Friday, July 27, 2012

The Harper Attack On Canadian Values

As I have written elsewhere in this blog, for various reasons I have never believed that democratically elected governments are necessarily a reflection of the values or the will of the electorate. I have also written of my strong belief that governments do, however, have a potentially huge impact on the national ethos. By their policies, rhetoric and treatment of opposing ideas, governments can and I suspect do frequently deform the souls of nations.

The eloquent lead letter in today's print edition of The Star reminds us all of how far Harper Inc. has taken us down a road that darkly deviates from the things that our country has traditionally held dear:

Supposedly, our federal government acts in the best interests of citizens. Ample evidence proves otherwise. On matters of immigration, human rights and justice, they not only break faith, but act with an unbelievable lack of humanity and compassion.

When the Supreme Court decreed that Omar Khadr’s rights had been violated, that young man still agreed to plead guilty and face a longer sentence in order to return to Canada. The United States expected Canada to act immediately; the government has still stalled.

Only after extreme pressure from citizens has the government lived up to its obligation to give shelter to Afghan interpreter Sayed Shah Sharifi, even though his aid to Canadians was verified by the military and foreign correspondents. He has been told that he has a seat reserved on a flight to Canada on July 28. Again, the government moved with extreme reluctance.

In an unbelievably petty and cruel bureaucratic ruling, a Canadian woman who has lived here since the age of 4 and has taught generations of Canadian schoolchildren, is being denied Old Age Security because she could not supply landing papers showing the date that she arrived here from England. What absolute nonsense.

At one time, Canada had visitors from abroad to learn about our increasingly progressive prison system under Commissioner Ole Ingstrup. Sadly, we have regressed and are now considered below UN standards.

When Public Safety Minister Vic Toews passes on to the next world, I fervently pray that he is placed in a “perfectly appropriate” double-bunk situation for a minimum of one year. It will be too late to help current prisoners, but it is a sentence that I feel the minister deserves.

I resent intensely this government that to me represents ever more frequently a betrayal of Canadian values and that persists in diminishing the Canada that I love. When the next election rolls around, my vote will be ABC.

Shirley Bush, Toronto

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