An election is in the offing. And Stephen Harper has come to the plate swinging. But, Michael Harris writes, he already has three strikes against him.
Strike One is his record on the environment:
They have greedily championed oil and gas while doing nothing to protect air and water. Consider the piece of legislation with the Orwellian name — the Navigable Waters Protection Act. NDP house leader Nathan Cullen said it as well as anyone could:
“It means the removal of almost every lake and river we know from the Navigable Waters Protection Act. From one day to the next, we went from 2.5 million protected lakes and rivers in Canada to 159 lakes and rivers protected.”
Harper has done more than favour oil and gas companies. He's done nothing to reign in corporate corruption:
Canada now has more corrupt companies on the World Bank’s blacklist than any other country in the world. A stunning 115 of those companies are comprised of disgraced engineering giant SNC-Lavalin and its subsidiaries — the same company that the Harper government supported with an $800 million loan guarantee to build the dubious Muskrat Falls power development in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Strike Two is his failure to make government accountable to its citizens:
That is, after all, what got him elected in 2006 (that and a little cheating during the campaign). So it was beyond hypocritical this past week for the PM to portray himself as a champion of democracy and free speech after the dreadful killings in Paris. He even politicizes tragedy.
Here is the real man … the one who dedicated his entire communications effort to smothering free speech, who undermined access to information, the life-blood of any democracy, with endless delays in handing over government documents that belong to us. In some cases, his government has simply — and unconstitutionally — refused to fork them over. He has also mused about charging $200 per access request — which would certainly suppress the urge to ask.
Strike Three is that real man is not anything like the people he claims to represent:
Stephen Harper is not who we are.
Canadians don’t want to see medicare slowly reduced to a ghost of its former self by a prime minister who once headed an organization created to destroy it.
Despite the stunning selfishness of some of its stars, Canadians don’t want to see the CBC brought to its knees and “restructured” by a man who prefers public relations to journalism.
Finally, Canadians don’t want to save money on the backs of veterans who didn’t take to the closet in the face of clear and present danger — especially when Harper has so egregiously used the military for political gain. There has to be more for our soldiers than bullets and beans.
He claims that, this time out, he'll put one into the bleachers and cross home plate for the fourth time. If Canadians are wise, they'll send him to the showers.