defence David Collenette and MP John Macallum, all the while Chretien was pulling the wool over the Canadian people’s eyes by telling them he would not put troops in Iraq. This information is readily availabe with a google search.

    Fact#3: It was Brian Mulroney that inherited a massive debt, not deficit from the Trudeau years: If you google Mulroney years government of Canada you will notice that Brian Mulroney had been running surpluses for most of his term, what put them into deficit was the massive service charges to finance the Trudeau debt.

    Fact# 4: Regarding your acertion that Prime Minister Harpers is bad for Canada Internationally this statement is patently false, listen to the OECD, the IMF the WTO and Canada under Prime Minister Harper is a leading light in the world for ecomomic stability; there was no bank bailouts as you suggest, the only bail out was to General Motors and Chrysler to protect those union jobs of which both firms have since repaid the loans with interest to the Canadian government: The Free trade agreements being negotiated by this Prime Minister will only benefit Canada financially, expanding our oil markets to Asia and Europe will benefit Canada because they will get world price base on the Brent Crude which is 120 dollars and barrel; right now we shipped most of our oil to the USA at a price of 90 and 100 dollars a barrel, less a premium discount of 18 dollars a barrel. You can do the math.

    Fact# 5 The Canadian forces were sent into Afghanistan by the Liberal governments of Chretien and Martin with shoddy equipment and no vote in Parliament: It was Prime Minister Harper that when first elected in 2006 brought the Afghan commitment to an open debate in Parliament, which was voted for by both Conservatives and Liberals with the Bloc and NDP voting against. Subsequently every extension in Afghanistan has been debated in Parliament.

    Fact#6 The Prime Minister has stood up for Israel,s right to exist as a soveirgn nation in the UN and condemned Arab states like Iran, Syria Lebanon, China, North Korea for their human rights abuses.

    Please do research and don’t depend only on main stream media or oppostion parties for your info.

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