The evidence is clear. Even though you may dismiss some of it, the dictatorial and dismissive way in which Stephen Harper regards those he is supposedly serving is unprecedented in modern Canadian democracy. Along with this go many decisions and practices that treat people, the legal system and the parliamentary system with disdain and even contempt.
Kathleen Ohara in Rabble.ca gives us Ten reasons to oppose the Harper candidate in your riding
Here are a few of her examples:
• To raise funds, the Tories promoted the HST, which moves the tax burden from corporations to consumers, increasing the cost of essentials like food and heat. The Ontario government has admitted that this will cost citizens at least $500 a year per family.
• Harper and Company earned a reputation for heavy-handed stonewalling during the UN Climate Change negotiations in Copenhagen. In Cancun, they lobbied against an extension of the Kyoto Accord - which they have continued to ignore in spite of the 2010 weather horrors, estimated to cost $220 billion globally.
• More stonewalling and what some saw as "contempt of Parliament" led to an extraordinary ruling by Speaker Peter Milliken, condemning the government for a breach of parliamentary privilege because it refused to release uncensored documents. Thanks to Harper's manoeuvres, however, the torture issue is now lost in the complexities of an ad hoc parliamentary committee.
• Crime rates are down and the population is ageing, but the Harper government claims it must introduce tougher laws, incarcerate more Canadians, and spend $9 billion for more prisons - some of them American-style super-prisons - because of an increase in "unreported" crime.
• A new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives think-tank says that harsher prison conditions, longer sentences, and more crowded prisons will increase the chance that criminals will re-offend. Already, prisoners have to wait too long for rehabilitation programs and are being crowded into cells, contrary to United Nations standards.
• Harper has helped stop the UN from declaring asbestos a dangerous substance, and still promotes exports to poorer countries.
• Harper abandoned our internationally praised development partnership with eight of the poorest countries in Africa. Instead, he is focussing on Colombia - a militarized, right-wing country with government death squads.
• Prime Minister Harper campaigned on accountability and transparency. The Information Commissioner has found the Harper government the most secretive ever when it comes to Access to Information requests; one senior government aide was caught interfering with the process.
• There is an atmosphere of "trench warfare" and "disdain" as the government refuses to co-operate with parliamentary committees. Staff members, who should be accountable to the public, are no longer allowed to testify before them.
• Contrary to his position as an opponent of the unelected Senate, Harper used his new majority to recently stop a climate change bill passed by the elected majority in the House of Commons.
• Elections Canada is battling with a few former Tory candidates; police have raided their offices, over what are considered systematic attempts to hide national campaign expenses during the 2006 election.
How long will we voters take this "beating"? Will enough of us break the spell and leave this abusive leader? Or will we continue to rationalize his behaviour and put up with the abuse?
Watch his behaviour through this perspective and you will see how much of his "leadership" is based on fear, including inciting fear of the alternatives to his rule.
The opportunity is getting closer: an election and the ballot box could be the opportunity to elect a party with social vision and respect for our democracy.