Never in our history has there been a national election with three parties so close in popular sentiment. Never in our history have the choices been more stark. And never in our history has it been more important to exercise the power of our franchise with intellectual rigour. That is why we take this space this week to urge you to help re-elect the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The Harper government not only led Canada through the world’s worst financial crisis since the Depression with the most stable record in the G-8, it has in the past five years alone created two million permanent new jobs and cut taxes to the middle class by over thirty billion dollars. It has brought the number of free trade agreements up from five to forty-five giving Canada access to more world markets thus assuring the growth of quality, permanent, well-paying jobs for decades to come. And through all the economic challenges of the past years, it has balanced the budget.
The opposition parties, in a breathtaking display of hypocrisy, have one major criticism of Mr. Harper’s economic stewardship – that he ran deficits for too long. The truth is that the past deficits began during the economic collapse of 2008-2009 and money was required to be pumped into the system to keep jobs in place and stimulate growth. Every central government in the industrialized world was forced to do the same. What is so incredulous about the position of the opposition parties is that for years they criticized the government for not spending more stimulus dollars that would have created larger deficits. They can’t have it both ways.
On the world stage, Canada’s position has never been stronger nor the moral legitimacy of our views more respected since the end of the Second World War. The reasons are clear. It stands with the family of free peoples. It challenges the theocratic tyrants and tinpot dictators wherever they may be. It does not practice the politics of appeasement. It does not trade fidelity to permanent principles of liberty for loyalty to the fleeting fancies of the ballot box.
Our legitimacy today has been strengthened not only because we punch above our weight militarily by shouldering our share of the burdens in the coalitions of the free — as our parents’ and grandparents’ generations did when Canada had the highest percentage of men and women in uniform in both World Wars than any allied country — but because we punch above our weight morally in our engagements with other nations because they know we will not let our principles be corroded just to get along. Whether in its unshakeable support of Israel – the frontline nation in the west’s war against jihadist Islamism that we have been the victims of here at home – or closing down Iran’s embassy in Ottawa and pulling our diplomats out of Tehran, the Harper government has demonstrated the character and conscience that the world’s enslaved peoples and vulnerable democracies have thirsted for.
In contrast again, the hypocrisy of those in opposition today is odious in its scope. We would mention only one example. The Syrian refugee crisis debate. The leaders of the NDP and the Liberals were the very ones who rejected this government’s denunciation of, and sanctions against, the Assad regime and the sending of fighter jets to bomb ISIS, and now they have the temerity to blame this administration for not doing enough on the refugee crisis caused by the very two enemies this government has fought while the opposition advocated effective neutrality. Mr.Mulcair and Mr. Trudeau can’t have it both ways as they have tried on the economic issues. They own the bankruptcy of their policies and the cowardice of their purpose.
The Harper administration has also implemented important initiatives on the social agenda. Despite the misleading rhetoric of the opposition, it is actually restoring funding on health care to record levels to give Quebec all the financial assets to fix the problems in our provincial system. It appointed a commission on non-francophone rights in Quebec co-chaired by Quebec Sen. Andrée Champagne which boldly stated that the civil rights of non-francophones in Quebec were being abused. The Harper administration’s Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser has been just as forthright in his public comments on English rights. Finally, this government has eliminated the infamous sec.13 of our federal Human Rights Commission legislation that allowed Islamists and other extremists to attempt to stifle legitimate criticism and commentary.
What does the opposition offer? One thing we will say about Mr. Mulcair, he has at least been open about his policies. He has said no to any of the three energy pipelines, yes to increased taxes, and yes to extending Bill 101 to areas of federal jurisdiction such as banks as well as standing behind his party’s Sherbrooke Declaration that 50 plus 1 will be sufficient for Quebec separation.
As for Mr. Trudeau, he is clearly a strong voice for federalism. Apart from that, all we can say is that in the latter part of the campaign he has reigned in his capacity for gaffes and read his lines – which were more rhetoric than substantive – as a good actor should. But the man who said, “Budgets balance themselves” – “If Canadians continue to vote for Mr. Harper I would consider being a separatist” – “As much as we should condemn the Boston terror bombers we need to understand their motives,” to cite a few out of dozens, is not someone to be trusted with the stewardship of this nation.
The choice has rarely been clearer. The issues rarely more vital. We hope we have made it clear why on October 19th you should vote to continue the administration of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.