Monday, February 27, 2012

Voter Suppression and the Harper Government: What Kind of Canada Do You Want by Alex Snider

I want you to think about Bill C-30, the internet surveillance bill that will grant government agencies access to Canadians' personal online activity (including emails and browser history) completely warrant-free. 

And to think about Bill C-10, the crime bill which will increase mandatory sentences, mandate prison time for non-violent and minor offences and require new prisons.

And also Bill C-11, Canada's version of SOPA which would provide legal protection for all digital content and would prohibit things like ripping a purchased CD into iTunes. 

Think about how the conservatives voted down the NDP's efforts to change Transport Canada's rules that unfairly discriminate against Transgendered people

Think about the community of Attawapiskat that declared states of emergency in the fall, who is taking the Federal government to court of their implementation of a third party manager in the face of the crisis, a manager that the already cash-strapped community will have to pay for. And that manager was withholding funds for housing while people slept in tents, in mould-infested shacks in the North during the Canadian winter. 

This is our majority government that is putting forward these bills that infringe on our rights, that will cost us billions and devastate lives, whole communities. Our majority government that puts the needs of corporations ahead of the needs of Canadians. Our majority government that deals in hate and discrimination, that is continuing to colonize Indigenous people. 

It is a hard enough pill to swallow that the voter turnout was only 61.4% and so Harper's majority was voted in by 40% of 60% of Canadians not exactly making him the voice of Canadians that he likes to say he is. And now allegations have come to light, that the Conservative Party engaged in vote suppression using a robo-call company that they've used in the past, in the election they won their slim majority? The count is up to 36 ridings affected by these robo-calls, what would have happened if they hadn't occurred? What would our government look like?

Those are Jim Crow era tactics. As NDP MP Pat Martin put it, "How is this different from a bunch of goons with clubs blocking the door to a voter station as we’ve seen in Third World countries or the deep south of the United States? Because the net effect is the same."

What is worse is that ministers like Peter MacKay are further insulting Canadians by not only suggesting it was an isolated incident but also that the Conservative Party does not need to investigate the allegations. Don't piss on my legs and tell me it's raining, Pete. 

For all the moaning about the Liberal's sponsorship scandal, a scandal which brought down the government, the Conservatives have committed a far worse crime by cheating Canadians out of their right to vote. 

Write to your MP and demand an investigation. Sign this petition and let Harper and his goons know that as Canadians we do care about our democracy and our right to vote. This aggression will not stand, man. 

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