A New York Times op ed this past weekend, offers a sobering overview of the Harper government’s near decade reign in Canada. The end of the late, great, secular boom in commodities has left Canada with the opportunity to evolve our economy or suffer the consequences. The defining questions for democracy everywhere today, no matter what government gets elected this fall, is how do we, the people, like our countries? What are we each, personally, prepared to do in furtherance of that vision? See, The closing of the Canadian mind:
Americans have traditionally looked to Canada as a liberal haven, with gun control, universal health care and good public education.
But the nine and half years of Mr. Harper’s tenure have seen the slow-motion erosion of that reputation for open, responsible government. His stance has been a know-nothing conservatism, applied broadly and effectively. He has consistently limited the capacity of the public to understand what its government is doing, cloaking himself and his Conservative Party in an entitled secrecy, and the country in ignorance.
…In 2012, he tried to defund government research centers in the High Arctic, and placed Canadian environmental scientists under gag orders. That year, National Research Council members were barred from discussing their work on snowfall with the media. Scientists for the governmental agency Environment Canada, under threat of losing their jobs, have been banned from discussing their research without political approval. Mentions of federal climate change research in the Canadian press have dropped 80 percent. The union that represents federal scientists and other professionals has, for the first time in its history, abandoned neutrality to campaign against Mr. Harper.
…The major foreign policy goal of his tenure was the Keystone Pipeline, which Mr. Harper ultimately failed to deliver. The Canadian dollar has returned to the low levels that once earned it the title of the northern peso. Despite being left in a luxurious position of strength after the global recession, he coasted on what he knew: oil.”