Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ A Sanity Check

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Apr 06, 2005

I note today this item in the CBC news: Harper denies MP received money for visas. Harper, of course, is the Canadian Conservative leader, he who has been slathering to have a chance at the polls after an ongoing Liberal scandal has erupted anew.

This article offers us a sanity check. True, it may not be anything other than a Conservative member innocently lobbying for a private member's bill. But this would mean it has about the same substance as some recent allegations against Liberal members (and I'm thinking of not only people like Judy Sgro but also the unfairly maligned Jane Stewart).

Let's face it - a Conservative government would be no more virtuous than the present Liberal one - has everyone already forgotten Stevie Cameron's scathing deconstruction of Conservative corruption, On the Take? Is Stephen Harper somehow less slimy than his patron Brian Mulroney? You can hear Conservatives drooling for an election because they are slathering for another turn at the trough.

And while being no more virtuous, a Conservative government would be busy wreaking disaster on the Canadian fabric. Mulroney ran up a record deficit while offering nothing to show for it - no health care, no education, no infrastructure - just a bunch of happy friends. He cynically played Quebec separatism, forging an unholy alliance with future Bloc Quebecois leader Lucien Bouchard. Harper would be as bad as Mulroney, but with a dose of culture wars for good measure.

Look what the conservatives are doing in my own province - while teachers are on the verge of a strike, our local education minister is more concerned about an abstinence-based sex education curriculum. Look at Alberta, where Conservative premier Ralph Klein steadfastly refuses to accept gay rights, despite their being constitutionally required by the Supreme Court. Harper has continually squelched talk of things like abortion from his own back benches - after the election, he must me whispering to them.

No - don't kid yourself. A Conservative government would be ruinous. And hope that Canadians are smart enough to see that.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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