Harper Government Attacking Canadian Values, Liberals Warn

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have been in power in Canada since 2006. In the spring of 2011, they won a majority government for the first time, which means they are able to push their agenda through without any checks and balances from opposition parties. Instead of passing budgets and legislation that is representative of the values and needs of all Canadians, they are now able to focus solely on the Conservative agenda.

Liberal party comes out swinging

This has opposition parties incredibly upset. The Conservatives have not only been pushing through their agenda, but also shutting down debate in Parliament and brushing aside concerns and suggestions from opposition parties. This week, the Liberal Party of Canada had finally had enough. Interim leader Bob Rae, house leader Marc Garneau and former Prime Minister Jean Chretien came out swinging.

At a press conference in Ottawa, Rae said (source: CBC):

This is a government that abuses power on a regular basis like everyone else eats breakfast; that’s what these guys do, and there’s something wrong with that and it’s something we need to talk about. This is a government that is marked by excessive partisanship, a narrow-minded ideology, an attempt to control the agenda of Parliament without consultation, without discussion

Garneau backed him up with some numbers. According to the CBC:

Liberal House leader Marc Garneau said the last time there was a majority in the House of Commons, Jean Chrétien’s government from 2000 to 2004, 153 bills were debated during 419 sitting days. Time allocation, a procedural tool used to cut debate short, was invoked 10 times during those four years.

Harper is on track to tie that number in only 66 days, and he’s using time allocation to avoid debate on controversial proposals, said Garneau.

Chretien warns that abortion, gay marriage, capital punishment could soon be on the table again

They were backed up by Prime Minister, Jean Chretien who sent an e-mail to Liberal supporters expressing his concern. His message, also posted on the Liberal Party of Canada’s website, read:

When I was first elected in 1963, there was no Medicare.

There was no Canada Pension Plan. No Flag. No Charter of Rights. The Constitution was British law and there was no Clarity Act.

Liberals built these things — and more. We eliminated the deficit. We paid off debt and lowered taxes. Liberals kept Canada out of Iraq, while the Conservatives would have taken us to war.

Somewhat self-congratulatory to be sure, but his warning to Canadians that came later in the message is right on the mark:

Unless we are bold. Unless we seize the moment. Everything we built will start being chipped away.

The Conservatives already ended gun control and Kyoto. Next may be a woman’s right to choose, or gay marriage. Then might come capital punishment. And one by one, the values we cherish as Canadians will be gone.

Some may say that is an exaggeration, but the Big Blue Book of Harper Quotes shows his true colors. What he says during an election campaign and what he is capable of doing may be two completely different beasts.

Can anything be done about it?

But, as irate as the Liberals are, there likely isn’t very much that they can do about it. Only 61.1% of eligible voters voted in the last election and, of those, only 39.6% voted for the Conservatives (source: Simon Fraser University). Because of Canada’s unfortunate British parliamentary system, having the support of 24% of eligible voters (the percentage of eligible voters who voted Conservative in May 2011) is enough to allow the Conservatives to do whatever they want for the next four years.

This truly could mean the unraveling of Canadian values.

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Photo Credit: Michael Ignatieff on flickr


Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago


More server issues....................

If AMAZON.com had the same server issues as CARE2.com, they would be out of business in less than a month

Julie Cook
Past Member 5 years ago

Steve R. For once you're absolutely right! (Except you were being sarcastic) Canadians DO cherish gun control, gay marriage and abortion rights. What we bemoan is the slide into rigid, backward, conservative ideology such as espoused by our current "leader" who treats Parliament and any opposition with contempt. Very much like the Republicans in your country.

Michael O. Thanks for your great comment. I agree completely.

Shan D.
Shan D5 years ago

Jean Charest was never a Liberal. Don't you remember how, in 1993 when the Conservatives were brought down to TWO seats, one of those was Jean Charest (the other was Elsie Wayne)?

Kasia Y.
Kasia Y.5 years ago

Jean has nothing to lose. Why doesn't he order some hit men to take out the PM and the Conservative Cabinet? Never before has Canada needed such violence to keep Canadians from starving to death.

Silja M.
Silja M5 years ago

Yeah we gotta get rid of this Harper guy, he's so ultra conservative, anti-environment, anti-rights, anti-anything that makes sense a-hole that I'm soon going to turn a Quebec separatist - but hold on! - we have Jean Charest now... who, albeit a 'liberal' ain't any better. Damnation! NDP got my vote last time, and I don't see that changing, ever since we had this Paul Watchamacallit who just about ruined the federal liberals. Quebec Solidaire and then separation? Hmmmm.... That would leave the rest of Canada as conservative as the Prairies. When will BC consider separation????

Maureen Hawkins
Maureen Hawkins5 years ago

Dear Jean M. Then vote NDP or vote Green. The Liberals aren't the only alternative to the corrupt, totalitarian Tories. (PS. Did you know that the term "Tory" was an Irish term for a highway robber?)

Jean M.
Jean Muise5 years ago

Liberals have nothing to offer. but stirring up trouble. Over the years they have been the most corrupt party in CANADA unless they change I will never vote LIBERAL

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

It seems that almost every country has people wanting to take over others rights to live as they will.
I for one say no to this rude way of conducting government for the people, by the people,

Shanie Mangulins
Shanie Mangulin6 years ago

Let's hear it for Chad - he has summed it up beautifully. And, of course, Harper can still wait until Feb. 22/2012 to call a byelection in the Broadview/Danforth riding - thereby depriving all of us who live there of our right to representation!

Chad A.
Chad Anderson6 years ago

The supreme irony is that these slash-and-burn conservatives do not have a mandate. More people voted for the opposition than the Conservatives, although the multi-party system allowed the right to grab more seats. In the absence of proportional representation, governments elected by a minority should have some humility. Clinton abandoned his infrastructure investment in favor of deficit reduction to appeal to the Perot voters, after all.