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Stephen Harper

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I think we have a government that considers science an inconvenience.
—David Schindler, University of Alberta[1]
Sorry, world. We fucked up.
—The 40% of Canadians who didn't vote in 2011[2]
Damn Harper, you sleepy!

Stephen "Our Glorious Dear Leader" Harper is a fan of Nickelback,[3] the head of the Conservative Party of Canada and the nation's Prime Minister since 2006. He has become a pariah of many Canucks for his increasingly robotic autocratic style of governance,[4] enough to have his support base dwarfed by an alliance of onion ring lovers.[5] Emerging studies suggest that he was grown in the same right-wing bioreactor tank as former US President George W. Bush.

In May 2011, he won his third straight federal election, this time with a majority; this resulted in reactionaries mocking critics of Harper's regime[6] as "libreal [sic] fucktards"[7] and the rest of the civilized world scratching their heads on the sudden failure of the Great White North's education system. Since then, Harper has tried to act as a "Red Tory," most likely to appeal to centre-right voters that usually voted Liberal but scoffed at the rise of (now-deceased) Jack Layton and the NDP. However, his admiration by the GOP[8] and track record is enough to raise serious alarm for the state of the country.[9]

Contents

[edit] Origins

Stephen Harper was born in Toronto, but left to Alberta after high school and has since ignored the city (well, all the libruls and gays live there!). He worked as a mail clerk at Imperial Oil with his father in Edmonton, that being his only job experience before entering politics. He is also a member of the evangelical Christian and Missionary Alliance.

After the disastrous ending of the Progressive Conservative majority in 1993 under Brian Mulroney (losing all but two seats in Parliament), he became a prominent member of the Refooooooorm! Party[10] as "Steve Harper." The Reform Party later became the Canadian Alliance (first aptly known as the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party[11]), then merged with the PCs (creating the current Conservatives) for a chance to challenge the Liberals in the mid-2000s.

[edit] Reasons to like him

  • Apologizing for cultural assimilation of Aborigines - In a move that surprised many, Harper (in fact, all Canadian party leaders) apologized, in front of an audience of Aboriginal delegates, and in an address that was broadcast nationally on the CBC, for the past governments' policies of assimilation. He apologized not only for the known excesses of the residential school system, but for the creation of the system itself and undertook efforts to uncover the full truth of the episode.
  • Pro-life change of heart - Not shockingly, Harper's staunchest support is with fundies that to this day continue to influence the party on abortion laws. However, he doesn't want to re-open debate about it,[12] perhaps to prevent pissing off the general electorate. In a hilarious case of blowback, Tory backbenchers who really want to re-open the abortion debate are currently rebelling because the de-facto censorship he's placed on their right to speak in Parliament.[13]
  • Same goes for them queers - When same-sex marriage was being debated in Canada prior to the passing of the law in 2005, Harper promised to hold a free vote on reopening the issue if the Conservatives won. He also said he wouldn't use the risky Notwithstanding clause[14] even though it would be necessary to successfully overturn gay marriage as equality is guaranteed under the Charter. After a minority Conservative win, a 2006 vote to return to the debate failed and Harper has had the good sense ever since to ignore the fundie backbenchers' braying and conclude that Canadians don't want to reopen the discussion.
  • Discontinued the minting of pennies - The sanest thing he's ever done, and did so without any major opposition.[15]
  • Made scholarship and fellowship grants to students non-taxable - That was nice of him.

[edit] Reasons to "meh" him

  • Put the "Royal" back in the Canadian military - Wouldn't have mattered either way, but preferred by a majority of Canadians.
  • Negotiated the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) - For Ontario, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia, which combines the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Provincial Sales Tax (PST) to "improve the competitiveness of Canadian businesses." BC later held a referendum[16] rejecting the HST in favour of separate GST and PST.[17]
  • Free trade - Is establishing links from the EU to China.

[edit] Reasons to dislike him

  • Tarnishing the recovery - Tackling the Great Recession was going to be a pain in the ass whoever was in charge, but Harper has taken credit for things that he was never responsible for.[18] Sent Action Plan checks disproportionately to important party ridings,[19] and started creating deficits before 2008[20] (the latter due to being an apparent tax cut addict, intentions now questioned by economists[21]).
  • Stripping Statistics Canada's power - Considered one of the best of its kind, Harper eliminated the long form census simply for ideological reasons.[22]
  • Love for logical fallacies - False dilemma and Godwin's Law, anyone?[23][24]

[edit] Reasons to hate him

This has been every Tory supporter since 2003.

WARNING: This list is not for the faint of heart. RationalWiki will rebate any breakfasts/lunches/dinners etc. that are lost while reading this section.

  • NAFTA wannabe - He pushed for the pending passage of CETA, a NAFTA-esque trade deal that prioritizes investor and intellectual property rights above environmental and consumer regulations.
  • Chickenhawk envy - Despite having no military experience, he blindly supported the 2003 Invasion of Iraq,[25] regardless of the consequences, illegality or the unpopularity. Harper pushed Parliament in 2006 to extend Canada’s mission in Afghanistan for an additional two years, successfully, at that. In 2007, a Liberal motion to end Canada’s Afghanistan role in 2009 was defeated by a voting coalition led by Harper’s Conservatives. He did the same in 2011.
  • Americanization of Canadian government - His policies emulate much of those perpetrated by the GOP, like having his soldiers trained by Blackwater,[26] torturing prisoners for information,[27] and supporting Israel "whatever the cost." This includes pushing Canada to become the first country to cut off financial aid and diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority after Hamas took power following Palestinian elections. In the summer of 2006, as Israel warred with Hezbollah, Lebanese civilian deaths led to calls for a cease-fire from other Western countries, except Canada, as Harper supported the vicious response from Israel. He even directed Canada to abstain from UN resolutions singling out Israel for its violations and abuses. [28]
  • Socially-regressive behaviour - Attempted to reinstate a gay marriage ban[wp] immediately after taking office,[29] shut down 12 out of 16 federal Status of Women offices,[30] fired most non-Christian chaplains from Canadian prisons,[31] and has funneled money into a headscratcher of an initiative called the "Office of Religious Freedom," seemingly created to pander to Catholics.[32]
  • Witch hunts on opponents - McCarthy-esque crackdowns on government dissenters[33][34] and liberal university professors[35]
  • A dismal record on global warming,[36][37][38][39] "muzzling" climate scientists[40][41] and calling Kyoto "a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations."[42] He then formally withdrew Canada from its commitment to the Protocol, making it the first country of the 191 ratifying signatories to do so.[43]
  • Restricting the press - He regulated the Ottawa press gallery in a really bad way, by limiting the amount of questions they can give him and only approving softball queries by pro-Harper reporters [44][45] thus effectively limiting (or even silencing) journalists from asking questions
  • Prorogued Parliament to cover his ass - He dismissed Parliament twice in two years, the latter in fear of facing oppositional criticism over the Afghan detainee scandal.
  • Hates being questioned - He wanted to prevent a CTV camera from boarding Harper's plane to Malaysia because he wanted to ask him a question. [46]
  • Careless spending - Wasted almost $1 billion in three days for security and other costs during the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto.[47] The resulting protests became the largest mass arrests in Canadian history, making the the 1970 FLQ crisis under Pierre Trudeau look like Quebec never wanted to separate from Canada (just watch this). If you're not raising pitchforks yet, G20 military records were found to equate "embarrassment to the Canadian government" to terrorism.[48]
  • Tried to steal ballot boxes and make stimulus plan signs permanent. [49]
  • Massive ego - Filled the government lobby with photos of just himself,[50] continues to have the Government of Canada listed as the "Harper Government" in official communications,[51] and used Fox News lookalike Sun News to concoct an act of propaganda worthy of Failblog mention.[52] In Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill, he insisted on accepting the Royal Salute ahead of the former Governor General. Illegally, even, because heads of state should be greeted at Rideau Hall, not Centre Block. Hell, the red carpets and flags in the main hall of Parliament are completely contrary to Canadian tradition, and using Centre Block as a stage for pomp and ceremony for visiting presidents is contrary to their Constitution.
  • Was influential in halting a UN resolution to declare water as a basic human right,[53] has pressed to maintain the freaking asbestos industry[54] reluctantly ended funding for the Chrysotile Institute in May 2012 after international condemnation[55] (plus a good mocking by Jon Stewart), drastically cut foreign aid to Africa,[56] and literally wants the poor to starve[57]
  • Negligence over the $7 million Bev Oda scandal[58] and the "In and Out" scandal
  • Let the Treasury Board President take $50 million from the G8 fund to spend on gazebos in his own constituency[59] and allowed the Defence Minister to use a search-and-rescue helicopter as a personal limo[60]
  • In a terrifying hilarious move, fully copied one of Tim Pawlenty's 2012 presidential ads[61]
  • Allowing the military junta in Egypt to indefinitely detain Canadian journalists who filmed military brutality, with no signs that he'll even attempt to pursue their release.
  • Blatantly lied about the cost of 65 F-35 fighter jets (you know, the ones loved by John McCain[62]), expected to be tens of billions of dollars more than official projections[63] Oh, and they also have a nasty habit of losing communication in the High Arctic. Good thing Canada isn't trying to enforce its ownership of the North!
  • Is in the process of imposing American "tough on crime" laws, while all evidence points to the current system working since the 70s.[64] And fibbing about the cost.[65] Shocker!
  • Apparently stuffed the ballot box, using robocalls to send Liberal voters to the wrong voting locations, in the very election where Stevie won his majority government.[66][67] And then had the audacity to use robocalls to manipulate public opinion against changing Saskatchewan's rigged electoral boundaries.[68]
  • Brutalizing the environment unconstitutionally - Used his majority to ram a 400-page "budget bill" through Parliament, damaging everything from the environment to social protections and opposed by almost every scientist and constitutional expert in the nation.[69][70] Once the Harper-instituted budget office realized it was probably illegal, they were told to fuck off.[71]
  • Presidential Prime Minister - He rules the Conservatives, and by extension, the government with an iron fist. Nothing happens in his party without his approval and every policy imposed by the government has Harper's influence, regardless of what Parliament has to say. Now, in this case, it's technically legal, because Canadian Prime Ministers are allowed to coerce legislators into supporting his proposals, granting him the authority to ratify his chosen policies. As a result, the PM’s words carry especially great weight—they signify the legislative direction the country is likely to take. On the other hand, he goes about it wrong, like when he offered to bribe the family of a cancer-stricken MP if said MP would vote with a bill Harper supported.
  • Disdain for Opposition - He insists that the Opposition is not truly part of the government, excludes local Opposition MPs from announcements in their ridings, barred local groups from holding events at which federal dollars are involved with their own MP (unless that MP is Conservative) and refusing to grant information to Opposition MPs in case they wanted to change or implement a fiscal policy out of line with Harper's vision.
  • Emboldening Crooked Government elsewhere - It's one thing if Harper, for example, tries to prorogue Parliament before they could sniff him out. It's another when the Premiers of provincial governments act the same way in Ontario, British Columbia (both Liberals) as we as that of Quebec. This includes blocking evidence-based arguments, the use public data and government funds for partisan purposes, and claiming that their critics are out of touch with the "silent majority" [72]. Lord knows how successive governments will act after Harper inevitably leaves.
  • Made John Lennon cry out in terror from beyond the grave

...and finally, after all of that:

  • Being the first ever PM to be held in contempt of Parliament, something never before seen in the British Commonwealth.[73] Enjoy, eh.

[edit] The beginning of the end?

In 2013, the Tories' continued insistence of relegating all of the above out of the spotlight (in favour of a mantra to balance the federal budget by 2015) was shattered by the Senate expenses scandal.[74] Similar in nature to the UK expenses clusterfuck that bit Gordon Brown in the ass, Harper (despite being integral to the Alberta Reformers that were hell-bent on abolishing the upper chamber) appointed all but one of the senators who were caught stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from public coffers.

The Auditor General is now investigating not just the four main crooks, but all 105 senators.[75] Word is still out about the Wright/Duffy affair,[wp] which could start resembling Watergate very fast. (And the Liberals are back in the polls.)

[edit] Inspiring quotes

"Canada is a vast and empty country."[76]

"God bless Canada."[77]

"It's legendary that if you're like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country than most Canadians."[78]

"The Canada Health Act must be opened up. The federal government is playing an entirely negative role in health care."[79]

"Same-sex marriage is not a human right...undermining the traditional definition of marriage is an assault on multiculturalism and the practices in those communities."[80]

"In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, I don't feel particularly bad for many of these people.[78]

"I don't believe that any taxes are good taxes."[81]

"The NDP is kind of proof that the Devil lives and interferes in the affairs of men."[78]

“I'm not ashamed to say that, in caucus, I have more pro-life MPs supporting me than supporting Stockwell Day.”[82]

"You've got to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from Eastern Canada: people who live in ghettoes and who are not integrated into Western Canadian society."[79]

"It's a little harder to read, you know, we have kind of all liberal media-sponsored polls here." - to Faux News about Canadian opposition to the Iraq War[79]

"Conrad Black has recently assumed control of the Southam chain of newspapers, including most of Canada's large metropolitan dailies. Those papers, monolithically liberal and feminist under previous management, are quickly becoming more pluralistic, with a strong representation of conservative voices." - as part of the National Citizens Coalition in 1997 with Tom Flanagan (yes, that Tom Flanagan)[83]

"For taxpayers, however, it’s a rip-off. And it has nothing to do with gender. Both men and women taxpayers will pay additional money to both men and women in the civil service. That’s why the federal government should scrap its ridiculous pay equity law." - on women's economic rights[84]

"I think people should elect a cat person. If you elect a dog person, you elect someone who wants to be loved. If you elect a cat person, you elect someone who wants to serve."[85]

"We don’t govern on the basis of statistics." - Rob Nicholson, Harper's former Minister of Justice[86]

"[The USA], and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world."[78]

  • One brave soul has even managed to create a piano arrangement of these comments.[87] It is stressed that it be played "with a blue sweater, if possible."

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Tories shut down ‘groundbreaking’ freshwater research station, The Globe and Mail
  2. Courtesy of evil atheist Jamie Calder
  3. Cringe.
  4. Build more prisons!
  5. Can this Onion Ring get more fans that Stephen Harper?
  6. ie. ShitHarperDid
  7. Will always have this to remember, eh?
  8. Newt Gingrich: Stephen Harper gets shout-out from Republican hopeful, The Huffington Post
  9. Well...not really, as everyone outside of Western Canada now hates his guts.
  10. Not the American one, rather this
  11. No, seriously. (But you can't trust those commies at the CBC!)
  12. Stephen Harper Says He'll Vote Against Private Member's Bill On Human Definition, The Huffington Post
  13. Tory MPs rebel against Prime Minister's Office control
  14. Simply put, if a bill would constitute a violation of certain specific clauses of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Notwithstanding clause can override that violation for up to five years by a majority vote, renewable indefinitely so long as it keeps passing votes. Its use tends to be politically costly because it legitimizes some forms of unconstitutional laws, such as Quebec's French-only language laws. After Harper won a majority government in 2008, he could have forced a Notwithstanding vote through anytime he wanted.
  15. CGPGrey
  16. B.C. votes 55% to scrap HST (CBC News)
  17. The referendum was held in August 2011 and legislation took effect on April 1, 2013, to eliminate BC's HST and reinstate the split sales taxes.
  18. Whether you liked the Chretien/Martin years or not (and there was a lot not to like), it must be stressed that it was the Libbies who prevented the collusion of the "Big Five" banking industry (a move Harper hated at the time) and created a decade's worth of balanced budgets, while preserving most of the welfare state (compare this to the United States). Stevie and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty denied the occurrence of a recession on numerous occasions (Harper has a master's degree in economics) and it took a threat of a non-confidence vote for them to even pass some sort of a stimulus package.
  19. Independent reports back up Liberal analyses of Conservative stimulus spending bias
  20. Small change for tighter times, The Globe and Mail
  21. Ottawa's GST cut a mistake, The Globe and Mail
  22. A senseless census reform, The Economist
  23. How the PM's dig at Mulcair sparked a #HarperHistory lesson, CBC
  24. Tories on e-snooping: ‘Stand with us or with the child pornographers’, The Globe and Mail
  25. Sorry, Steve.
  26. Canadian troops trained by Blackwater without U.S. permission: court document, The Canadian Press
  27. CSIS may use intelligence derived from torture, Toews says, CBC
  28. Harper says he'll support Israel even if it hurts Canada politically, The Canadian Press
  29. To be fair, he hasn't touched it ever since.
  30. Tories accused of culture of intimidation, Toronto Star
  31. Feds rehire some non-Christian prison chaplains, CBC
  32. Because a Department of Foreign Affairs and constitutional charter isn't enough.
  33. Meet the Tory hit list, The Globe and Mail
  34. StatsCan loses top economic analyst over census, Ottawa Citizen
  35. Tories accused of digging up dirt on ‘Liberal’ profs, Toronto Star
  36. Environment Canada job cuts raise concerns, CBC
  37. At Copenhagen, Canada takes “Colossal Fossil” distinction for third year in row
  38. Tory senators kill climate bill passed by House, The Globe and Mail
  39. ‘Radical groups’ spur Tories to speed pipeline review process, The Globe and Mail
  40. Canadian government is 'muzzling its scientists' BBC
  41. Canada must free scientists to talk to journalists, Nature
  42. In reality...
  43. Canada withdraws from Kyoto pact, BBC
  44. Stephen Harper vs. The Press
  45. Harper to avoid national media, claiming bias, CTV
  46. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/10/02/pmo_backs_down_on_threat_to_bar_journalist_for_asking_stephen_harper_a_question_tim_harper.html
  47. $833-million security bill for G20 and G8 called “insane”, Toronto Life
  48. ‘Embarrassment to the Canadian government’ considered security threat at Toronto G20 summit: documents, National Post
  49. Economic Action Plan signs could become permanent, The Canadian Press
  50. Harper gallery leaves MPs speechless, Ottawa Citizen
  51. Documents show ‘harperization’ of government communications, The Globe and Mail
  52. Kenney refuses to apologize for fake citizenship broadcast, blames bureaucrats, National Post
  53. UN rejects water as basic human right
  54. Harper parties in mining town as Canada keeps asbestos off hazardous list, The Globe and Mail
  55. Pro-asbestos advocacy group shuts its doors, Montreal Gazette
  56. Canada's foreign aid shift from Africa questioned, CTV
  57. Ottawa shrugs off UN warning on hunger and nutrition, The Globe and Mail
  58. Amid cries of contempt, Harper backs Bev Oda, The Globe and Mail
  59. Gazebos and the governing morality, The Globe and Mail
  60. ‘Desperate’ Tories fire back at MacKay’s critics with Rae’s 1992 chopper ride, The Globe and Mail
  61. Tories accused of following Tea Partier's script in new ad, The Globe and Mail
  62. Costly US fighter under fire from lawmakers, Reuters
  63. Ottawa’s fighter-jet estimate ‘all hogwash,’ U.S. watchdog warns, The Globe and Mail
  64. Tories judge evidence of falling rates inadmissible, The Globe and Mail
  65. Huge price tag for provinces attached to crime bill, The Globe and Mail
  66. Robocalls linked to Guelph Tory campaign worker's computer, CBC
  67. Robocall fallout haunts Tories, Maclean's
  68. Conservatives admit making robocalls in Saskatchewan
  69. Scientists, ex-ministers slam federal changes to Fisheries Act
  70. Budget bill moves on to the Senate for final approval, CBC
  71. Tory-created parliamentary budget office overstepping its mandate, Baird says, Winnipeg Free Press
  72. http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/09/20/quebec_government_embraces_stephen_harpers_approach_to_governance_hbert.html
  73. Harper government topples on contempt motion, triggering May election, CTV
  74. Canada's prime minister: The Teflon wears off, The Economist
  75. Auditor general to review all senators' expenses, CBC
  76. Wikiquote on Stephen Harper
  77. Harper speech fires up convention crowd, CBC
  78. 78.0 78.1 78.2 78.3 Full text of Stephen Harper's 1997 speech, CTV
  79. 79.0 79.1 79.2 The Harper quotes dossier: a sample, CBC
  80. 38th Parliament, 1st Session
  81. Tory tax cut promise dominates campaign Day 3, CTV
  82. Tories compiled Harper's most controversial quotes, CBC
  83. "Our benign dictatorship"
  84. 39th Parliament, 1st Session
  85. No more dog days, CBC
  86. We Don’t Govern on the Basis of Statistics, Skeptic North
  87. Argh Canada for Speaking Pianist, James O'Callaghan
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