Harpers’ election controls

One of the political parties, the Conservative Party under the leadership of Stephen Harper, have shown they do not have the same regard for those principles of democracy. Mr Harper, even by present standards of political micro-managing, controls his party and his minority government with an iron fist.

Dear editor,

On May 2, we as Canadians, will exercise the democratic right to vote for our government.

That right and the other rights, such as free speech, that we enjoy, are vital and we need to be vigilant in protecting those rights.

One of the political parties, the Conservative Party under the leadership of Stephen Harper, have shown they do not have the same regard for those principles of democracy. Mr Harper, even by present standards of political micro-managing, controls his party and his minority government with an iron fist.

Election campaigns are part of the democratic process and access to candidates by both the media and by citizens, even those who may disagree with you allows the voters to assess your positions and hold you accountable for your statements. Mr. Harper’s campaign strategy to run in a ‘bubble’  with restricted access is consistent with his method of governing.

There are far too many examples of Harper’s disregard to include here but for starters:

• Muzzling scientists in Environment Canada;

• Deciding which reporters will be allowed to ask questions at briefings;

• Firing the heads of agencies who do not parrot the government line;

• Defunding non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are advocates for issues which this minority government disagrees with.

It gets worse.

The Oda affair, where papers were altered so an NGO was denied funding. The recent story about Auditor General Fraser’s report on the G8 spending and the misuse of a statement by her.

Finally we have Parliament for the first time in Canada’s history citing a government for contempt of Parliament for refusing to disclose the true cost of their proposals on prisons and fighter jets.

These are not trivialities, nor some rogue minister going off message. They are symptomatic of a man and a party playing to win at all costs, no matter if rules have to be bent or even ignored.

Democracy — if allowed to function in an open and co-operative manner — is this country’s strength. Hopefully on May 2 the citizens of Canada will rebuke Mr. Harper and vote accordingly.

Brian Charlton,

Comox Valley