Canadians are being manipulated by the politics of fear.
The Conservatives began by attacking Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff with repeated TV ads, weeks before the election was called.
The Tories followed by accusing the Liberals of planning a coalition if the Tories again lead a minority government. The coalition, of course, would be beholden to the Bloc Quebecois and its separatist agenda.
While it has the ring of truth, it’s speculation. As Stephen Harper asks Canadians to give him a majority, let’s look at how he has governed with a minority.
Like the B.C. premier recently forced to resign, Harper rules autocratically, concentrating power in his office and tightly controlling the flow of information.
No wonder, considering some of the things that have happened.
• Harper had Parliament dismissed twice when debate got too hot in the House of Commons.
• The auditor general said the government misinformed Parliament to win approval for a $50-million G8 fund that lavished money on questionable projects in Industry Minister Tony Clement’s riding.
• Elections Canada ordered a raid on Conservative headquarters, investigating a scheme in which the party is accused of illegally spending millions of dollars in the past election.
• For the first time in Canada’s history, a federal government was cited for contempt of Parliament, because the Tories refused to disclose the true cost of their proposals on prisons and fighter jets.
If you believe the Conservatives are the only ones who can properly manage the national economy (although the Liberals balanced the budget under Finance Minister Paul Martin), if you suffer from scandal fatigue or if you highly value the considerable experience John Duncan has in representing Vancouver Island North, you won’t vote for anybody else.
Otherwise, reflect in the ballot box and wonder what Harper might do with a majority if this is how he governs without one.