As the longest federal election in Canadian history kicks off and the mud starts flying, I want to take a look at the overwhelming need for a new government in our country. Over the course of Harper's reign of terror we have faced attacks on Canadian values, freedoms and rights and we have endured a constant stream of lies and deceit. To keep this list to 10 will be a challenge but here we go:
1. Bill C51. In my mind this is the biggest reason to not vote for Harper, or anyone who supports this bill. Experts representing indigenous people, human rights and civil liberties groups, Muslim Canadians, environmental organizations, the legal community, the country's privacy watchdog, immigrants and refugees, the labour movement, former judges and politicians and others have spoken out against C51. There have been country-wide protests, petitions and pending lawsuits. This bill stands to strip our rights and freedoms away while blindly handing control over to our government and other sectors who are not required to report to ANYONE! In fact under certain parts of this bill I could be legally detained just for writing this article.
2. The economy and job growth. If you watched the Maclean's debate you would have heard Harper say he has the best economic and job growth record of any other country, ignoring the fact we are the only G7 country in a recession and that he actually has the worst economic record of any prime minister since the Second World War and has the worst job creation record of any prime minister since then.
3. Veteran affairs. Harper claims that his government is spending an additional $5 billion on veteran's since taking office. When the fact is he has closed numerous Veteran Affairs' offices, cut staff positions for veteran affairs and spent $700,000 fighting AGAINST veterans in court.
4. Income splitting and Universal Child Care Benefit. Now this has been used quite regularly by Harper when he wants to use an example of good things he has done for Canadian families. The truth is income splitting only benefits 15 per cent of already well off Canadians and does nothing for average and low income families who really need to help. Also cutting the child tax CREDIT and replacing it with a lower TAXABLE Child care benefit will cost families more money in the long run. Most people feel the lump sum cheque was nothing more then an attempt to buy votes and I tend to agree.
5. Seven consecutive deficits. Before Harper took leadership there were nine consecutive years of budgetary surpluses. During that time Ottawa was able to accumulate a surplus of over $79 billion. In contrast Harper's first eight years as prime minister produced seven consecutive deficits that have added up to $127 billion.
6. Muzzling of government scientists. Harper's control issues rear their ugly head when it comes to our scientists. Even after making important discoveries they must endure a painfully long process to just be able to talk about their discoveries and more often than not they are held up by red tape. Meanwhile some of them choose to travel to other countries to share findings and are met with applause and media attention. This is both a dangerous and completely unnecessary game that Harper continues to play.
7. Charity attacks. Harper's government spent a whopping $13.4 million fighting charities through the CRA. Just a few weeks ago Canadian charities received support from the U.N.. "These audits have resulted in mounting fear of losing charitable status, and therefore necessary funding sources, across the entire charitable sector. Human rights in Canada are under assault, and the U.N. Human Rights Committee noted that today," said Canada Without Poverty president Harriett MacLachlan.
8. First Nations. Harper shows little regard for issues facing our First Nations. "It isn't really high on our radar, to be honest," is what he said when asked about the possibility of a public inquiry into missing aboriginal women. Harper and his aboriginal affairs minister both declined the invitation to speak at the summer gathering of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) last month. Not surprising considering his track record of overall avoiding any kind of conversation surrounding first nation concerns.
9. Stripping of federal protection of our lakes and rivers. Thanks to Harper's new Navigation Protection Act, 99 per cent of our lakes and rivers now have no federal protection according to Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow. Documents reveal that the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association were the ones who initially pushed for these changes and Harper, of course, obliged.
10. Above the law. Harper saw no problem destroying long gun registry records -- in the middle of an active access request -- then amended the law that would have made those actions illegal. His attack ads against the Liberals featuring ISIS appear to break the laws he set with Bill C51. He has so far ignored laws that require his government to come up with a plan for threatened or endangered species. He breaks protocol by showing soldiers faces in promotional videos for himself. And I have personally lost count of how many of Harper's allies and officials have landed themselves in court (Mike Duffy for example).
This is a rather short list of the shortfalls of Harper and the disgrace he brings to our country and I urge everyone to fully research candidates and get out and VOTE. I think the newest campaign launched by our veterans says it best when they say ABC: Anyone but Conservative .
MORE ON HUFFPOST: