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Stephen Harper will try to win the election, by any means necessary.
Policies aside, this is reason enough to vote against him.
There is a commonly debated idea within politics and history in general that "the ends justify the means." Machiavelli took this a step farther, reasoning that you cannot do good if you are not in power, therefore power, in and of itself, is good. He then reasoned that anything one does to keep power is morally justified. Most of today's political scientists would tell you that this is the very definition of evil. But it seems our prime minister has already followed this reasoning.
Conservatives have cheated in every federal election they have won. This is not rhetoric. It is fact, backed up by the courts, Elections Canada and a host of complainants. From the in-and-out scandal, to robocalls, to the laundering of illegal money which put Harper's Ethics Watchdog in jail: Conservatives cannot be trusted to follow the rules.
But who needs to follow the rules, when you can simply rewrite them? The Orwellian name of the Fair Elections Act should set off alarm bells for any thinking individual. This document, which is now the law of the land, is written in such a way that it tips the election-odds in favour of the Conservatives. It will stop people without "acceptable" forms of ID from voting -- disproportionately impacting social classes least likely to vote for the Conservatives. It adds provisions allowing dramatic increases to election spending limits, allowing Tories to out-spend the other parties which do not have as much money; the prime minister simply has to start the campaign early. It appears that they are about to do exactly that.
Less than 100 days before an election, Conservatives rolled out the largest cash giveaway of taxpayers' money in the history of the country.
Never mind that people will be forced to give a portion of this money back after the election when their income tax bill comes -- most won't realize that when they vote.
Never mind the fact that the NDP child-care plan would put more money in the pocket of parents who are struggling to pay for childcare -- most voters don't notice details.
The Tories are so happy to hand out these cheques, that Pierre Poilievre even broke the rules and wore a Conservative Party T-shirt while announcing it at the official government press conference. Why not? Most voters won't know the rules anyway.
It is like every other policy they have announced this election year; attempting to provoke knee-jerk reactions which will push voters in their direction -- facts be damned. They would have us believe that only Bill C-51 could keep us safe from the terrorists hiding under our beds, that environmental activists are really radicals that are being secretly funded by foreigners and that women that choose to wear religious headdress shouldn't be allowed to take the oath of citizenship -- but anyone can come into the country as long as they are willing to do cheap labour under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program and then leave when the work dries up.
Some will accuse me of being a cynic for writing this. I will simply ask them to point to the part that isn't true.
On October 19, (some of) the people of this country will have the opportunity to pass judgement on this government. The Tories have stacked the deck in their favour.
If the Conservatives manage to win another majority government, based on a low voter turnout and garnering a little over one third of the vote, it is no exaggeration to say that democracy itself will be at risk.
Harper famously said that we would not recognize Canada when he was finished with it; I fear that he was right.
Mike Palecek is the National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
Photo: flickr/ Stephen Harper
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