I’ve made a terrible (oilsands) mistake
Now that oil has plummeted, Harper’s excitement about developing toxic, expensive tar-sands bitumen is starting to have a crazed “washed-up reality TV star” look. A study suggested 33-39% of manufacturing employment loss was due to the Alberta oilsands fiasco. (Harper’s regime condemned and discredited the study…despite being the people who commissioned it.)
Alberta is now the province with the highest rate of working poor in Canada (people who have jobs, but still live below the poverty line). Food-bank use in Alberta has shot up to twice the national average. Worst of all, we no longer have any real-world justification for dressing up like old-timey prospectors mining for liquid gold. (Bad news, Toronto west-end hipsters.)
Unhealthy crush on China
Harper’s regime ratified the very hush-hush Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPA). Under the terms of the deal, China can sue Canada if our laws damage their profits. And this deal is non-negotiable…for 30 years.
Now, to be clear, we have all done something stupid to please a crush. But there’s a difference between gracing the amateur stripper pole at a Montreal bar as your object of affection drunkenly throws toonies at your face, and giving another nation-state three decades of interfering in your business.
Robin Hood but kind of the opposite
Harper’s economic “recovery” has turned out kind of lopsided, like that one breast that’s always sort of smaller and lower than the other one. Over 321,000 Canadians lost their jobs in 2008, and Canadians’ average wages fell. Meanwhile, Canada’s 100 wealthiest persons became richer, reaching an average net worth of about $2 billion each, up almost 25% from 2008.
That fake lake
At the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto, Harper spent $1.9 million building a pavilion for his artificial lake — a move we, frankly, applaud. With all the real Canadian nature out there, fake Canadian nature has been outrageously neglected. For every Great Lake featured on a postcard, thousands of above-ground swimming pools go ignored. For every soaring pine tree depicted by iconic Canadian painters, millions of plastic bonsai trees in nationwide H&R Block offices grow another layer of dust. Why should their organic compatriots get all the glory?
(Harper also splurged nearly $1 billion on security for the 3-day event.)
The Harper regime paid over $180,000 last year to run the office of a hard-working, dedicated employee who investigates human rights and environmental abuses by the Canadian mining industry. Now, some people will say it was a waste of money, given that this hard-working, dedicated employee doesn’t exist. But we have our own theory: a ghost counsellor, mournfully investigating cases, shuffling paperwork, turning transparently in his swivel chair, doing the best he can, just a regular Joe. But dead.
The Ramen Noodle Economy
Since 2008, youth unemployment in Canada has been a dismal 13%. If you include underemployment (technically working, but still stealing toilet paper out of restaurant bathrooms) it’s closer to 30%. And even if you’re lucky enough to have a decent job showing people better paid than you how to use Microsoft Word, you’re still likely sinking your paycheques into huge student debt.
Charging Canadians For Televised Selfies
The Harper government has spent over $135 million tax dollars to “inform” Canadians of their Economic Action Plan. For that amount of money, they could have made an entire action movie in which Jean Claude Van Damme has to locate “The Recessionatrix” before it destroys the planet and slows economic growth.
At least that would have been entertaining, in a Troll 2 kind of way. But instead, here’s what we got for our money:
Watching that makes you a more informed citizen about as much as eating at Long John Silver’s makes you a qualified sea captain.