I try to stay non-partisan. I have voted for many different parties in the past, and now that I have zeroed in on “the environment” as the main issue I vote around, I am pretty confident that any party can take a leadership role on that topic (although none of them choose to talk about it this election). Generally, I vote for the best local candidate, and that is how I am going to vote this year. I feel pretty good about my vote this year, having had the chance to chat with all 4 of my local “main party” candidates last week. So this vote is a character vote, not a party vote.
That said, I have nothing against my local Conservative candidate. She works hard in her community and has some “envrionmental cred”, but I am going to be voting against her party for one simple reason: Stephen Harper is a dick.
I try to run a family program here, but the word “dick” just describes Harper so perfectly, I can’t think of a less profane way to encapsulate his personality. His history is defined by a long serious of serious dick moves, and he pretty much owns 100% of the dick moves this election campaign.
His latest dick move was standing up yesterday and talking up his unqualified support for profiteering from third world deaths.
Background: The sale of asbestos is illegal in Canada, as it is in most of Europe, Japan, and the rest of the industrialized world. In the US it is not strictly illegal due to strong industry throttling of the EPA, but it is effectively impossible to use, as the costs related to safety and clean-up have priced asbestos out of the market compared to safer alternatives. This is because asbestos causes cancer and other deadly diseases. Of course, in developing countries, they don’t have the governance levels required to institute strict controls on asbestos use. Therefore, in much of the world, Canadian asbestos is used in the same way now as it was in North America 50 years ago, with the same resultant cancer deaths.
Selling a known cancer-causing agent to countries that cannot effectively regulate their use is not illegal, it is just deeply, deeply unethical. Especially as Canada itself will not allow its use because of the unacceptable human health impact. Yet Canada is in the exclusive company of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe and Columbia as the last countries that mine and sell asbestos.
Why? Well, he is interested in protecting jobs! However, the few remaining asbestos mines in Canada are all in Quebec, and employ less than 1000 people. To put that in perspective, that is about 5% of the total mining employment in Quebec, and way less than 1% of the mining employment in Canada. Ten times as many people work for the City of Vancouver than work in all the asbestos mines in Canada combined. These few mines operate only due to government subsidies, and create markets in the poorer parts of the world through a government-funded marketing and PR firm. Standing up for this losing industry that kills more people annually than it employs is a big-time dick move.
Another campaign example of a dick move is to continue to assert that his
pet jet planes are going to cost $75 million each. This despite the guys selling the planes saying that is not true; industry experts from Washington saying it is not true; his own Department of Defence saying it is not true; his own Parlimentary Budget Office saying it is not true. What do any of these guys know? Steve is sticking to his story. What a dick.
There was even a loca ldick move last week. Apparently, The right honrourable dick was going to meet the press and give a few words here in New Westminster. The press and supporters were told to expect him some time around noon on Easter Sunday, at Royal Square. A few people I know well showed up, hoping to spy the PM. However, only invited guests and press were loaded on to a bus, with a driver who apparently didn’t know (or couldn’t say) where he was going. At noon, they drove over to the Burnaby Alliance Church, and arrived just in time to see (and film, for the afternoon broadcast) the dick walk out of a church and into his motorcade. No press conference, no interaction with the public. Compare this to Ignatieff’s visit to West Vancouver last week, a public stop at a small business, an open-to-the-public town hall, addressing questions from people off the street. Or compare it to the time last year that Jack came into the Brooklyn on Columbia and shook every hand in the room, with Fin Donnelly the only “security” around. These are not dick moves.
Firing his “Integrity Commissioner” and paying her to shut her up? Firing the Nuclear Safety Regulator for not agreeing to approve the unsafe operation of a nuclear reactor? Giving a speech to his American pals describing Canada as a “Northern European Welfare State in the worst sense of the term”? All dick moves.
How about throwing Helena Guergis under the bus? Keeping mum for more than a year about shadowy “allegations” that made her too hot to keep around caucus, and eventually lead to her being turfed. Then when she is running in a tight election race as a Independent, Harper releases a bunch of salacious allegations, painting her as a drug addicted whore, then saying in effect “well, we have no proof, but boy, look at them allegations!”. This is eerily similar to the “ancient and honourable story” Hunter S. Thompson told about how Lyndon Johnson first got elected to Congress in 1948:
“…Lyndon was running about 10 points behind, with only nine days to go… He was sunk in despair. He was desperate. And it was just before noon on a Monday, they say, when he called his equally depressed campaign manager and instructed him to call a press conference at two or two-thirty (just after lunch on a slow news day) and accuse his high-riding opponent (the [wealthy and politically favoured] pig farmer) of having routine carnal knowledge of his barnyard sows, despite the pleas of his wife and children… His campaign manager was shocked. ‘We can’t say that, Lyndon,’ he said. ‘It’s not true.’ ‘Of course it’s not,’ Johnson barked at him, ‘but let’s make the bastard deny it.’
That is the type and scale of dick Stephen Harper is.