There are plenty of reasons for Stephen Harper’s base to be annoyed with Harper.
Harper’s party is a very untrustworthy ally to have. Recently he bribed the National Firearm Association to keep quiet about their dissent to C-51 by offering to let them present their amendments to bill C-42. I’m annoyed to hear that he would try to silence dissent that way, but I guess that’s politics for you. What could cause Harper problems this election is that after C-51 passed they didn’t even let the gun group have their say on the other bill! They hadn’t promised to make the changes the gun group wanted, just to let them present their amendments and they couldn’t even do that. They couldn’t keep their promises to allies, even when keeping those promises would have cost almost nothing!
Then of course there are the veterans. Harper has closed many veteran’s affairs offices, overloading the workers at the remaining ones and decreasing the veteran’s access to assistance. He’s cut back on their benefits offering lump sums – that are easily blown through quickly – instead of long term assistance to injured veterans. He’s slighted veterans at campaign rallies and generally ticked off enough veteran’s that there is a veteran run campaign against him calling on people to vote Anyone But Conservative (ABC).
The Conservatives used to talk about integrity and accountability. They created a new position called the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Then when the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, attempted to do his job he found the Conservatives so unwilling to give him the information about the budget that he had to take them to court over it!
The Conservative Party, and particularly the Reform Party that eventually became a part of it, used to talk about Senate Reform. The Reform party called for a “triple E Senate” that would be equal, elected, and efficient. Yes, senate reform is difficult, but that’s one of the good things the Reform party used to stand for, and he hasn’t done anything on it. One of the frustrating things about the Mike Duffy affair is that Harper has shown a willingness to try to cover up the corruption and wrong doing within the Senate, rather than allow senators to be held accountable for their misspending.
Conservatives want to talk about freedom and personal liberty, but former Conservative MP Brent Rathgerber says Conservative MPs are expected to act like trained seals, speaking the party line only. National Parks employees have been told not to criticize the government even just in casual conversation with friends. Stephen Harper is talking about trying to limit where Canadians are allowed to travel to and he wants to control what women can wear at citizenship ceremonies. This isn’t freedom!
Stephen Harper wants you to think he’s the only candidate who can be responsible with money. So, let’s look at some of Harper’s questionable spending decisions:
- 100 million dollars between 2009 – 2011 ads for economic action plan, which included 11 million for advertising a jobs programs that did not exist. These were basically ads for the Conservative party, paid for by the taxpayers’ dime.
- 1.2 million to fly Harper’s Cadillac and SUV to India for his trip there. That is 1.2 million he could have saved if he had taken up the Indian government’s offer to provide vehicles for his visit.
- Reckless spending on the G8/G20 summits, including the building of a fake lake and the syphoning off of money from that to build a gazebo in a Conservative riding. The Federal Auditor General report was that rules had been broken in the spending procedures.
- There are questions around the procurement procedures for the F 35 fighter jets. The price went from $14.7 billion to 29 billion in 2012 and an audit later put it at more than $40 billion. I get that people want our military boys to have the best tools available, but there are lots of questions about whether this is actually the best options or simply the options Harper’s industry friends wanted to sell us. The US Government Accountability Office reported that the F 35 have very unreliable engines, and other sources suggest that they are particularly unsuitable for northern climates.
You can read more about how the Conservatives have been spending money on expensive plane trips and other luxuries on taxpayer dimes by going over to this site.
There is a Conservative paid for advertisement admitting that Stephen Harper isn’t perfect, but trying to convince you that he’s the only option as far as the economy goes. So look at what his economic situation. Admittedly the Harper Government had to deal with the economic crisis of 2008/09, but the portion of Canadians who are employed is today what it was during the crisis. The unemployment rate is down because our statistics for employment rate do not count those who give up looking. Household debt is on the rise. How many people do you know who are better off now than they were before Harper took office?
Stephen Harper lowered corporate tax rates on profitable companies. Corporate taxes are down from 28% in 2000 to 15% today. This isn’t going to help companies that are struggling, because they aren’t the ones paying the taxes. This is only a benefit for the companies that are already doing well, and it is reducing their incentive to reinvest and allowing the corporations to stockpile the money. The money they stockpile is dead money, put aside and out of public circulation. It contributes nothing to our economy. It doesn’t provide jobs. Taxing would help encourage spending, because the spending is a tax deduction. Taxing them higher would encourage the corporations to put the money back into our economy, providing jobs. There is more information about the problem with the corporate tax cuts over at behindthenumbers.ca.
My point is this: Conservatives have lots of reasons to be angry with Harper and where their party is going.
For further reading on this check out this article over at ipolitics.com: Even by his own standards, Stephen Harper is a colossal failure.