Yes, I just emailed this to the Prime Minister.
Dear Mr Harper,
I am a politically involved young person, the type of person that your new majority government (congratulations, by the way) does not represent but desperately needs to try to understand and engage.
When I voted in my first election, 11 years ago and just a few months after my 18th birthday, I voted for the Reform Party. I voted for the Reform Party because I had had the good fortune of spending a week in Ottawa with Forum for Young Canadians the previous year, meeting my MP and enjoying the opportunity to ask him questions; and I liked him. I attended, with my father, a rally when Stockwell Day was running for leader of the newly-formed Canadian Alliance and even contemplated joining the party to vote in the leadership race.
Since then, however, I have become increasingly disappointed with the direction that our right-wing political party has taken. I have felt increasingly alienated and disregarded by your party. Seeking alternatives, I have attended meetings where both Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton were speaking, and enjoyed the opportunity to shake the hand of our new official opposition leader. Now, I am extremely proud to live in a strong NDP riding, with a MP I voted for, next door to the riding of our first ever elected Green MP. I have voted Green or NDP in the last three federal elections and I will continue to vote for one of these parties perhaps until you give me a palatable alternative.
In this election, I had three wishes:
- The Conservative Party NOT get a majority government.
- The NDP form official opposition.
- Elizabeth May gets elected in Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Some would say that two out of three is not too bad. However it is the one I did not get that scares me the most. Throughout the last five years and the 2011 campaign, I have been shocked and surprised at the arrogance of your MPs and candidates, proclaiming that the only way to get any benefit for the riding is to elect a government MP: “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Please forgive me if I have misunderstood the way politics are supposed to happen in Canada, but I thought the Government of Canada existed to serve the people of Canada, not solely the 40% that voted for them.
I am also scared because of the precedent you have set in the last few years with a minority government. Since elected in 2006, your government has lied to and mislead the House of Commons. If you have been able to get away with that in a minority government, I am worried as to what you will try with a majority government. I was happy that there was a contempt of parliament ruling and shocked when nothing changed after it (though with the precedent you have set, perhaps I should not have been shocked). I have been upset at your treatment of your own MPs and cabinet ministers, let alone the opposition members and “ordinary Canadians.” I am concerned for our environment and how, since you came to power, we have disregarded our international agreements on fighting climate change: I am tired of being the laughing-stock of the world. I am disappointed because our Canadian identity is changing from one I am proud of to one I am ashamed of: peacekeeper to military presence.
Under the leadership of the Conservative Party, the culture of Canada seems to be shifting. Instead of being a place where people of different nationalities are welcomed, embraced, and given the opportunity to become a part of society, they are “othered” and marginalized. Instead of honouring our First Nations and Indigenous peoples, they have been ignored. Instead of loving our neighbours and empowering and listening to those who have a suppressed voice or no voice at all: low-income individuals and families, women, LGBTQs, minorities, the homeless and drug addicted.
Perhaps what saddens me most about the direction Canada has been heading in the last five years is that I am now becoming ashamed to call myself Canadian. What was once a nation respected and revered around the world is now becoming a laughing-stock. No longer will I proudly travel with a Canadian flag. No longer will I proclaim with pride that I am Canadian. This is, perhaps, the biggest tragedy of all.
And so, Mr Harper, I hope that you will work together with your opposition parties to form a parliament that cooperates and listens to ALL Canadians, not just the ones who blindly supported you. I hope and pray that you do not ride roughshod over those with differing opinions, but respect and honour everyone in our once-great country.
Excellent letter Gillian. Have you sent it? Sent it to the papers?
Try G&Mail as they like publishing opinion pieces. Try Facts&Arguments, although they might not publish politics in that column.
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I do not agree with your sentiments, but I would defend your right to say them
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