Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Harry Smith Has Stephen Harper In His Sights

Harry Smith is a man on a mission, one that should put disengaged Canadians to shame.

The 92-year-old long-time activist, who splits his time between Canada and England, is ashamed of what has happened under the rule of Stephen Harper, and plans to make a difference as soon as he returns from the United Kingdom, where he is currently on an extensive speaking tour for Britain's Labour Party, which asked him to be a spokesman in the campaign for the May 7 election.

Smith has become a sensation
for his opinion pieces and memoir Harry's Last Stand, in which he draws parallels between his brutal childhood in the U.K. and where the western world is headed today as government austerity grips many of its countries.
Those experiences, and his memory of what Canada was like in the 1950's when he came here with his family to pursue a better life, have informed a life of activism which now takes the form of opposing austerity and corporate greed.

Here is a brief sample of Smith's early years in Britain in a moving speech he gave last year:

When the British election is over, he plans to replicate his tour in Canada,
in a ''full-tilt'' effort on his part to help oust Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

''He is really, to me, the worst prime minister that ever existed,'' Smith said over the phone from Manchester, pausing for a drink of water. ''Since Harper has come into power, everything has gone downhill. He has one consideration, and that is to let the rich get richer and the poor fend for themselves.''

Smith said the ''epidemic'' of child poverty in Toronto, government service cutbacks, and tax loopholes used by corporations are some of the most concerning threats facing the country today.
The Canada he sees today presents
a stark difference from when he first arrived in Ontario in the 1950s to start anew after serving in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

''I've seen this province and the rest of the western world slip back to a society that reminds me of my boyhood,'' Smith said. ''Today is starting to have that same edge -- the same cruelty, the same divisions between those that have, and those that have not, that polarized the 1920s.''
When he arrived here, he saw a country offering people real opportunities for establishing themselves, a country where
none of his friends or neighbours had a problem with paying taxes. Most of them, having grown up in the Depression, thought services paid for by taxes were what made the country a safe and good place to live.
That has all changed now,
as corporations and politicians robbed the public of its social safety net, he said.
With that has come a loss of faith in our political institutions.
Smith said he will tour the country in the run-up to the Canadian election, delivering speeches aimed at youth about the perils of austerity and attacks on government services.

He said young people in Canada need to realize their futures are at risk if they don't oust Harper and vote in someone with ''compassion'' who cares about them.
Smith has an especially sharp warning for the young, disengaged among us:
[Y]oung Canadians must be warned their inaction risks the return to an uncivilized, brutish reality -- one festering with poverty and indifference to those drowning in it.
Harry Smith will be returning to Canada soon and
he said he's ''looking forward to seeing the back of that monster,'' Harper.
I, and millions of other Canadians, wish him every success in his campaign.


  1. "A cold breath on a warm candle's flame." That's what the Harper years have been, Lorne.

    1. A most apt metaphor, Owen! Thank you.

  2. You'd think that, at this stage, Harper would be thinking about his legacy. Just as Obama is doing down south. Even Harper must care if the history books were to describe the last ten years as the most autocratic, contemptuous, and ethically corrupt government this country has had. But perhaps he thinks he can ghost-write the history books too, just as he apparently had ghost-written his hockey book. :)

    1. History is written by the victors, Anon. Perhaps Harper's hubris is such that he thinks he and his ilk will forever prevail.

    2. Anon:

      The problem is what he is doing is what he wants his legacy to be, he is acting exactly as he warned us all he would in the 90s and early 2000s. This is the Harper agenda, this is what he wants to be known for, and he doesn't care about the opinions of those lefty academics who will call him nasty names so long as he succeeds in his mission to destroy the progressive infrastructure and nature of both the Canadian government and wider society. This was exactly what people like me were warning of over a decade ago, and how anyone can at this late date not understand what his true interests and agenda are, and therefore what kind of legacy matters to him, well I don't know.

    3. He is already known for hiding in the closet when the bullets started flying, despite his constant tough talk against ISIS and Putin. That alone was quite an "achievement", not, especially when PET had sat down and stared at the bottle and rock throwers on that St John Baptiste Day parade instead of running away.

      But then, Cons friendlies like John Ivison, or the other John, Ibbitson, may call that Harper's Churchillian moment. You know, "He who fights and runs away ..... etc.". Except of course he hadn't quite started to fight yet when he made for the closet, had he? lol