Sunday, October 18, 2015

Your children’s future is bleak with the Conservative: I’m voting NDP

By: Dolores Chew

Dear family, friends, colleagues, sisters and brothers in struggle,

This is the first time I am writing such a letter, but the pressing urgency related to who forms our next government has made me do so.   Please hear me through, even though you may be suffering from election fatigue.

I have decided that tomorrow I will vote in my riding, NDG-Westmount,  for the NDP candidate James Hughes, and I will tell you why. Like many Canadians, I do not want to live under another four years of Conservative government headed by Stephen Harper .   He’s had  more than enough time (since 2006) to demonstrate the success of his plans and policies, but he`s failed.  

The Liberal candidate in my riding, Marc Garneau is a good man who sounded us out regularly on issues of importance to Canadians-- the environment,  CBC, postal delivery, etc.  However the Liberals when in power have not fulfilled oft-made promises, such as a universal childcare/daycare program), so I don’t expect any different this time round.  

The NDP’s platform addresses many issues that are close to me in terms of making Canada more equitable for all and also in terms of the next generations – our children and their children.  As Canada’s native people say – decisions need to take into account the impact on the next seven generations.  

Moreover, the NDP has taken principled stands -- Bill C-51, (where the Liberals voted with the Conservatives). Most recently, on the niqab, even though they knew it would cost them votes.  They acknowledged that no government should legislate what a woman wears! She has the right to choose.  As women we have fought too long and too hard to win recognition as persons, for voting rights and for equality rights to see these hard-won gains eroded.   

I know the NPD is not perfect.  They have moved to the right. Also the silencing of NDPers whose position on Palestine is that international law and UN resolutions should be upheld.  But, of the three main contenders (the Green Party unfortunately is not in this category) I believe the NDP promises the best future for Canadians.  And we can work to move the NDP back to its social democratic roots and to holding principled positions on all issues.  If a political party is not principled and says what it believes will win it votes, then it is not to be trusted.     

(In ridings where the race may be between the Conservative candidate and the Liberal candidate, I urge you to vote Liberal.)

Stephen Harper has used the politics of fear and generated insecurity.  He hopes we succumb to “Better safe than sorry...” or “What if...”.   Whether it`s the niqab or, the budget.  He has been irresponsible and reckless,  scapegoated minorities and created an atmosphere of fear.  The only Canadians who seem to count as far as he’s concerned are those who agree with him. How can such a person head a government and lead a country?  

Stephen Harper is not good for Canada`s economy.  Since many of us are influenced to vote for the party who will do the best for our wallets, it’s worth noting that under Harper household debt is skyrocketing.   The top 20% of the population earn about five times as much as the bottom 20%.   Harper’s economic record is the worst in Canada’s postwar (that’s World War II, which ended in 1945) history.  We slipped into full recession in the first part of 2015.  Even if we give Harper benefit of doubt and leave aside short-term cyclical downturn (which is what he claimed it was), much more serious is his longer-run “failure to stimulate growth, job-creation, innovation, and investment.” Canada has experienced “the slowest average economic growth since the Great Depression”.  In  job-creation, productivity, personal incomes, business investment, household debt, inequality, failure to get more business investment, get more exports, the Conservative record has been dismal.  The Conservatives said that by their cutting corporate taxes ($15 billion a year) and signing more free trade deals they would boost the economy. Neither policy has worked.

The Harper government made spending cuts after their 2011 majority – and this has had, as any self-respecting economist could have predicted, the effect of making the economic crisis worse.  

Your children’s future is bleak with the Conservatives.  Harper cut the child care tax credit, leaving parents with only $13 per month. For your children to have a good future we need a robust economy, which can only happen if there is shared prosperity for all.  It`s not only a moral or ethical position.  It`s sound economics.  Beggar your neighbour and it will boomerang on you. So do not be duped!

Many of us would not be in Canada today were it not for the Family Reunification Program; he`s dealt it a death blow.  We can`t bring our relatives and aged parents here to join us.  `Reunification` has been replaced with ‘super’ visa;  our parents cannot stay permanently, and they are ineligible for medicare!  Harper wants us, our labour and our contribution to the economy, but he doesn`t want our parents! He`s also passed Bill C-24, a law making us second class citizens.
The things we cherish about Canada – universal healthcare, good maternity benefits, parental leave, pay equity – have all been won by hard struggles. We need to strengthen these things, not slash and burn them.

Draconian Bill C-51 gives the intelligence service CSIS much greater powers to interfere with the lives of Canadians with no oversight. This law and other legislation the Conservatives have passed is unnecessary. We already have laws in place that cover all eventualities.  The new laws are essentially about optics – exploiting fear, creating the false impression that they will make Canadians safe.  

The law about so-called Barbaric Cultural Practices  generates racism, Islamophobia. And it too doesn’t do anything existing laws can’t, with respect to violence against women and child abuse.  What we need is to end the grim reality in which in the majority of cases of female homicides in Canada, the perpetrators are male partners or ex-partners.  Passing more legislation does not do this.  But it makes it seem that the government is doing something.   If Harper is so concerned about violence against women why is he dead set against holding an inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous women?

In all areas where the safety and security of Canadians are really at stake Harper has failed or sabotaged what has been done.  He killed the gun registry. He ended the long-form census (which provides crucial data about Canada – if there is no data about problems then we don’t have problems, right?). He seriously curtailed scientific research, cut funds to research, the arts, the CBC .

I could go on....  If you’re still reading, thank you for your patience and for allowing me to ‘speak’ with you about this crucial matter. It’s your future, your children’s future, the future of your friends, neighbours, parents and your community. 

Among all of you there are many shades of political opinion, views on economics, representative and direct democracy, etc.   However I urge all to vote. Do not abstain; do not make a protest vote.  Choose wisely for the best future for Canadians. I have chosen. I’m voting for my NDP candidate, James Hughes (who by the way is a super candidate in his own right and who will do good things for us).


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