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Op-Ed: Stephen Harper — Another ‘big government’ Canadian conservative

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is hanging on to dear life in this year’s election. As the polls seem to indicate the country will finally see a change after close to a decade with a Conservative Party government, it’s important to look back at the record of Harper.

Simply put: he has been just another big government conservative.

The Growth of Government Under Harper

Despite lambasting government and claiming that Canadians want and need small government, his record shows that he has actually increased the size of the public sector. The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) reported in 2013 that the federal bureaucracy grew significantly.

Let’s take a gander at what areas of government swelled between 2006 and 2012:

– Welfare program employees ballooned 43 percent.

– Financial management staff rose 35 percent.

– Administrative services jumped 20 percent.

– Information services employees were up 15.3 percent.

– Canadian Border Services Agency soared 54.3 percent.

– RCMP civilian staff force increased 40 percent.

The list goes on and on and on.

What about his fiscal record? Abysmal, and that’s an understatement! Since he has come into office, he has run six consecutive budget deficits: deficit of $5.8 billion in 2008-09, $55.6 billion in 2009-10; $33.4 billion in 2010-11; $26.3 billion in 2011-12; $18.4 billion for 2012-13; and $5.2 billion for 2013-14. It’s likely there’ll be a budget shortfall of $1 billion for 2014-2015.

Tory supporters will often claim that it’s because of the economic collapse that the federal government had to run a budget deficit. Indeed, this is the basis of Keynesian economics, a failed ideology that conservatives in Canada seem to support, even if it contradicts everything they say.

If this is the excuse then why would these same supporters chastise the Ontario Liberal government for following the same policy? Budget deficits are a bad idea and it fails in the end, no matter if it’s a conservative or a liberal running them.

Our Government’s Support of Bill C-51

Harper’s adulation of government doesn’t end there. How can anyone forget Bill C-51? A bill that sacrifices liberty to provide us with the illusion of security and protection.

Before we get into the delightful legislation, let’s look at the language put forward by our Public Safety Minister Steve Blaney who echoed the sentiment of Western leaders everywhere:

“The international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and our allies,” Blaney told the House of Commons on Feb. 18. “As we have seen, terrorists are targeting Canadians simply because they despise our society and the values it represents.”

Ah, yes. The old false idea that terrorists hate us because we’re rich and free. They don’t detest us because we’re over there bombing them on a regular basis and interfering in their own domestic affairs.

For those who haven’t been following the unfolding of Bill C-51, the bill limits freedom of expression; creates a secret police under the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS); shares citizen information across federal departments, CSIS and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); and provides very little oversight when it comes to spying on citizens.

Big Brother is watching you. Never mind that. Stephen Harper, or Justin Trudeau, who voted for the bill, is watching you. To give NDP leader Thomas Mulcair credit, he pledged to repeal the legislation if elected. So he won’t be watching you after the election.

But who can ever believe a politician anyway?

Final Thoughts

In 2006, Harper told the National Post (via Canada 1867) quite the fib: “I’m very libertarian in the sense that I believe in small government.” Nope. He has been quite the liberal in the sense he loves government interference in any aspect of our lives, whether it’s civil or economics, and doesn’t abide by fiscal prudence.

From British Columbia to Prince Edward Island, conservatives are dangerous, even more so than the grits or New Democrats.

We know the left will take our money and blow it on bureaucracy, welfare, warfare and expenses. The right, however, will tell you in the eye they want limited government while at the same time taking money from your pocket and handing it off to more bureaucrats. Don’t trust a conservative politician. Well, don’t trust any politician!

And with this information, Ontario Liberals should cast a vote for Harper’s Conservative candidates on Oct. 19. Why not? The prime minister’s record is quite similar to that of Ontario Premiers Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne: big government, more public sector employees, scandals, criminal investigations, budget deficits and government overreach.

If they gave the Ontario Grits a majority after all of this, then why not Harper’s Tories, too?

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