Harper and his Conservative government seem to think all Canadians are stupid, and see it as an opportunity.

Once again they are irresponsibly rushing a piece of broken legislation through parliament and think that by slapping an appealing name on it, that Canadians aren’t intelligent enough to see what’s happening.

We’ve seen it time and time again with items like these:

  • 
The “Safe Streets and Communities Act” (that contains measures that arguably make our streets and communities less safe and at great cost)
  • The “Copyright Modernization Act” (which contained measures that make modern innovation difficult and criminalizes common usage of media owned by consumers)
  • 

The “Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act” (which had absolutely nothing to do with children or predators and everything to do with the reckless expansion of surveillance without accountability)

…and now…

  • The “Fair Elections Act” (which contains measures that reduce oversight on elections, reduce voter turnout and suppress voters of certain demographics who may be “coincidentally” unlikely to vote Conservative).

Being in politics means you have an idea to sell and that you have to market it in the best light, but this is beyond insulting.

Not only are we all capable of reading proposed legislation and seeing how it’s flawed, each of these pieces of legislation contain some things we actually do want. Rather than working with opposition parties and critics to pass the things that are helpful, they would rather force an “all-or-nothing” attitude, seize political opportunity and accuse those who are not supportive of being the bad guys.

At this point, I don’t really expect much respect from a party that has repeatedly ignored science, evidence, the wishes of most of the population, and the rules and principles of the democratic process itself.

Like many Canadians, I’m blown away by the things the Conservative party seems to be able to do in broad daylight without repercussion. They have become a parody of themselves.

The only question I have left for the Harper Conservatives now is this: Why stop there?

You seem to enjoy misleading Canadians without batting an eye. Clearly you could get away with so much more.

Here’s a couple suggestions:

  • The Keep Wages In Your Pocket Act”: Require an immediate 90% tax on all incomes earned in Canada, the proceeds of which are deposited evenly across the personal bank accounts of Conservative Party cabinet ministers and MPs
  • 

“The Protecting Children From Abduction Act”: Require that every second child born to a family is taken by government officials and forced to work for their meals, manufacturing “Economic Action Plan” marketing materials
  • The Safer Streets and Highways Act”: Remove all industrial regulation across the country and order two tonnes of caviar for your cabinet every year. (Let’s make sure to limit debate on this one, how dare opposition parties stand in the way of making our highways safer?)
  • 

“The Protect Canada From Political Tyrants Act”: Simply legislate everything you’ve been doing since taking office into law.

Then again, maybe you could just call bills what they are. You’re not interested in debating them anyway.

-A

Musician, designer, developer, social media nerd, amateur writer + designer of games, tea drinker (recently turned coffee snob), comedy addict, reluctant activist/gov't policy nut. Sometimes the locals call me "Adam from the internet."

  • G. James

    Yes, the Harper government does like double-speak. You are doing well exposing the misleading Harper narrative. Please do continue to disseminate.

    • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

      Thanks. It’s just the tip of the iceburg. Canadians deserve better, and know better and I think that a lot of folks are starting to realize what is happening… even long-time conservatives. They are not all happy.

      • G. James

        Oh, I know the corruption of the Cons is deep and disturbing. Sincerely, they should be charged and tried for treason. Harper and his “conservatives” are not in the business of serving the interests of Canadians but in the business of serving the interests of the global corporate and financial, wealthy elites. With the conservatives, the front-line is everywhere and in every one of their policies. This is no conspiracy theory; it is really happening. Take care and best wishes.

  • Steve

    Hi Adam
    I was writing a comment to you on the Observer.. I saw someone thumb you down..and then, right when when I hit enter, it said I couldn’t comment as there was no post to comment to. I think I know what is happening…I think someone is flagging your posts as inappropriate, making them disappear to be moderated.. you can still see it says 2 posts while only showing one of them. The farmer internet comment.

    Feel free to delete this after you read it.

    • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

      Thanks, this happens constantly… the platform is a double-edged sword and people abuse it.
      I don’t expect otherwise but that’s what you get when there is nobody working there fulltime dealing with the online community. (hence this blog-in-progress, a place to get thoughts out and have conversation without being abusively silenced)

      I’ll leave this for a bit but feel free to reach me on Twitter or look me up elsewhere for more private conversation if you wish.

  • http://www.kikkiplanet.com Kikki Planet

    Adam, this is a fabulous piece. I look forward to reading more of your posts. This one had me saying “exactly right” out loud, then chuckling along at the end.

    Well done, my friend. Well done, indeed.

    • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

      Thank you 🙂

  • Lucas McCann

    Ok, so, now what?
    We know its happening, what are your suggestions?

    • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

      Sadly, these false premises have a nasty habit of hijacking the public
      narrative. People who are too busy tending to their kids and their jobs
      who don’t have time to conduct fact-checking as a part time hobby and so
      forth are often quick to believe what they’re told or be entirely
      disillusioned to the point where they don’t care what happens to them.

      The (in)famous Vic Toews’ “either stand with us or the child pornographers” zinger about the lawful access bills was a perfectly concentrated example of the kind of thing that just cannot be tolerated anymore.

      “What are your suggestions?” is a
      tall question, as you might as well be asking me to tell you exactly
      how to fix the entire universe without error. There’s much work to be done but I think a good starting
      point in a grassroots sense is simply not allowing blatant lies and falsehoods to be accepted. I speak to friends and family and show them the truth when they latch onto these things, or at least convince them to challenge the easy “truth” being peddled at them, to test it.

      I don’t have unlimited time but if you’ll humour me, I hope to slowly write about “suggestions” throughout the year.

      • Chris Jessen

        You have posted absolutely no evidence to back up any of the numerous claims you make in this article.

        • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

          You are incorrect. All of it is a matter of public record. All legislation talked about is not only readily available online, much of it has been dissected by countless groups and individuals across the whole political spectrum. If you disagree with something I’ve said, I invite you to explain your different perspective and teach me something. Otherwise, I’ll leave it to your ability to read the legislation and the widely publicized criticism or support of various elements of it.

          • Chris Jessen

            How am I incorrect? you make absolutely no sense. I said that your article provides absolutely no evidence to back up your claims. It doesn’t. You even admit to this by saying that it is all “public record” and that I have to go find it for myself. If there is so much evidence to prove your claims that I could easily find myself, then why have you not included even a single point in your article? How about instead of nattering on about how it’s out there, why not start providing the evidence? too lazy?

          • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

            If someone says something about the earth not being flat on the path to making a greater point, do you tell them to prove it to you?

            Nothing I’ve said here is new or grand revelation, it’s just a different way of rehashing a few otherwise typically unconnected topics of conversation that have been written about during the past couple years.

            What would you like me to do, find you URLs to each piece of legislation and annotate them all for you? If you’re unfamiliar with these items and you generally want this, I wish I could oblige but I haven’t the time and it’s been done by others already.

          • Chris Jessen

            “If someone says something about the earth not being flat on the path to making a greater point, do you tell them to prove it to you?”

            Irrelevant and a poor analogy.The shape of the Earth is not a matter of opinion. The points you make in this article are opinion and with no reasoning in sight.

            For instance:

            
The “Safe Streets and Communities Act” (that contains measures
            that arguably make our streets and communities less safe and at great cost)

            Alright, if they “arguably” make our streets less safe and at “great cost”, how about actually make the argument?

            The “Copyright Modernization Act” (which contained measures that make modern innovation difficult and criminalizes common usage of media owned by consumers)

            Again, in what ways does it make modern innovation difficult? you
            have provided no insight on this matter.

            

The “Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act” (which
            had absolutely nothing to do with children or predators and everything to do
            with the reckless expansion of surveillance without accountability)

            Not seeing any specific examples here. Just a claim with no evidence, as usual.

            The “Fair Elections Act” (which contains measures that reduce oversight on elections, reduce voter turnout and suppress voters of certain demographics who may be “coincidentally” unlikely to vote Conservative).

            Care to cite any exact provisions of the legislation and provide
            an analysis of why the result you proposed is accurate?

            Finally, to put the onus on me to do the research behind YOUR arguments is lazy and ridiculous.

          • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

            If this is your first time hearing these assertions, I apologize for being presumptuous. These are all things that have been talked about extensively over the last couple years in the mainstream media and beyond. In the future I’ll at least try to link to a few background pieces for people to catch up if they’re unfamiliar. This was originally written as a letter to my local paper though with a word limit and figured that folks would be capable of finding what they needed to. The idea of the misnomer and looking beyond cheap titles and talking points is what was important, not the (perfectly valid) examples.

            The “flat earth” analogy was relevant because it’s all fairly common knowledge among a lot of folks… this wasn’t a post where I was proposing these ideas for the first time. If this is the first you heard the earth wasn’t flat, for example, I’d probably also tell you to use your search engine skills rather than including a scientific paper on it in the comments.

          • Chris Jessen

            Yawn. You keep reverting to excuses and irrelevant points.

            What does my familiarity with your claims have to do with the complete lack of evidence that you have supplied to support them? the fact remains that you have done nothing to make a case for any of the points you make. The only thing you have done is make excuses.

            If these topics have been covered so extensively in the past, why are you having such difficulty providing even a single piece of evidence that supports any of the claims you made? You keep reverting to this line of “yeah well people talked about it the past” okay? well, what did they say? why should I believe it? who said it? are they credible?

            You have time to reply to me yet you don’t have the time to find a single quotation from someone with even the smallest bit of credibility? you have time to reply to me yet you can’t find a single line from the legislation you mention that illustrates your point? it seems to me that you are unable to do so.

            And seriously, what is with you and insisting that it is my responsibility to do YOUR RESEARCH FOR YOU? That’s like me writing a paper on politics and telling my professor: “yeah, so I made all these arguments and provided no evidence because it is as common knowledge as the shape of the earth. If you have any doubts just google it.”

            How do you expect anyone to take your writing seriously when it is of grade 10 caliber? was the article just a joke or something?

          • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

            “You have time to reply to me yet you don’t have the time …”
            It took all of 30 seconds to type responses in a comment box. To “Google” a bunch of resources for you and explain them would have taken more.

            The things you’re taking issue with weren’t the primary argument of the piece. If you’ve never heard/seen these things before, I’m not suggesting that just talking about them in the manner I did validates them as truth for you… of course they’d need to be substantiated. This was, at worst, written for people who already know these things.

            I did take a couple minutes to just grab a couple of quick explanations from other folks for you, but I’m not sure they will satisfy you. It isn’t my intent to argue these items into the ground as they already have been, both in the House of Commons and by countless others in the public but if it serves you as a starting point to understand why many people were calling for amendments to these pieces of legislation, then perhaps it’s not a waste of time for either of us.

            You’ll also note that the idea there were good components of these pieces of legislation was a part of my argument – the idea that if embracing proper parliamentary process and allowing agreeable movement forward on these things would have been valuable. Instead, the Conservatives were insistent on “you can have the cake but you have to also eat the crap sandwich, or you get no cake.”

            Anyways, here’s a couple of things to get you started. As I suggested, these aren’t the whole argument and probably unsatisfying, just a starting point. Each one of these things would have taken up a piece of their own (and they have in letters I wrote to various folks in the past).:

            Regarding “C-10” (“Safe Streets and Communities Act”) –

            -Canadian Bar Association – Submission on Bill C-10 – Safe Streets and Communities Act (96 page PDF):
            http://www.cba.org/cba/submissions/PDF/11-45-eng.pdf

            -A few points from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association:
            http://ccla.org/omnibus-crime-bill-c-10/

            -“Controversial crime bill to cost Canadians $19 billion: study” (Postmedia/Canada.com):
            http://www.canada.com/Controversial+crime+bill+cost+Canadians+billion+study/5832700/story.html

            -“Tory crime Bill C-10 passes, but provinces say they won’t pay full cost” (National Post):
            http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/03/12/contentious-tory-crime-bill-passes-as-countrys-biggest-provinces-voice-concerns-over-costs/

            -Open Parliament – readings, debate, full text of bill:
            http://openparliament.ca/bills/41-1/C-10/
            —-
            Regarding “Copyright Modernization Act”:

            “Setting the Record Straight: 32 Questions and Answers on C-32’s Digital Lock Provisions” – Prof. Michael Geist (20 page PDF download):
            http://www.michaelgeist.ca/component/option,com_docman/task,doc_download/gid,32/

            “Copyright Is Back: Why Canada is Keeping the Flawed Digital Lock Rules” – Michael Geist:
            http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/6033/125/

            -Open Parliament – readings, debate, full text of bill:
            http://openparliament.ca/bills/41-1/C-11/

          • Nicholas Anthony Chellah

            @Chris Jessen:disqus,
            your attack on this article is as lazy as you claim the piece itself
            is. The claim made by the article is that the Conservatives sugarcoat
            controversial legislation with misleading terminology (are you really
            going to try to debate that — you’ll lose the debate), and the article
            goes on to provide specific examples. If an author has to provide an
            example for every example given (and then an example for each of those
            examples, and so on into infinity, in order to please people like you)
            it would be impossible to complete the article.

            When I read a short opinion piece on the nature of a certain piece or pieces of
            legislation, and I find the opinion presented interesting or
            provocative, I don’t spend 20 hours firing off aggressive comments in
            the direction of the author because his article wasn’t in depth enough
            for me (not all articles are.) I go and read the legislation in
            question. Stop being lazy, and do the same. I’ve read 3 of the 4 bills
            the author of this article touches on, and guess what? Their titles
            are misleading.

          • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

            Thanks. I don’t expect everyone in the universe to agree with me, I merely want people to look beyond the obvious and challenge the lines we’re being fed rather than adopting them as truth without batting an eye.

          • Chris Jessen

            I don’t see how my criticism was lazy. His article makes several claims and doesn’t provide any evidence to support them. I’m not really sure what there is to debate here. My point was made and has not yet been refuted. The author essentially even admitted that my criticism is accurate, providing the rationale that the onus on me to find the evidence for his arguments on my own.

            You seem to be unaware of how one substantiates an argument. Say for example I make the claim that a piece of legislation has a misleading title. Okay, so I take a quotation from the legislation that illustrates this point and include a brief analysis of why that is the case (could even be a sentence long if its clear-cut enough). How is that so hard?

            The funny thing is that I don’t even care whether or not the claims in the article or accurate or not. I just couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that this article includes claim after claim with zero evidence. Maybe if the author had an MA or PhD. in Political Science from a recognized university I would be more inclined to take his word for it. Since the author has nonexistent credentials, if he wants the critical observer to consider his points as accurate he should probably reference someone who does have credentials.

          • Chris Jessen

            Nice, some sources!

            Now let’s use them to give your article some credibility.

            QUEBEC — It will cost Canadians some $19 billion to build prisons to put more offenders behind bars for longer periods of time as part of the federal government’s new tough-on-crime legislation, according to a report released Thursday.

            Let’s see, we have an argument: “It will cost Canadians some $19 billion …”

            and we even have a source too! “A report released Thursday … The study, by the Quebec Institute for Socio-economic Research and Information (IRIS),”

            Alright then, so:

            The “Safe Streets and Communities Act” (that contains measures that arguably make our streets and communities less safe and at great cost)

            becomes:

            The “Safe Streets and Communities Act” (that contains measures that make our streets and communities less safe (insert evidence here) while costing Canadians $19 billion according to the Quebec Institute for Socio-economic Research and Information (IRIS))

            See how the second one actually has some credibility?
            Now please, tell me more about how your article isn’t lazy.

          • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

            I understand your angle, I just feel like you got the wrong idea from this. As previously stated, it was originally slated as an article to my local paper which has a 500 word limit and I felt like those details were just going to weigh it down.

            Is it lazy? Maybe, probably.

            Details are important.. that’s half my argument – that we need to pay more attention. This wasn’t ever intended to be some big revelatory investigative piece though, it was more of a “alright, now that everyone’s talked about X, Y and Z, do we not see the trend that’s consistent through X, Y and Z?”

            If my argument was “X is bad! So is Y!”, then your criticisms would be more important to me. I don’t think it’s important to this little piece, but I have taken your pushback to heart nonetheless and if I turn this blog experiment into a regular thing I’ll certainly keep it in mind and attempt to at least give people a starting place to explore from if they’re skeptical. I guess I can thank you for that 😉

  • geolen

    Harper is a lying piece of right wing political trash! And he does so from the top of the pile! Register to vote in the 2015 election now!

    • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

      I don’t like to use language so harsh (even when I feel like it), but even if I tend to agree – it’s important to be careful not to adopt the “anyone but Harper!” attitude – it inspires dissolving of critical thought and unguarded adoption of any alternative could theoretically lead to enthusiastically supporting a worse alternative, if such a thing does or did exist.

      • geolen

        Then vote for Harper!

        • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

          I think you misunderstood 🙂

          I’m in agreement with you, but to put it another way:
          We should always be careful. Harper isn’t going to be the only horrible PM or candidate we’ve ever had.

          • geolen

            stfu

          • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

            Why so angry? Yes, down with Harper. Yes, register to vote. I agree. Sorry for complicating the topic with anything additional like calling on people to be informed and vote with care :

  • WoodstockGuy

    I’m a middle class Canadian over the age of consent working for a big corporation.

    In Reform(Conservative Party of Canada) terms:
    I’m in an average Canadian family over the age of protection working for a job creator.

    I wondering when we’ll have a Minister of Word-Smithery. I’ll soon need a translator as Canada’s official languages are now English, French, and Bull Sh*t.

    • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

      Or the “Minister Of Truth™” ? 🙂

      Thanks for the afternoon smile.

  • Paul Sloan

    Your writing is beyond clever and witty. You’ve correctly nailed Steven Harper and his plan to use a majority government elected by a small minority of voters ( even not allowing for low voter turnout) to change the Face of Canada to what Harper and a tiny minority of his supporters want Canada to be. He is so far Right of Right that he makes Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette look like Liberals.

    • a_w_young

      Thank you, Paul. Sounds like we agree about a few things.

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