False Words

“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.” Socrates

I don’t watch a lot of television. Basically I watch the National and the Rick Mercer Report on CBC. You probably guessed, I’m not a Conservative and have no leanings in that direction.

I had read about the Conservative Party’s advertising campaign against Justin Trudeau, but thankfully hadn’t seen any of the commercials until this past week.

In these horribly condescending ads, the Conservatives have the audacity to discuss the Greek government’s economic woes, claiming that if Canada elected Justin Trudeau we would fall into the same financial troubles as Greece. Never mind that we’re in our own economic mess courtesy of the Conservatives, but Stephen Harper’s party also blames the current left-wing Greek government for that country’s financial crisis. They want us to infer that anything, but the chokehold of the right wing (and in my opinion far right when I’m talking about Harper) equates to disaster.

Except any intelligent, well-read person knows the facts: the left wing Syriza government in Greece has only been in power for seven months. They can hardly be blamed for the economic crisis in that country.

But that’s the point isn’t it? What does our Conservative government know about Greece? Do they understand what has taken place over the past several years in that nation? Have they looked at what austerity programs do to a country? Do they even understand what austerity means? Or have they just read the headlines and made some asinine conclusion that bears no resemblance to reality simply to shore up their base?  

In 2008 after the global financial crash, Harper, Obama and Cameron spent their way out of the recession, keeping their countries and private businesses such as GM and others afloat. The Europeans, led by Germany took a different approach. They knuckled down to austerity. Any economist will tell you that austerity alone without a growth strategy will lead to disaster. And Greece is a good example of that. Even the German government sees this now and has loosened the purse strings, slightly.

It’s a very small man who has to use another’s misfortunes to boost his own. And it’s a bigot who makes statements such as those made in the Conservative party ads against another nation. This behaviour perpetuates misunderstanding, fear and unfair stereotypes. But what else can you expect from Stephen (fear mongering, let’s take away all civil rights because the jihadists are coming) Harper. He’s been giving us the same old, same old hateful tactics for ten years. I expect more from my leaders in the same way I expect more from myself.

It’s interesting that Harper, purportedly an economist, mentions Greece’s record in his ads when his own government’s economic performance has been abysmal. He took a surplus handed to him by the previous Liberal government and quickly turned that into a deficit. He cut the GST, against all advice to the contrary, and has seen us through five quarters of an economic slump he refuses to label what it is: a recession. And in ten years he has done nothing to diversify the economy so when the Saudis turned on the taps as they are wont to do to protect their own interests, oil prices tanked. Harper’s response: it’s only Alberta that is suffering. Really? Tell that to those in the manufacturing industry who have lost their jobs.

I could go on and on about his record of patronage appointments, nepotism, and vote tampering, but both the New York Times and The Tyee have summarized the antics of Stephen Harper and his Conservative government better than I can. These articles and many others along with his own ads point to Stephen Harper’s need to get his own house in order before attempting to mock others. Or in other words, those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

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