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Harper's conservatives: Losing accountability since 2003

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Photo: flickr/Michelle Tribe

Last weekend was the tenth Anniversary of Stephen Harper's takeover of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (PCPC).
 
On December 7, 2003, he illegally contrived to merge his Alliance Party with the PCPC under the name Conservative Party of Canada.
 
Canada, he hoped, would never be the same. Many Canadians whose opinions and beliefs are rooted in the former Tory party do not share his view.
 
Many in the corporate world are delighted. They have had a wind fall. In particular the banks have never had it so good. Under Harper, corporate taxes have been reduced from a tax rate on general income of  21 per cent to 15 per cent. That is in dollar terms a reduction in taxes of over $12 billion a year for a total gain of over $50 billion for businesses to date.
 
As a result the marginal effective tax rate on business investment in Canada is the lowest of any country in the group of seven nations.
 
The U.S. rate is twice as high at 30 per cent.
 
Partly as a result of the Harper government's be kind to business approach, our banking community has just reported all time high profits totaling over $30 billion. Meanwhile the Harper government is projecting a $17 billion deficit this fiscal year while cutting back on social programs.
 
Lost is the balance of progressive social policy and of fiscal accountability expected of genuine conservatives.  

The Neoconservatives who brought Mr. Bush to power in defiance of the American conservative traditions of the U.S. Republican Party, boasted they would remain in power for decades to come.
 
Instead Bush's wins woke up the progressive movement in the country in the view of Jeremy Bird, a U.S. political organizer, voter data analyst and the 2012 field director of U.S. President Barack Obama's successful re-election campaign who spoke in Toronto last month.
 
He was speaking at an inaugural Broadbent progressive Gala. Former Prime Ministers Kim Campbell,  Jean Chretien and Brian Mulroney also spoke by video to those attending the affair.
 
The organizers of the affair did not mention that after the Progressive Conservative Party was wrongfully taken over by Harper on December 7, 2003, many of their followers formed and registered the Progressive Canadian Party, but it would have been timely.

The Progressive Conservatives who formed and registered the Progressive Canadian (PC) Party remind us of the importance of a continuing progressive-conservative party in Canada. A Tory party both fiscally responsible and socially progressive. A party furthering the interests of all Canadians, not those of one regional, cultural nor economic group.

The PC Party has been represented in every federal election since 2003 as a voice for the Canadian progressive-conservative tradition. It will continue to be represented, offering Canadians, as its predecessors have done since before Confederation, a moderate direction, one believing in progress, but progress with care.

While Harper eliminated the term Progressive, it is interesting to note none of the provincial Progressive Conservative Parties have done so.

 

Sinclair Stevens is the Leader of the Progressive Canadian Party.

Photo: flickr/Michelle Tribe

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