What I Think

“In a time of universal deceit−telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Whether it’s expanded powers for the police to ostensibly combat the looming terrorist threat in this country or another new bill to deny parole to some offenders, our prime minister liberally throws in bullish statements such as, “I know Canadians think blah, blah, blah” or “Canadians want blah, blah, blah”?

He’s selling.

And we’d better be vigilant.

He wants us to get onboard with his program, his vision of this country. The implication of these statements being: if it’s good enough for other Canadians, it should be good enough for you. Just because thousands of others like to swim, does that mean I should throw myself in a lake and do something I don’t know how to do?

Besides, who are these other Canadians? How does he know what they think?

I don’t buy it. When have you seen Mr. Harper listen to his advisors (close or otherwise) or engage in meaningful debate that wasn’t laced with mud slinging? When has he sought expert advice on policy? No, he’d rather jam legislation through and let the Supreme Court knock it down. Someone who doesn’t listen, couldn’t possibly claim to know what Canadians think or want.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say Mr. Harper was prepared to listen. Okay, stop laughing. I’m trying to be serious here.

Here’s what this Canadian would tell him.

On the national front, I want Canada to be the accepting country we’ve always been. I’m sick to death of fear mongering especially the kind you promote, Mr. Harper. I want good debate on issues that will have far reaching consequences on the fabric of this country. Good debate means engaging in discussion, listening to expert submissions, weighing pros and cons and not simply going with populist opinions you think will get you re-elected.

I know that’s your end game, but that’s not what’s important to me.

I want scientists to receive funding and not be muzzled because your government doesn’t agree with their assertions.

For my aging father, I want a system that doesn’t leave him stranded for two days in an emergency room after experiencing a heart attack. And how about programs for addicts that ensures harm reduction, for young families with children in need of special attention, for prisoners that’s focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment, and for terminal patients who want to end their lives humanly. And while I’m at it, yes, we do need an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

And that’s just a start. I do not want you, the government, listening in on my telephone conversations or reading my emails or placing me on a watch list because I happen to disagree with you. Yes, there are likely criminals and others who seek to harm. I think they are the minority, but even if there were rampant lawlessness in this country, as you, Mr. Prime Minister like to make us believe, we have to protect the rights of everyone (criminal or otherwise) if we are to protect ourselves.

On the international front, I want Canada to be who we used to be in the Middle East, namely honest brokers who don’t pick sides. I want you to pick up the phone and talk to your Egyptian counterpart to ensure Mohamed Fahmy is freed. And since I’m on a soap box (again) let’s stop meddling in countries and issues we don’t understand, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia, and the Ukraine to name a few.   

At the core of all these desires is what I believe. I’ll try to be as clear as I possibly can with you, Mr. Harper, since you’re listening and all. And just in case you quote me in one of your infomercials: I think leaders should unite rather than incite. And I think our leaders should tell us the truth, not what they think we’d like to hear. 

But it’s an election year and it appears to be your job, Mr. Harper to do whatever it takes to stay in power. So I doubt you’ll listen to me. I’m being truthful with you though. I know it’s revolutionary. But, I suspect you like to quell that sort of thing.

© All Rights Reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Stella L Harvey