A vote for Stephen Harper's party is a vote for fascism. Mr. Harper has been found in contempt of Parliament and removed from office - the first time in the history of the Commonwealth - and he just shrugs it off as partisan "bickering" and comes back demanding a majority government so he doesn't have to deal with opposition. That was how he answered the question of how to work with other parties - give him a majority so he doesn't have to.
I've personally experienced his quashing of our freedoms as an international development professional, watching him remove funding from groups like Kairos who don't fit his ideology, and from groups like CCIC who dare to oppose his policies publicly. I've watched helplessly as people right beside me are beaten and abused by the police as we tried to peacefully express our views at the illegal G20 summit. I've signed petitions and sent letters and felt the national outrage at his withholding of information that members of a democratic society have the right to know, and need to know to ensure that our elected government is doing its job.
Just like when the police wall were moving forward beating their shields to intimidate us in Toronto, I've felt helpless much of the time in the face of this absolute power by a minority leader. Just imagine what he'll destroy with a majority rule. We have been given a chance to take back our power, to demand information and hold him accountable to his actions, not just his rhetoric. If we vote this man back into power now, he will have the mandate to further increase his stranglehold on us.
I'm not talking here about the Conservative Party, who have managed to rule democratically in the past - this is Mr. Harper, and any others who may share his approach or try to continue in his footsteps once we finally boot him out. I'm also not talking about his policies, with which I have plenty of disagreement. I am talking about one power-hungry, arrogant, disrespectful dictator. The type that people in the Middle East have fought and died to remove. We have the chance to do it in 3 weeks with a simple vote.
But to do that, we need information. He shrugged off direct accusations in the debates, whitewashing and greenwashing it all with rhetoric, manipulation of data, and outright lies. There is a petition to get specific information released before we make our electoral decision, about a leaked report alleging that the Harper Government illegally handed 50 million taxpayer dollars to a single Conservative riding – and then covered it up as G8 summit spending. If it's true, voters need to know it. If it's been found to be false, then we should know that too. Please take 30 seconds to sign this petition - it's by Avaaz, a trustworthy and effective organization.
I don't know if Ignatief or Layton or May will be better leaders. I just know that we cannot continue to endorse this man who has systematically eroded the democracy and freedom that make Canada special. We need to use our vote to send a message to all politicians, and to ourselves, that we will not accept anything less than true democracy and freedom. Vote on May 2, and vote for the Canada we want our children to inherit.
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