Dear outraged supporters of the Conservative Party,
Please understand that I don't disagree with your right to your opinions on political issues, nor do I direct toward all of you the disdain I have for Steven Harper and his cabinet. I do take issue with people making judgements without doing some research. On top of that, I've been turned in recent months to the position that you can't get all of your information from people you already agree with if you want to be an informed human.
Conservative anger against the Liberal victory in the election Monday has been plastered everywhere on social media in the days since. While it's understandable that you would be upset that the party you chose to support was shut out so successfully from having significant impact on our government for this term, it infuriates me to see how uninformed and confused many of your fellow Conservative supporters are about the reasons for this defeat.
Good Guy Harper
As we can see in this Winnipeg Sun article, Finally - we got our country back., some Conservatives are bewildered that a man who did so much good for this country could possibly be such a bad guy.
"Thank goodness we got our country back. Because apparently, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stole it from us and he was refusing to give it back." - Tom Brodbeck, Winnipeg Sun
The wonderful things Harper's government has done for Canada, as listed in this particular article, are tax breaks, tax-free savings accounts, tax-splitting for seniors, tougher penalties for violent criminals, and reduction in sales taxes.
The money of hard working Canadians is a popular and important platform to stand on, and if your personal finances are important to you above all other considerations, Steven Harper did a lot of great things for this country.
His Ugly Side
Consider that in order to recover from his shocking mismanagement of the budget (halfway through his 10 year span as Prime Minister, he had racked up a 55.6 billion dollar deficit that had to be reversed) and all of those great tax breaks, Harper had to take some action.
By the way: most of those great tax breaks were tax preferences for luxury activites, like kids playing sports, rather than changes to base tax rates.
In addition, the 2% reduction in GST - instead of in income tax - was actually a kick in the stomach; GST was designed to put the burden of taxation on your consumption of non-essential goods and services, rather than your savings and investment, the way income tax does.
You already didn't pay GST on residential rent, mortgages, insurance, medical services and devices, prescription medications, food, or college tuition.
Rather than reduce "stimulus spending", like subsidies to oil companies that have been making record profits for several years, Harper froze foreign aid at 0.26% of GDP, far less than the 0.7% target we - along with all other participating wealthy countries - agreed with the UN to meet.
He also cut defense spending to 0.89%, placing us in breach of our obligation to NATO that we spend a minimum of 2% of our GDP on defense in order to provide and receive mutual promise of military support in the event of attack from a hostile force.
In 2009, Harper's conduct on environmental issues caused prominent politicians and scientists to begin calling for Canada's removal from the Commonwealth. Though this was not carried out, it's an insult not considered since South Africa was under the rule of the racist Apartheid government.
Harper's government was found in contempt of parliament - historically unique in Canada - for blatantly lying about and obfuscating expense budgets for large purchases and refusing to provide parliament members with more information.
He was quick to shut down parliament twice, once in order to avoid inquiry into Afghan detainees who were being handed over for torture, and a second time to prevent a vote of no confidence in his leadership from triggering another federal election.
Harper cut important support services and advocacy funding for minority groups - particularly aboriginal women.
Maybe it's true that he did many great things for our country - or at least our wallets - but Steven Harper has done much more to hurt our public image on the world stage, to turn a blind eye to human suffering, and to cut off critical support systems for some of our most vulnerable citizens. His government has lied to us frequently and used Islamophobia to direct your attention to women wearing the niqab (veil) instead of his systematic abuse of and disregard for the democratic system.
Thank goodness we got our country back.
Next election, dear Conservatives, make sure there are people in charge of your party who share your core values but aren't complete cocks.