Okay. I admit it – that’s a bit of a misleading title. It should probably be something more along the lines of “Why governments with nearly unlimited power scare me”
1. “Tough on crime” omnibus bills. If national crime rates are at their lowest since the 1970s and the youth crime rate in particular is 11% lower than it was a decade ago, why this obsession with getting “tough on crime”? (Need proof? See this: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2011001/article/11523-eng.htm) Indeed there are areas in Canada where crime is increasing. It’s not a coincidence that these places are also experiencing high levels of urban poverty, school drop-out rates, addictions, psychological disorders, and gang violence. Researchers repeatedly report that intervention in pre-school does more to reduce crime levels than stricter, longer jail terms. Where is the extra funding for education? or health care?
2. New immigration policies. But really, didn’t we see this coming? This was one of Harper’s main campaign platforms. (I tried to find the television commercials made for Quebec during the last federal campaign but they’ve mysteriously been removed from the web. If anyone can find a link, I’d love to share it. I’m thinking of the “Immigration clandestine” ads.) The irony is, of course, that 95% of us are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. Yet now that most of us feel comfortably “Canadian”, we’re not so sure we want to offer the same hospitality to “others”.
3. The end of the Wheat Board. Despite a public plebiscite in which 62% of farmers said they wanted to keep the Wheat Board, it’s being dismantled. Now that Harper’s got Ontario’s support, watch out rural Canada, he’s not quite as interested in keeping you happy! Wanna read about this? http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/prairie-farmers-vote-to-keep-wheat-board/article2162272/
4. The return of the “Dominion of Canada”. I was having breakfast with Professor Meren of the Université de Montréal the other day. While I was ranting about the Wheat Board, he was lamenting the return of monarchist language and the restoration of pre-1982 national identifications. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out Jason Kenney and his “Dominion Day Address” this past summer. http://www.jasonkenney.ca/in-the-news/479/ I’m still not sure it isn’t more about these guys, than about genuine devotion to the crown.
5. And finally Le Plan Nord. If you don’t live in Quebec, the odds are you’ve never heard of this. Even if you do live in Quebec the odds are pretty good that you haven’t heard of this. Here’s how the website describes it:
“Le Plan Nord est le projet d’une génération. Le Plan Nord a d’abord été l’expression d’une vision du développement durable du Québec. À compter de maintenant, il est l’un des plus grands chantiers de développement économique, social et environnemental de notre époque. Le Plan Nord se déploiera sur une période de 25 ans. Il entraînera des investissements de plus de 80 milliards de dollars durant cette période et permettra de créer ou de consolider en moyenne 20 000 emplois par année, soit l’équivalent de 500 000 personnes-année. Le Plan Nord sera aux prochaines décennies ce que le développement de la Manicouagan et la Baie-James aura été aux décennies 60 et 70.”
Not wanting to suggest it’s only Conservative governments I’m concerned about, it’s also conservative Liberal governments that concern me too.
There’s my rant. I could have gone on and on. I could have talked about back-to-work legislation and pipelines and ignoring the Kyoto Accord and gold-embossed business cards but I’m pretty sure I’ve already alienated a good chunk of my readers. Despite having been brought up in a household where we never openly discussed who we voted for, I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve when it comes to politics these days. I’m disturbed and agitated. I’m angry and wary. I’m anxious and deeply concerned. I write letters so frequently to Stephen Harper that they’ve stopped even acknowledging them. So yeah, I ranted in a post.