From Election Day to the present, the Harper Conservatives’ first year of majority rule has been nothing less than “fishy,” as it has pushed through its destructive agenda.
“The Harper Conservatives were given their ‘strong mandate’ with the actual votes of 24.3 percent of Canadians,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands. “Thanks to our first past the post voting system, 39 percent of those who voted elected a majority Conservative parliament. At the same time, there is doubt hanging over the results of some of the closer Conservative riding victories because of fraudulent voter suppression efforts and robocalls.”
Since the election, the Harper Conservatives have been found guilty in the In-and-Out campaign money-laundering scandal of 2006; they’ve admitted making fraudulent calls to undermine former Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler; they’ve tried to justify funnelling funds to Minister Tony Clement’s riding, claiming funds were to reduce congestion at the border, misleading parliament; Minister Christian Paradis has been found in conflict of interest; the disgraced Integrity Commissioner has been replaced by her compromised deputy, and many more “fishy” goings-on.
The Harper Conservatives have chosen to be tough on other people instead. They have reversed their policy on the use of evidence obtained through torture; they have passed an omnibus crime bill that will tie up our courts and crowd our prisons; they are supporting a citizens’ arrest bill that the Canadian Bar Association fears will risk a shift to private security firms making arrests, and vigilante justice; they are destroying the long-gun registry and won’t hand over the data to Quebec, and they want to hold political refugee claimants over the age of 16 for up to one year without review.
This year also saw one of the harshest reports from an Auditor General in living memory, finding that two departments, Public Works and National Defence, had failed in their duty of “due diligence” in the rush to purchase and oversell the benefits of the F-35 fighter jets.
“While the year has been scandal-plagued, the worst of Mr. Harper’s agenda has been the assault on the environment,” said May. “No one voted Conservative in order to destroy the environment. The Harper Conservatives did not warn Canadians a year ago that they planned to withdraw from Kyoto, which a majority support, and then kill the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act.”
Canadians didn’t vote to shut down our Arctic research station and climate adaptation research, cease funding the Canadian Foundation on Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, and endanger our ability to measure ozone.
The Conservatives’ attacks on the Fisheries Act – taking away protection of fish habitat without consultation with scientists or First Nations – are unprecedented. At the same time, the Conservative propaganda campaign for pipelines and tankers has lacked the requisite balance and impartiality of a government awaiting a decision from a National Energy Board review panel.
“In pursuit of their goal of putting risky oil supertankers on the BC coastline and building pipelines come hell or high water, the Harper Conservatives are destroying decades’ worth of environmental law in a distinctly fishy move,” said May. “Sweeping changes to dozens of laws are being smuggled through the legislative process in Bill C-38. Environmental Assessment law at the federal level is for all intents and purposes destroyed.
“Of all the offences during Mr. Harper’s first year of majority government, the cynically crafted omnibus Budget Implementation Bill C-38 is the worst,” said May. “It is an abuse of parliamentary process and an abuse of democracy. It is also an abuse of Canadians’ trust.”