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March 31, 2011

What if Harper gets a majority?

Heather Mallick

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I won't lie to you; my job would become easier by yards, it being possible that Stephen Harper would ditch the metric system to please the Americans. (Although I was born at just the wrong time and still measure everything in ounces centigrade.)

I wouldn't patrol the newsroom looking for column ideas; they would simply arrive on my mental doorstep like cowpats.

A Harper majority government would be dishonest.

That's an easy one, they're Dodgy Inc. now, with their in-and-out campaign financing, lying to Parliament, allegations of illegally blocking freedom of information, killing the long-form census to cater to invented online outrage, wildly underestimating the cost of those Lockheed Martin jets, padding the Senate they previously vowed to reform, accepting fat MP pensions they once decried . . . I could go on but lack the space and sometimes the will to live, frankly.

A recent poll shows that Canadians know the Harper government tells whoppers. For the Harper regime, lying is a core value, to the point where there's a bouncy aggressive incredulity when they're questioned about it in the House of Commons. They regard opposition MPs as dogs lunging at a G20 wire fence when they've already been trained with electroshocks to never do that again.

Old-tyme religion will reign, and our spiritual leader will be Harper's favourite evangelical, Charles McVety. I've met him. He's like Mike Huckabee without the affable (and convenient) stupidity. There's a canniness to McVety that worries me, because I've seen his followers and they are not canny. They are obedient though.

I used to decry the concept of tenure, suspecting it made professors coast in class, but now I see it as a fence standing between us and the intellectually primitive. In Harperland, your students would turn you in for Wrongspeak and you would lose your job.

I have had my occasional conceptual quarrels with unions but with Harper running the country, I would proudly wear the union label. I want jobs for all at reasonable pay, not an abandoned layer of unemployed and working poor people at the bottom. But this is a structure that works for Harper.

Canada would increasingly resemble the U.S., a model that makes European countries shudder. Guns on the street, gated communities, rampant drug use, unlimited anonymous corporate political donations, no government safety standards for food and medicine, classrooms that resemble holding pens more than civilized safe rooms for the young to learn . . . If Harper got his majority, these things would hit us like an avalanche.

Citizens regarded as “ethnics” would be courted until election day, and then abandoned. Forget family reunification, forget federal money to ease non-whites' path into Canadian society, forget English classes.

Women's rights would retreat, including abortion rights, access to medical advances and the right to go to court to protest inequality.

Everything would be up for privatization, from roads, parks and parking meters to schools and hospitals.

Individuals would be in trouble. As I have written before, Harper's targeting of perceived enemies verges on the Stalinist. I find Harper's treatment of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, whose Russian ancestors fled the Reds, as sinister as anything I have ever seen in politics. Harper's goons accuse Ignatieff of being an aristocrat passing himself off as a regular guy.

Funny, the Ignatieffs would have heard this from the Communists a century ago. No one's responsible for their relatives. And wealth — if Ignatieff's grandparents had any — isn't a crime. But the Stalinists, and indeed the Khmer Rouge who condemned intellectuals and killing anyone wearing glasses, didn't see it that way.

If that's what they say about Ignatieff, imagine what they'll say about you. The Conservative hate machine will swivel toward you like a Dalek and advance. You're doomed. A Harper majority government wouldn't just lash out generally. It would hunt down its enemies.

Fear these people. Don't get sick. Don't grow old. Don't have children. Make yourself invulnerable.

Heather Mallick is a Star Columnist, Toronto Star, March 28, 2011.

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On July 7, 2024 in Toronto, Canada, Dimitri Lascaris delivered a speech on the right to resist oppression.

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