These days I find I have little desire to think, let alone write, about the Harper regime. Despite the fact that we lived so long under its oppressive and toxic shadow, I prefer these days to think about future possibilities. However, the current 'introspection' the defeated party is undergoing merits some attention; it is a process that seems doomed to failure as revisionism about its sordid and dark record is rampant. Stoutly declaring that they got the 'big things' right, Conservative stalwarts seem doomed to a fruitless rebirth that will, at best, be cosmetic, at least until they are willing to confront some unpleasant truths, something I frankly doubt they are capable of.
In today's Star, Carol Gore offers them a framework for renewal that I doubt their hubris will allow them to entertain.
Since the Conservative were ousted on Oct. 19, former cabinet minister Jason Kenney has told anyone who will listen: “We got the big things right. We got the tone wrong.”Their 'sins were many; here are but a few of them:
But the 47-year-old leadership aspirant is deluding himself if he thinks his party’s problems are only skin deep. The reason the Conservatives lost power is that Canadians no longer wanted a government obsessed with security, fiscal austerity and big oil. Harper’s relentless negativity only reinforced that.
Their Fiscal Record:
They spent the $13.8-billion surplus they inherited within two years, leaving Ottawa with no economic cushion when the 2008 recession hit.Their Job-Creation Record:
On their watch, the national debt grew by $176.4 billion. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of Canada’s accumulated debt was amassed since 2008.
Year after year, they brought down budgets that promised to increase employment and prosperity. When they took power in 2006, the unemployment rate stood at 6.4 per cent. When they lost power, it was 7 per cent.Add to that the fact that many of the jobs are precarious and part-time, forcing more people into poverty.
Their Record On Political Accountability:
They shut off access to government documents, silenced public officials, denigrated or drove out parliamentary watchdogs, rolled dozens of legislative changes into book-length omnibus bills and refused to let opposition MPs examine their expenditures.Their Record ON Advancing Canadian Values On The World Stage:
Jason Kenney was front and centre on many of these issues. He was the minister who banned niqabs at citizenship ceremonies; who opened the floodgates to a massive influx of foreign temporary workers; who insisted Canada had a great “skills gap” (based on a misreading of Kijiji’s jobs vacancy data); who boasted about defunding charities that criticized Israel; and who blasted a United Nations official for revealing that nearly 900,000 Canadians used food banks every month.Carol Goar lists additional examples of how the Conservatives squandered their power during their reign, but I think you get the picture. It is one, I suspect, that will be forever beyond the grasp of a party that seems to prefer sweet lies to bitter truths, thereby likely dooming them to wander the political wilderness well into the future.