The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
I have fallen into disrepute.
I know it’s hard for you to believe but there is a whole group of people who are very annoyed with me for criticizing Stephen Harper and the Conservative Base. I believe it works on the principle that anything that challenges what this particular group considers to be orthodox is considered by them to be heresy.
I suppose that makes me a heretic. I wish I could be more concerned about it but as the dear lady, my mother, used to say while she was still with us:
“Before you take the compliment or the criticism too seriously, dear, consider the source of it first.”
It was good advice; although advice I didn’t always take in my younger years. These days I tend to take extreme compliment or criticism with a grain of salt which I believe probably elevates me (or lowers me, depending on your point of view) to being a jaded heretic.
The simple truth is, however, that I’m less interested in what people think of me – or what I write – than I am in defending what I think is important and what I think is important are values and principles.
I get tired of the endless attempts to defend individuals who have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, dishonest or corrupt simply because they happen to be one of ours. If we, as conservatives, are not going to defend our values by holding our leaders to a high standard; who do we think is? Certainly neither the Liberals nor the NDP are going to rush to the defense of the things we claim to believe in and support.
I get tired of the delusional mythology too. No lie is greater than the lies we tell ourselves and some conservatives have been more than just a little willfully blind in their desperation to believe that we’re still the good guys.
One of the great mythologies is the wonderful job of managing the economy that the Harper Government has done and how fiscally responsible it is. By comparison they point to the Liberals, in particular the Ontario Liberals and the mess they have made and continue to make of Ontario’s economy.
Quite frankly, that’s setting the bar for comparison pretty low. I know gambling addicts and shopaholics who do a better job of managing their resources than the Ontario Liberals have done.
The Chretien Liberals balanced the books. It’s a matter of record whether we like the Liberals or not. Stephen Harper inherited a balanced budget – we now have a budget deficit again and have had for the better part of his mandate.
One of his first acts after being elected Prime Minister was to cut the GST. “Hurray” said conservatives – lower taxes but it was a conservative government that brought in the GST and for good reason. Consumption taxes are a fairer form of taxation than income tax and they generate more government revenue with less pain to the taxpayer. When Stephen Harper cut the GST he removed any wiggle room he might have had when the recession hit in 2008.
I don’t blame Harper for the recession or even the infrastructure spending he implemented to fight it although it is suspiciously like a Liberal approach. But I do blame him for failing to plan for unexpected contingencies which a truly fiscal conservative government would have done.
Much is made about the stability of our banking system and with good reason. It is highly regulated and was able to withstand the devastating impact of the 2008 recession that crippled many financial institutions in other countries. But again, the Harper Conservatives didn’t create that circumstance; they inherited the strong banking system Canada enjoys.
As for managing our money more responsibly; I beg to differ. Since 2008, the Harper Government has spent more than $500 million advertising its Economic Action Plan. The advertising was so ineffective that it failed to generate one single phone call to its 1-800 number. That’s a lot of taxpayer money simply to pat yourself on the back. It’s enough money to pay to cancel a gas power plant in Ontario.
Another $50 million was pulled out of the Border Security budget so that Treasury Board President Tony Clement could redecorate his riding, complete with a media centre that features an indoor lake* that almost nobody sees or uses
I find that kind of waste to be contrary for what we, as conservatives, claim to stand. There are other examples, some trivial, some significant but the point is made. The Harper Government is no more fiscally responsible than some previous administrations and less so than a few.
Some of the hard-core right is equally as forgiving when it comes to accountability, transparency and integrity in government and it bemuses me to watch them turning themselves inside out in an attempt to rationalize the same failings in the government we elected that they criticize in the Liberals.
Scandals? We’ve had more than a few including Robocall, In and Out, illegal campaign funding and, of course, the current Senate Expense mess.
Integrity? Even Stephen Harper has admitted that some within his administration practiced deception; he just hasn’t accepted responsibility for appointing those people to their positions. That would be the same lack of accountability we condemn in the other parties.
And speaking of accountability, to hear Stephen Harper tell it, one person was responsible for Robocall even though it now appears that some of the statements made to police by conservative campaign workers are not truthful and the Senate scandal was caused by just two people. Imagine that, Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright are solely responsible for everything that has happened over there in the Senate and upstairs in the Prime Minister’s Office on Parliament Hill.
I had one conservative blogger refer to me as someone who had been ‘trapped’ by the media hype over the Senate Scandal. I laughed out loud when I read that and read it to Maggie when she got home from the office because she likes a good chuckle too.
The only people who are trapped are those who are trapped by blind devotion to an individual rather than loyalty to a set of principles and values. I’ve read some of that particular blogger’s recent pieces and it is almost sad to watch someone work so hard to cling to a tattered illusion of Conservativism rather than dealing with the truth of what is being done to it by people like Stephen Harper, Rob Ford, Mike Duffy, Irving Gerstein, Carolyn Stewart Olsen and a whole bunch more.
Yesterday, another one of our veterans committed suicide. That brings the total number of suicides among Afghan vets to 51 since 2008 or almost 37% as many deaths by suicide as those killed in action. (138 Canadian soldiers were killed in action in Afghanistan)
There were 27 suicides in 2011 alone and 4 more just in the past week . The PR push is now on to blame the military culture and even the disabled vets for being ashamed to seek help because of the stigma of suffering from PTSD.
There is only place the blame for this lies and that is with the government. Since taking office, neither DND nor the Harper Government undertook to address the issue of the increasing suicide rate among veterans. Instead, the Harper Government first tried to have PTSD removed as a recognizable medical disability. It cut support to returning veterans while claiming increased support through its ‘fiscally responsible’ Veterans’ Charter. reduced the number of case workers available to assist vets, discharged disabled service personnel before they were entitled to pensions and benefits rather than providing them with support and has closed a number of veterans’ support offices.
Even now, the approved medical practitioners approved to assist vets are being held back thanks to a bunch of absurd red tape.
This has upset many Canadians from all political parties with the exception of Stephen Harper’s most adoring fans. They continue to defend him while claiming to support our veterans and that, my friends, is where I part company with the hard right.
I have no respect for people who talk out of both sides of their mouth; who support in our leaders what they criticize in the opposition. I have no use for people who claim to be conservatives but allow the very values that define being conservative to be trampled as if they are meaningless.
It is because I do speak out and criticize my party for its excesses, its lack of ethics and its erosion of our principles that I have been labeled a heretic.
So be it.
I’m a conservative and if being a heretic means standing up in defense of fundamental conservative values, I’m good with that; but if you’re going to label me a heretic for defending those values rather than those like Stephen Harper or Rob Ford, who violate them; make sure you put a capital H on the word Heretic.
*It has been correctly pointed out to me by a trusted source that the indoor lake and media centre were located in Tony Clement’s riding is wrong. I’ve acknowledged the error in the comments section but have left it here with admission of error rather than try to hide the fact that I made a mistake. The statement that $50 million was taken from the border security budget and spent on infrastructure in his riding is factually correct and a matter of public record.
© 2013 Maggie’s Bear
all rights reserved The written content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it may be of interest to others
Let’s connect on Twitter: @maggsbear or send a friend request on Facebook to: Maggie’s Bear