To the editor:
The various results of the past years of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government give me grave concern. His government seems to have a strong theme of muzzling and restriction, with decisions being made at one level (the top) with little or no debate and discussion.
MPs have been muzzled as they are instructed to vote along party lines — which does not allow for them to listen to their constituents and represent them appropriately in government. Effective debate in parliament is muzzled through burying key pieces of legislation in omnibus bills of massive length— so that it is impossible to read them and cogently respond and debate.
Scientists have been muzzled as their funding is cut and as they are prevented from sharing important research both with their colleagues and with the general public — meaning that our society makes decisions (on an individual level, as well as at the level of policy-making) without a full and clear understanding of the consequences of those decisions. Even voters have been muzzled– as is evidenced through the events of the electoral irregularities during the “robocalls scandal” and the subsequent (worrying) changes to Elections Canada.
I hope all Canadians thoughtfully consider how they vote in this election. In a climate of reducing the average citizen’s ability to express his or her opinions, voting gains even more significance. A variety of worrying measures have been introduced under Stephen Harper, at many levels, which have radically changed the nature of Canadian government and decision-making and it is time for a change.
For myself, I would act on my concerns and vote anything but Conservative next week, but my family was transferred out of the country through work, and — in spite of being a Canadian taxpayer, a Canadian citizen born and bred, and a current student completing graduate work at a Canadian university— I am not allowed to vote. Muzzled indeed.