| It doesn't stop|
at the water's edge
“”"Either you don't care, or you're incompetent. Which is it?"
|—NDP Leader Jack Layton, summing Harper up nicely.|
Stephen Joseph "Our Glorious Dear Leader" Harper is a fan of Nickelback,
the head of the Conservative Party of Canada (whoops) and the nation's Prime Minister from 2006 to 2015. He has become a pariah of many Canucks for his increasingly robotic autocratic style of governance, enough to have his support base dwarfed by an alliance of onion ring lovers. 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 as "libreal [sic] fucktards" 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 and track record is enough to raise serious alarm for the state of the country.
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 as "Steve Harper." The Reform Party later became the Canadian Alliance (first aptly known as the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party), then merged with the PCs (creating the current Conservatives) for a chance to challenge the Liberals in the mid-2000s.
Reasons to like him
- 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 reopen debate about it, perhaps to prevent pissing off the general electorate. In a hilarious case of blowback, Tory backbenchers who really want to reopen the abortion debate are currently rebelling because the de-facto censorship he's placed on their right to speak in Parliament.
- 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 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.
- Made scholarship and fellowship grants to students non-taxable: That was nice of him.
Reasons to "meh" 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 effortswas forced to institute as Truth and Reconciliation commision uncover the full truth of the episode. Once the commision was done, Harper refused to do jack shit or even reply.
- 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 rejecting the HST in favour of separate GST and PST.
- Free trade: Is establishing links from the EU to China.
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. Sent Action Plan checks disproportionately to important party ridings, and started creating deficits before 2008 (the latter due to being an apparent tax cut addict, intentions now questioned by economists).
- Stripping Statistics Canada's power: Considered one of the best of its kind, Harper eliminated the long-form census simply for ideological reasons.
- Love for logical fallacies: False dilemma and Godwin's Law, anyone?
Reasons to hate him
“”“You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through with it.”
|—Harper himself, upon his election in 2006.|
- Americanization: Easily the most right-wing asshole Canada ever put in office, with a ton of eerie parallels with the GOP nearly across the board on policy. 
- Silencing dissent, knowledge, and democracy, bit by bit. 
- Police State fan: Taking cues from the Patriot Act, Harper introduced several bills that entrench the powers of the intelligence-security apparatus to such an extent that, due to their broadly phrased wording, would cause untold thousands of people being arrested and detained without due process. First off, Bill C-30 allows the Canadian government to monitor online activities of its citizens—without warrants, of course. Bill C-44 expands the surveillance powers of CSIS to NSA levels (not just Anglophone countries would be affected), while granting anonymity protection to CSIS informants and allowing for new conditions under which Canadian citizenship can be revoked. Bill C-639, introduced on Dec. 3, which impinges on the Constitutional right of assembly and would criminalize people exercising their democratic right to public protest. Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015, contains draconian measures that protect "critical infrastructure", namely private property that is owned by wealthy plutocrats or corporations. Even those who, for example, protest Israeli wars on Gaza, those same civilians would be arrested on the basis of "supporting terrorists" (a la Hamas), and have their citizenship revoked. Workers who begin striking at, say, oil companies in Canada would be arrested for potential "damage" done to "critical infrastructure".
- Anti-Sex: He introduced and legalized a December 2014 bill that criminalizes the purchase of sex, while keeping it legal to sell sex, which effectively prohibits prostitution for no good reason other than to piss on the little guy again. (Now we're all for consumer protection, but it's just a dick move (so to speak!) to make it legal to hire a prostitute but illegal to act as one.)
- Unacceptable Cowardice: When a crazed gunman went on a rampage in Ottawa, and came within ten meters of over 200 members of Parliament as well as the Prime Minister and both Opposition Leaders, Stephen Harper—the Prime Minister—hid in a closet. By contrast, the Members of Parliament grabbed flagpoles, transformed them into spears, and held them at the ready within their offices; waiting for the gunman to show up so they could impale him like Ancient Greeks in a phalanx formation.
- Anti-LGBT: Specifically and successfully blocked protections for transgender Canadians.
- Anti-Citizenship: Introduced a bill that, if passed, will make it harder for immigrants to earn Canadian citizenship and easier for current Canadians to lose it. New immigrants will have to wait longer before they can apply for citizenship. Older and younger people will now have to pass language and knowledge tests to qualify for citizenship. The citizenship application fees have been tripled. There will be no right of appeal for those who are refused.
- NAFTA wannabe: He pushed for the pending passage of CETA, a NAFTA-esque trade deal that gives priority to investor and intellectual property rights above environmental and consumer regulations.
- Considers science an inconvenience: He shut down a "groundbreaking" freshwater research station, because fuck it.
- Chickenhawk envy: Despite having no military experience, he blindly supported the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, regardless of the consequences, illegality or 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. In 2014, he put Canada into a state of war with ISIL while his Conbots laughed, cheered, clapped and did a few thumbs-ups, so basically made a circus of the motion. In other words, being euphoric over the possible deaths of the children of other Canadians, as well as civilian casualties in the area ISIL occupies. Again, contrast to his own behavior in the gunman incident above.
- Americanization of Canadian government: His policies emulate much of those perpetrated by the GOP, like having his soldiers trained by Blackwater, torturing prisoners for information, 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 ceasefire 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.
- Socially regressive behaviour: Attempted to reinstate a gay marriage ban immediately after taking office, shut down 12 out of 16 federal Status of Women offices, fired most non-Christian chaplains from Canadian prisons, and has funneled money into a headscratcher of an initiative called the "Office of Religious Freedom," seemingly created to pander to Catholics.
- Witch hunts on opponents: McCarthy-esque crackdowns on government dissenters and liberal university professors
- A dismal record on global warming, "muzzling" climate scientists and calling Kyoto "a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations." He then formally withdrew Canada from its commitment to the Protocol, making it the first country of the 191 ratifying signatories to do so.
- Restricting the press: He regulated the Ottawa press gallery in a really bad way, by limiting the number of questions they can give him and only approving softball queries by pro-Harper reporters, 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, the former when facing a vote of confidence that he would have lost as a minority government, while the Liberals, NDP and Bloc had signed an agreement to form a coalition government. He ironically claimed that the coalition was "something nobody voted for" and "undemocratic", while the parties in the coalition carried 54% of the vote to his 38%. In the next election in 2011, the Conservatives were elected to a majority government with 39% of the vote, which is truly undemocratic and something for which nobody voted.
- Hates being questioned (bet you didn't see that coming): Harper wanted to prevent a CTV camera from boarding his plane to Malaysia because he wanted to ask him a question.
- Careless spending: Wasted almost $1 billion in three days for security and other costs during the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto. 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.
- Tried to steal ballot boxes and make stimulus plan signs permanent.
- Massive ego: Filled the government lobby with photos of just himself, continues to have the Government of Canada listed as the "Harper Government" in official communications, and used Fox News lookalike Sun News to concoct an act of propaganda worthy of Failblog mention. 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, has
pressed to maintain the freaking asbestos industryreluctantly ended funding for the Chrysotile Institute in May 2012 after international condemnation (plus a good mocking by Jon Stewart), drastically cut foreign aid to Africa, and literally wants the poor to starve
- Negligence over the $7 million Bev Oda scandal 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 and allowed the Defence Minister to use a search-and-rescue helicopter as a personal limo
- In a
terrifyinghilarious move, fully copied one of Tim Pawlenty's 2012 presidential ads
- 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), expected to be tens of billions of dollars more than official projections. 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 1970s. And fibbing about the cost. 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. And then had the audacity to use robocalls to manipulate public opinion against changing Saskatchewan's rigged electoral boundaries.
- 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. Once the Harper-instituted budget office realized it was probably illegal, they were told to fuck off.
- 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 Prime Ministers are still sitting members of the legislature, so they're allowed to shape policy so openly and directly. 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 well as that of Quebec. This includes blocking evidence-based arguments, the use of public data and government funds for partisan purposes, and claiming that their critics are out of touch with the "silent majority". Lord knows how successive governments will act after Harper inevitably leaves.
- Filtering Refugee Applications By Religion: A few months after images flooded the world of dead Syrian children washing up on the shores of Europe's beaches, it was revealed that Harper's office had directed the Citizen and Immigration bureau to send all asylum seeker requests to him personally so that he and he alone could judge whether they were worthy, even in cases where the UN had already deemed the refugee's situation untenable. If you're a government employee you'll know that communicating with one department is not a simple process, and as a result, Harper's insistence of micro-managing a complex asylum process delayed desperate people's applications too long, resulting in deaths. Worst of all, there are also accusations that Harper sought to only approve asylum cases with minorities that could be courted for votes, and instructed officials not to consider Shia and Sunni Muslim cases because these would be harder to present in a future campaign. In short, Harper's response to the Syrian Civil War was to effectively put up a "Christians only" sign at Canada's ports.
...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. Enjoy, eh.
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. Similar in nature to the UK extravaganza that bit ruined Gordon Brown, 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. Word is still out about the Wright/Duffy affair, which could start resembling Watergate very quickly.
With the New Democratic Party trouncing the PCs in Alberta, thereby ending their 40-year dynasty, Harper was given a glimpse into the future for his party on the federal level. Following a 78-day(!) campaign, voters took to the ballots on October 19, 2015, and finally booted Steve out of office after nine long years. A majority of seats were won by the Liberal Party led by Justin Trudeau, the son of former PM Pierre Trudeau, thereby making the largest comeback of any political party in Canadian history (before the election, they were in third place with 36 seats; after the election, they had 184). The NDP, despite losing Official Opposition status to the 99-seat Cons, still remain in play with their 44 seats, their second highest in party history.
Harper resigned as leader of the CPC shortly thereafter.
"Canada is a vast and empty country."
"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."
"I don't believe that any taxes are good taxes."
"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."
"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 )
"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
- One brave soul has even managed to create a piano arrangement of these comments. It is stressed that it be played "with a blue sweater, if possible."
- His Twitter page
- His brilliant mastery of the French language
- Stephen Harper steals speech from Emperor Palpatine
- What now, Canada?
- Harper is declared Douchebag of the Year, for the third time in a row
- Build more prisons!
- Can this Onion Ring get more fans than Stephen Harper?
- ie. ShitHarperDid
- Will always have this to remember, eh?
- Newt Gingrich: Stephen Harper gets shout-out from Republican hopeful, The Huffington Post
- Well...not really, as everyone outside of Western Canada now hates his guts.
- Not the American one, rather this
- No, seriously. (But you can't trust those commies at the CBC!)
- Stephen Harper Says He'll Vote Against Private Member's Bill On Human Definition, The Huffington Post
- Tory MPs rebel against Prime Minister's Office control
- 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 2011, he could have forced a Notwithstanding vote through anytime he wanted.
- B.C. votes 55% to scrap HST (CBC News)
- 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.
- Whether you liked the Chrétien/Martin years or not (and there was a lot not to like), it must be stressed that it was the Libs 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.
- Independent reports back up Liberal analyses of Conservative stimulus spending bias
- Small change for tighter times, The Globe and Mail
- Ottawa's GST cut a mistake, The Globe and Mail
- A senseless census reform, The Economist
- How the PM's dig at Mulcair sparked a #HarperHistory lesson, CBC
- Tories on e-snooping: ‘Stand with us or with the child pornographers’, The Globe and Mail
- It was passed with support from the Liberal Party.
- We are dead serious
- If he can't get the gays, he'll get the trans!
- Don't let them take our jerbs!
- Shut it down!
- Sorry, Steve.
- Basically, the Conservatives think the war on ISIL is a video game and that there's nothing better in life than pwning the noobs IRL with no scope 720 headshot snipes (or in this case, bombings).
- Canadian troops trained by Blackwater without U.S. permission: court document, The Canadian Press
- CSIS may use intelligence derived from torture, Toews says, CBC
- Harper says he'll support Israel even if it hurts Canada politically, The Canadian Press
- To be fair, he hasn't touched it ever since.
- Tories accused of culture of intimidation, Toronto Star
- Feds rehire some non-Christian prison chaplains, CBC
- Because a Department of Foreign Affairs and constitutional charter isn't enough.
- Meet the Tory hit list, The Globe and Mail
- StatsCan loses top economic analyst over census, Ottawa Citizen
- Tories accused of digging up dirt on ‘Liberal’ profs, Toronto Star
- Environment Canada job cuts raise concerns, CBC
- At Copenhagen, Canada takes “Colossal Fossil” distinction for third year in row
- Tory senators kill climate bill passed by House, The Globe and Mail
- ‘Radical groups’ spur Tories to speed pipeline review process, The Globe and Mail
- Canadian government is 'muzzling its scientists' BBC
- Canada must free scientists to talk to journalists, Nature
- In reality...
- Canada withdraws from Kyoto pact, BBC
- Stephen Harper vs. The Press
- Harper to avoid national media, claiming bias, CTV
- Because fuck reporters, amirite?
- $833-million security bill for G20 and G8 called “insane”, Toronto Life
- ‘Embarrassment to the Canadian government’ considered security threat at Toronto G20 summit: documents, National Post
- Economic Action Plan signs could become permanent, The Canadian Press
- Harper gallery leaves MPs speechless, Ottawa Citizen
- Documents show ‘harperization’ of government communications, The Globe and Mail
- Kenney refuses to apologize for fake citizenship broadcast, blames bureaucrats, National Post
- UN rejects water as basic human right
- Harper parties in mining town as Canada keeps asbestos off hazardous list, The Globe and Mail
- Pro-asbestos advocacy group shuts its doors, Montreal Gazette
- Canada's foreign aid shift from Africa questioned, CTV
- Ottawa shrugs off UN warning on hunger and nutrition, The Globe and Mail
- Amid cries of contempt, Harper backs Bev Oda, The Globe and Mail
- Gazebos and the governing morality, The Globe and Mail
- ‘Desperate’ Tories fire back at MacKay’s critics with Rae’s 1992 chopper ride, The Globe and Mail
- Tories accused of following Tea Partier's script in new ad, The Globe and Mail
- Costly US fighter under fire from lawmakers, Reuters
- Ottawa’s fighter-jet estimate ‘all hogwash,’ U.S. watchdog warns, The Globe and Mail
- Tories judge evidence of falling rates inadmissible, The Globe and Mail
- Huge price tag for provinces attached to crime bill, The Globe and Mail
- Robocalls linked to Guelph Tory campaign worker's computer, CBC
- Robocall fallout haunts Tories, Maclean's
- Conservatives admit making robocalls in Saskatchewan
- Scientists, ex-ministers slam federal changes to Fisheries Act
- Budget bill moves on to the Senate for final approval, CBC
- Tory-created parliamentary budget office overstepping its mandate, Baird says, Winnipeg Free Press
- As expected of Marois, of course
- Prime Minister’s Office ordered halt to refugee processing
- PMO sought political gain in prioritizing certain Syrian refugees
- Harper government topples on contempt motion, triggering May election, CTV
- Canada's prime minister: The Teflon wears off, The Economist
- Auditor general to review all senators' expenses, CBC
- Wikiquote on Stephen Harper
- Harper speech fires up convention crowd, CBC
- Full text of Stephen Harper's 1997 speech, CTV
- The Harper quotes dossier: a sample, CBC
- 38th Parliament, 1st Session
- Tory tax cut promise dominates campaign Day 3, CTV
- Tories compiled Harper's most controversial quotes, CBC
- "Our benign dictatorship"
- Flanagan regrets WikiLeaks assassination remark
- 39th Parliament, 1st Session
- No more dog days, CBC
- We Don’t Govern on the Basis of Statistics, Skeptic North
- Argh Canada for Speaking Pianist, James O'Callaghan