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Updated on Thursday, October 8

#23183

OMG:
As a new Canadian citizen voting for the first time on October 19th, I have trouble understanding what is so bad about Harper and why everyone seems to hate him. So far, he seems like the only leader who doesn't want to spend hundreds of billions left and right and who is able to balance a budget. Can someone convince why I shouldn't vote for the CPC?

35 comments

  1. List of reasons not to vote Conservative:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/canada/comments/3nujab/list_of_reasons_not_to_vote_conservative/

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  2. Budget isn't really balanced. They used some accounting tricks and really optimistic numbers.

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    1. It does appear we'll run a surplus this year though, and will see balanced budgets from here on out.

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  3. Honestly, while there are plenty of good reasons not to vote conservative/want the Tories out of office, you are right that Harper isn't the psychotic dictator the rabid haters seem to think he is. But anyone who's been Prime Minister for as long as Harper has (9 years - the sixth-longest serving ever and second-longest in modern history, after Chretien) is inevitably open to attacks on their character - and Harper has done plenty of controversial things while in office.

    His most vocal detractors will tell you that he's damaged democracy in Canada, by treating our democratic institutions (like the House of Commons) as nothing more than propaganda tools to win elections - giving rise to a whole new kind of divisive and petty way of doing politics in Canada (which should be no strange sight to anyone who's familiar with American politics). They'll also tell you that his government has shown a tendency to put ideology ahead of evidence, even going so far as to dismantle data-collecting instruments like the long form census. And they'll accuse him of ignoring most key social issues of the last decade.

    Generally, all that is true. But here's the thing:

    If you have a right-wing bent (i.e. low taxes, low government spending/regulation, low levels of government interference in business, trade, or provincial/local issues), the Harper Government has had a lot to offer. Despite some blunders over the years, they've stuck to their guns on these key issues pretty well, and government revenue/spending is now at the lowest level it's been at in over 50 years.
    More to the point, Harper's Conservatives have been the ONLY party offering anything for right-leaning voters. The Liberals used to be more centre-right (especially back in the Chretien/Martin days), but since they lost power they've shot to the left, and between them and the NDP they've been splitting the right wing vote quite well, while right-leaning voters feel their only option is the Tories.

    I am one of those right-leaning voters, and in spite of my misgivings about the Tories, I will probably vote for Harper again in this election, because none of the alternatives are offering me anything palatable.

    I hope my answers been fairly balanced. :)

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    1. I voted Harper, but tell anyone who asks that I voted NDP to avoid the hate.

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  4. Let's start with the simple:

    I am not an NDP supporter, but Mulcair elegantly said it when he said "Harper put all his eggs in one basket and then dropped it" in reference to the current recession. Harper is an Masters of Economics, and he failed to understand that diversification is a necessary to avoid problems with an industry, then the price of oil crashes. Meanwhile, there are plenty of other sectors that could have used his love, but he refused. The reason is quite simply that he is a corporate sell out bought by the oil industry.

    Then there is the Experimental Lakes Area being defunded (which was an attempt to shut it down). On the surface Harper, claimed that it was to save money, but the project cost next to nothing to operate and shutting it down would cost 20 years of its operating budget. The reality is that he is especially against environmental research (again, he was bought out by the oil industry), and the ELA is a research project that the natural resources to operate do not exist anywhere else in the world. The project is so valuable that organizations that could not afford to do so pitched in to keep it running, taking a hit to their own operating budgets.

    Then there is the F-35 purchase. F-35s to replace the aging F-18s makes no sense, their aircraft role is different. F-35s are specialized in long range bombardment as a fighter craft, whereas we primarily need interceptors. Super Hornets would have made more sense. The F-35s also don't meet the safety requirements we have for flying over the arctic, and the proposed Canadian variant does not account for those requirements.

    Budget being balanced isn't an issue. They will never run themselves into the ground, and credit operates to facilitate short term major purchases, such as infrastructure investments, as well as things that are social programs which boost economic participation, such as healthcare and welfare. Social spending is expensive but not costly, the difference is that it pays for itself in economic participation, as long as people don't go way overboard. As for credit, running a deficit simply means that we will want to run a surplus at some point in the future. Taking on debt is only bad when it gives nothing back, like absurd military expenditures such as the F-35s (which are way overpriced and something like double the cost of the Super Hornets I mentioned earlier). See a recurring theme yet? Harper is a corporate sell out and wants to be respected by Americans, who are as backwards as the developed world gets. Greece is a good example of overspending, its problem is that its economy cannot support its debt and it is not investing in its economy, but rather is investing on keeping people out of its economy, which is the exact opposite of what parties in Canada want to do with their deficit spending. Also, Greece's economy is based on olive oil and tourism, which means its deficit spending is NOT sustainable as is.

    Then there is the silencing of anyone who disagrees with him. Really, nothing more needs to be said about that, he keeps everyone beneath him on a short leash.

    Oh, he is the only prime minister in Canada's entire history to be caught in contempt of parliament, and a whole bunch of other bullshit that makes him especially not trustworthy.

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    1. Wow, I disagree with almost everything in your comment. Impressive.

      (The contempt of parliament bit is ridiculous btw, that was nothing more than a play by the opposition parties to trigger an election. Nobody bought it in 2011, and people don't buy it now.)

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    2. If you seriously disagree with that, I strongly suggest you educate yourself. I tend towards conservatism, and this is where I stand based on challenging my own ignorance and pursuing as much knowledge in as many areas of study as possible has brought me.

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    3. Well, I don't disagree with you on the fact that the closing of the Experimental Lakes Area was a stupid move.

      But I don't agree with your anti-american sentiments, or the notion that Harper is a 'corporate sellout,' or the need to double our infrastructure investments which are currently at record levels anyway. Also, the government didn't have its "eggs" all sitting in oil - the government of alberta are the ones who did that.

      The truth is, economically, Trudeau isn't promising much that differs from what Harper's already delivered. I just like Trudeau a lot less than I like Harper (and I don't like Harper).

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    4. I will also add that, while small deficits for a short time are fine, it's easy to get stuck in them when the economy doesn't grow at the pace you expect it to. Look at the Wynne government here in Ontario - sure they would shrink their deficit each year as the economy grew, and yet we're sitting at the same budget deficit this year as we were last year... the largest sub-sovereign debt per capita anywhere in the world (outside of California).

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    5. Even large deficits can be justified if they achieve something worthwhile. An excellent example of this is looking at mortgages, which are a massive cost relative to the income of the person incurring the cost under usual circumstance, but usually are an excellent investment if the debt burden is manageable.

      Now deficit spending is a bit different than personal economics, but again there are good and bad magnitudes of expenditure for every area of expenditure.

      An example of a mistake in spending is the US military budget, which eclipses the rest of the world and provides little long term state economic value.

      An example of a worthwhile expense would be space exploration missions, which provide long term economic value by increasing our understanding of the universe, developing new infrastructure, creating sustainable work on massive projects, and opening up new economic opportunities. There is a stat that every dollar spent on NASA puts seven dollars back into the US economy.

      Some financial expenditures are also critically important enough that creating the surplus necessary to facilitate their permanent funding is almost always a worthwhile endeavour. Public health care is an excellent example of this, as dying from cancer at the age of 20 means that that person will not live long enough to be anything other than a drain on the economy. $10 million is the medical expenditures on an individual that after which their economic utility is eclipsed by cost. Investing 95% of this number into public healthcare per individual, adjusted for inflation, would be a reasonable expenditure to ensure that all people can be the best economic agents they are capable of being, without exceeding the economic value of their lives (as averaged out across the population). It is also important to note that while people at the top often see themselves as being more important because there are fewer of them, making them less replaceable, that that is a fallacious line of thinking, as individuals capable of replacing top level workers are just as available as individuals capable of replacing bottom level workers, in terms of percentage. The line of reasoning that a CEO brings more to the company than the janitor is also fallacious simply because in order for a business to function, all levels of the company must be operating at their best, and not having a janitor can send a company under about as easily as not having a CEO. Top level workers need workers on the lower level to ensure that they are not getting bogged down in lower rung work. Obviously the need for lower rung employees directly scales with size and scope of the business operation.

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    6. There is also a point to be made about the direction that economies of developed nations should be heading in to future proof themselves for advancements in technology, because of the steam engine - slave problem.

      The steam engine - slave problem, for reference, is the reason Rome never industrialized, despite having functional steam engine designs and working models. Essentially, if Rome industrialized, its slaves would be put out of work, and if its slaves were put out of work what would the slaves do? Slaves would not have been able to engage in the economy of Rome in meaningful numbers, due to the fact that they were unskilled labourers, so in all likelihood, they would revolt, which would be a problem because slaves both outnumbered citizens, and were integrated into the entire Roman society. Unskilled workers are the workers who will be replaced most easily by machines, and we need to be prepared to keep them busy or they will revolt (the one an individual should fear most is the one with nothing left to lose). There's a number of ways of dealing with this problem, and the current one corporations favour is keeping wages low enough to justify not investing in machines. The problem behind this is that, going back to industrialization, a cup of gasoline is capable of doing far more work than even massive numbers of slaves in terms of monetary costs (so much so that the savings would justify paying the slaves to not revolt when obsoleted).

      Then there is the other problem Rome enlightened us of, through its demise. Rome managed to collapse economically to such a degree that people left their employment to do subsistence farming and similar work focused on not dying rather than on thriving. This serves as concrete proof that there is a limit to how poor the poor can be before they stop giving a fuck about showing up to work. I have personally ended up so poor I couldn't give a fuck about work, it was when I was homeless, and the only reason I escaped that was because an individual gave me small but significant sum of money necessary to get me back on my feet with no strings attached. If it were not for that, I would have been dead by November 2013.

      There is a degree of socialism necessary to ensure maximum participation in the economy by all economic agents, and unfortunately this is something that economists are too busy being not poor and not working with the poor to be capable of understanding. Economists have their uses, but need to reconcile that gap in their knowledge base to further their field of study, which is something sociologists have been yelling at them about for quite some time.

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  5. If you don't want the possibility that your new citizenship can be taken away, don't vote for Harper.

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    1. You'd have to be convicted of treason or terrorism first. I don't understand - if Canada's at war, and I decide to fight against Canada, and am later convicted of treason as a result, then why should I get to remain a Canadian citizen?

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    2. People are also unfairly convicted sometimes - wrong place, wrong time, or abusive decision-maker.

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    3. Expanding on the previous comment, I'm a hopeful future Canadian citizen, who likes being involved in politics, and this makes me very uneasy about getting involved in politics in Canada. I step on the toes of someone powerful, and sure, in the end I trust Canada is fair enough I'll most likely win, but in the middle it's a horrible horrible life.

      I think this is hard to understand for someone who doesn't have the experience of being an immigrant, and living while knowing that a wrong decision from someone (even if really unlikely) can force you to get into a plane and permanently sever your ties with everyone around you.

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    4. It doesn't take much to get labelled a terrorist under Harper's regime. All that is necessary is to disagree with him, based on precedent. Liking being involved in politics may become an act of terrorism if Harper continues in his current direction.

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    5. No 5d, the definition of terrorism under the criminal code is extremely detailed, and very, very specific. Harper can't just 'decide' that you're a terrorist.

      Christ, the only thing that pisses me off more than the rapid pro-Harper crowd, are the rapid Harper-haters.

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    6. 'As a new report on documents released under the Freedom of Information Act highlights, under the mandate of the Harper Administration, law enforcement and intelligence agencies are increasingly blurring the line between genuine fundamentalists and average citizens -- people whose “terrorist activities” include organising petitions, attending protests, and generally expressing dissension.

      Moreover, the report emphasises the fact that agencies such as CSEC and CSIS now view activist activities such as blocking access to roads and buildings as “forms of assault,” while media stunts like the unfurling of banners, non-violent sit-ins, and peaceful marches are now deemed “threats” or “attacks.”

      Aboriginal rights advocates, unions, anti-capital factions, countercultural institutions, alternative media outlets, and with increasing fervour, environmental organisations -- they all get lumped together under the category of “terrorists” in order justify the widespread monitoring, detaining, and at times imprisoning of Canadian citizens expressing dissent.'

      http://m.huffpost.com/ca/entry/3713975

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    7. 5f, that's all irrelevant re: stripping of citizenship. You have to be convicted of terrorism or treason in court. And if you're convicted of terrorism (specifically) in a foreign court, a Canadian judge has to determine that your action is aligned with the Canadian definition of terrorism. Until this has happened, the Minister of Immigration cannot take away your citizenship, period.

      How government agencies see these activities has little bearing on much.

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  6. The Conservatives nearly drove us into a full on depression twice. It's only due to Paul Martin doing damage control that we were saved from it.
    Let me put Harper this way. He's only a good PM if you are white and rich and benefit financially from the wholesale destruction of the environment. He hates immigrants (you, OP,) minorities, non-Christians and the poor.

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    1. Lol, what are you talking about? Paul Martin was in power after 15 years of liberal rule. The only "damage control" he did was trying to cover the biggest corruption scandal in Canadian politics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sponsorship_scandal

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    2. > He hates immigrants (you, OP,) minorities, non-Christians and the poor.

      yeaaah right, Canada is like Germany in 1933 and Harper is literally Hitler.

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    3. as someone white and rich who benefits from the destruction of the environment and oppression of native communities via cigarettes and possession of an automobile, your assessment of Harper is spot-on.

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    4. The government has less influence over the economy than you seem to think, 6.

      1) The first recession was global. The worst global recession since the second world war. It affected everyone, and there isn't a world leader out there who doesn't have a 'terrible economic record' brought on by the virtue of them being in power in/since '08.

      2) The current "technical" recession (that we might/might not even still be in) is the effect of a global economy that's again weakening. But more than that, it's the effect of the huge drop in the price of oil. Outside of the Alberta oil sector (Alberta is absolutely in recession), things are kind of alright. They aren't perfect, but most of the factors are provincial in nature (for example, job sources like factories keep leaving Ontario because of high hydro rates making it difficult to do business).

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  7. At this point, I'd probably prefer the Tories get re-elected, and I'll vote for the Conservative candidate in my riding... but if the Grits win I won't be upset about it at all, that'll be fine. It's just Trudeau I can't stand (ugh, we'll have to endure years of smug, "thinks he's inspiring when he's actually just trite" speeches if he wins...).

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  8. I'll be voting conservative for many good reasons. There are many legitimate reasons to vote for them not just hating gays, the poor, minorities, loving corporations etc. A lot people, especially college aged are far left and SJW; they don't really understand how capitalism works so they have exaggerated hate for Harper.

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    1. "they don't really understand how capitalism works so they have exaggerated hate for Harper."

      Funny, all my econ profs seem to think that Harper has no idea how economics works, and they're actual economists.

      Harper has made it harder to gather information about the economy (which economists unanimously agree is a shitty thing), hasn't necessarily made free markets any freer (zero effort put towards competition in telecom), and hasn't invested in the economy in any pragmatic or rational way (unless you count subsidizing heavy polluters).

      Promising low taxes isn't "good economic policy", the economy is so much more complicated than simply saving people a bit of money at the end of the year, it requires heavy investments, guidance, and research, all things that Harper has refused to do or has made harder to do. If you vote for him, I'd say you're the one who doesn't really understand how capitalism (or economics) works.

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  9. "So far, he seems like the only leader who doesn't want to spend hundreds of billions left and right and who is able to balance a budget"

    Spending hundreds of billions isn't necessarily a bad thing when it's spent in the right ways. At least one party leader this election has said that they would spend billions on infrastructure, which would create jobs and improve transportation. Three candidates have expressed interest in increasing funding for urban transportation projects, and one has also expressed interest in revitalizing the manufacturing sector through investments and stipends.

    Even if they have to run a deficit doing so, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. This notion that running a budget deficit is the end-all evil in government planning doesn't make any sense, considering that Canada repays its debts at about the rate that interest is generated on them. A few budget deficits in a row to revitalize the economy doesn't seem like a bad thing to me, and once the economy is back in a good place, spending can be focused on repaying debts and running surpluses to make up for lost time.

    This all seems much more integrated economic policy than simply "reducing taxes to make jobs", which fails to work more often than not. Harper's economic policy is lackluster at best, and shows signs of not really understanding how the economy works past knowing that "taxes = bad" (which itself isn't necessarily true). If you go to UW, then consider this: Harper has made research more difficult, has made science virtually impossible to do in Canada, has made it no easier being a student, and hasn't necessarily made anyone better off, except the wealthy in Canada who need the least help out of anyone.

    I would recommend you actually look and question what Harper is trying to do by cutting taxes, and if it's as comprehensive as what the other parties are offering.

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  10. He's ADDED $150 Billion to our deficit over 10 years. This is not fiscal management.

    His solution mostly is to cut cut cut from government while at the same time touting 'amazing benefits' that reach only a handful and typically benefit those who really could use the social assistance.

    http://ipolitics.ca/2015/04/19/no-matter-how-you-add-it-up-harpers-fiscal-record-is-a-catastrophe/

    Harper fights against our Supreme Court on countless things and the whole Niqab debate was HIS doing... it's called a distraction.

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    1. We went through the worst global financial crisis in nearly a century, and were in the midst of a minority government with two opposition parties that were insisting on stimulus spending. Harper did what any sane Prime Minister would do in that situation.

      Really, the miracle here is that the books are balanced and forecasting a surplus now at all.

      There's also nothing wrong with criticizing Supreme Court decisions. They exercise power over us, which should always be open to criticism.

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  11. You asked for a reason to not vote Harper, here is another one: http://induecourse.ca/open-letter-regarding-conservative-party-campaign-tactics/

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  12. There is a big difference between what Harper SAYS and what he DOES. He likes to say that he's great with the economy, but he isn't. He just repeats it over and over hoping that people will believe him.

    When he first took power, the previous Liberal government had left him with budget surpluses, and he promptly made a structural deficit by lowering the GST/HST and increasing spending. This was before the 2008 financial crisis.

    Harper says he represents Conservative values, but has a poor track record at upholding them.

    He's made government bigger, not smaller.

    He has created laws that create a surveillance society, intrusive into individual liberty.

    He supports crony capitalism, which neither people on the left nor the right like.

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    1. Politicians acting separate from their talk is a Canadian tradition. Consider every Liberal Government ever, known for running their election campaigns on the left, and then governing on the centre-right (see everything Kathleen Wynne has done for the latest example of this provincially; it's why I'm not worried if the Liberals win tomorrow).

      Good point about Harper and the GST though; it's a shame he couldn't eliminate it completely.

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