I have suggested on several occasions that the ghost which lurks in Stephen Harper's closet is Richard Nixon. But Marie Marguerite Sabongui, writing in The Guardian, suggests that the ghost which haunts Harperland is of more recent vintage -- George W. Bush. She makes a compelling case. The parallels between Harper and W. are striking:
Under Bush, the White House denied the existence of man-made climate change and gutted the ability of the US Environmental Protection Agency to go after polluters. Under Harper, the government took aim at Environment Canada, slashing its budget and restricted the ability of its own regulators to crack down on cancer-linked pollution. The Conservative Party silenced the government’s own scientists, who, for the first time ever, mounted a political campaign against Harper. Canada was also one of the first countries to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to address climate change and is the only country in the world to have withdrawn from a UN treaty to address desertification. And the list of environmental programs that Harper has slashed funding to is long and devastating.
And there is the spectre that haunts this election:
Under the guise of cracking down on voter fraud — which doesn’t exist — Republicans in state capitals passed voter-ID laws across the United States. In reality, this was a blatant attempt to restrict the ability of working families and minorities — the majority of whom are likely Democrats — to vote. Similarly, Harper’s Fair Elections Act, passed in June 2014, attempts to address the non-existent problem of voter fraud. The result is that thousands of seniors, students and First Nations will find it much harder to cast a ballot in this election.
And, like Bush, Harper claims that he is tough on crime, while paralyzing public institutions:
While the US is learning from its past and addressing the issue of mass incarceration, under Harper, Canada has recently undertaken the largest expansion of prisons since the 1930s, despite a record-low crime rate. Echoing the doctrine of Republicans in the States, he cut funding to the arts, cut funding to Canada’s public broadcaster and destroyed the national gun registry, which experts say had historically contributed to Canada’s low rates of gun violence.
It's no wonder people are asking, "What has happened to Canada?"