Are you really going to vote based on the niqab?

I was reading an article about a demonstration of the Conservatives in the Quebec city area.  For some reason, this area has always been favorable to the Conservatives.

Stephen Harper focused most of his speech on the niqab situation.  This is discouraging.  He’s claiming to be champion of the economy and all he can talk about is the niqab.  Come on!  I mean, enough is enough!  We’re talking two cases over hundreds of thousands.

The article was stating that the niqab situation was the turning point in this campagne so far.  If this is true, history will most likely remember this election as the biggest mistake Canadians will have ever made.  Are we that easy to manipulate?  We need to focus on the real issues here.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Job security (who will create good jobs, protection of our farms with the Trans-Pacific Trade Deal)
  • The state of the economy (how to generate growth again)
  • The state of the public finances (balancing budgets, focusing on right priorities)
  • International affairs (how to react to the Islamic State, how to react to Russia, relationship with the US, our assistance to migrants)
  • The age of retirement
  • Helping out provinces with their health system
  • Investing in our infrastructure
  • Protecting our environment

Those are the important points I will be considering when choosing who I will vote for.  If you think Harper is the best on those points, then fine, vote for him.  You are entitled to your opinion.  But please, don’t vote only on the niqab.  If the points mentioned above would have you vote for someone else, then I say that these are much more important priorities than the niqab.

I’ll leave you with this food for thought.  Consider this from Stephen Harper.  He is ready to put aside his so important values when votes are in the wager.  For example, selling military equipment to Saudia Arabia seems perfectly fine because he’s afraid that doing the right thing might cost him some precious votes in Ontario.  He is prepared to sell military equipment to a country where humans rights are ignored.  He’s prepared to sell military equipment to a country which most likely supports the niqab more than everyone else.  But yet, he’s claiming we need to adopt the hard way against the niqab here, a problem that is much more smaller than selling weaponry to Saudia Arabia.  By the way, it’s interesting to see how much he will not hesitate to sign deals with a country that his responsible for the dip in oil prices right now.  Stephen Harper claims to have values.  He has values but only when it doesn’t cost him.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership

While Stephen Harper and his Wizard Of Oz (Crosby) are attracting our attention to the niqab false problem (this concerns two women who refused to remove their niqab out of hundreds of thousands), he his quite potentially giving away important parts of our economy.

What’s troubling here is that he’s not ready to commit to protecting farmers in this deal.  This is a disaster.  Here is why:

  • if we start importing our food and our basic necessities, we’re becoming too depending on what’s happening elsewhere.  Furthermore, we totally loose the control on what it’s going to cost us to eat.
  • Grocery is perhaps the biggest expense households have right now.  This is also the most stable (people have to eat).  Do you honestly want to give away the jobs related to this important function?  I don’t think so.
  • Importing food is a disaster for the environment.  While every expert on the planet will tell you that we need to start growing our food next to where our population lives, this deal is perhaps going to cause just the opposite.  Transporting food over long distances just doesn’t make sense.

It is true that lots of jobs may be created with this deal.  The question you need to ask yourself is that are they going to be good jobs.  Will our farmers need to sell their land to external interests?  Will we live in a world where there will be crop fields next to our cities while our people are starving because they can’t afford to eat anymore?

Please consider the consequences of this deal before voting for Stephen Harper.

An aging economy

Yesterday, Statistics Canada announced that for the first time in our country’s history, people aged 65 and over outnumber the group of the 0-14.  Experts picked up on this and even analyzed that our country is aging at a very rapid pace, saying that by 2024, people aged 65 and over may very well account for 25% of our population.

When such a thing happens, there are important consequences:

  • The burden on the health system becomes very difficult to support
  • Economic growth is near impossible (if there is growth, it’s very weak)
  • People get to have to work up until a much more older age

Japan is an example of an aging economy.  It has unfortunately gone through multiple recessions and it’s quite possibly heading into yet another recession.  Not that the aging population is the only reason but it sure doesn’t help.  And it sure shows a strange pattern that aging economies have much more recessions and economic problems.

The same experts that were describing the aging economy problem were also saying that such economic systems need to be stimulated if we hope for any growth to be achieved.  Stimulating the economy basically means investing into projects that will generate jobs and growth.  Stephen Harper is not doing or planning on doing this.  By wanting to balance budgets at all cost and keeping the taxes low, he’s betting that the private sector will be able to bank on these principles and generate jobs and growth.  This is not going to work unfortunately.  This is just hoping a problem will solve by itself.  The problem we’re facing and too deep and touches too many fundamental principles that it just can’t solve by itself.

In the other hand, we have parties right now that are proposing we invest right now into our economy and generate growth and good jobs.  This is perhaps a better approach than the “hope for the best” approach Stephen Harper is proposing.  We need a government who will help families.  And trust me, it’s not a 160$ per month check that will accomplish this.  On the grand scheme of things, young couples will not make the decision of having children based on 160$ per month.  This is just not enough.  If Stephen Harper had proposed tax cuts that would benefit everybody, that 160$ combined with the tax cuts would be a good step.  However, Stephen Harper is proposing that we implement income splitting to save up to 2000$ in tax.  Well, unfortunately, the 2000$ in tax cut plus the 160$ (that we have to give back partially) will not allow a young couple to provide for a child.  In today’s world, for a young couple to provide for a child, you basically need two good jobs.  Just one of the two jobs at minimum wage is not going to be enough if the other job is at the average salary.  The 2000$ and the 160$ a month will not cover enough.  As well, with the poor quality of the jobs Stephen Harper has created, we see couples having children at a much more older age, sometime causing couples to have only one child.  In order for a young couple to have children, you need the following conditions:

  • two jobs at the average salary
  • two jobs that are stable.  That means that both spouses need to have a certain level of confidence that they will not lose their job in the near future.  This is perhaps the most important factor.  I’ve often heard of women waiting to get to be permanent before having children because they were afraid that they could not find work when they would want to get back to the job market.  And even today, there is no such thing as permanent positions, even within the government.
  • reasonable work schedules.  Hectic work schedules just makes it impossible for a young couple to commit to children.  As well, we often see people having to work two jobs to make ends meet.
  • affordable housing.  This is also important.  Young couple will often wait to own a house before they have children.

Now, look at what Stephen Harper is proposing and tell me if there’s any condition being met.  The answer is no.  Therefore, young couples will not have children at the pace we would need to sustain our economy and our population.  Even worse, those of us working right now might not be able to enjoy a retirement at all.  We need a government who will work on those 4 essential conditions mentioned above.  To some extent, the Liberals are the closest we have seen.  They’re sure willing to put the necessary money to at least meet the first three conditions.  The NDP are claiming they want to create good jobs and are also making interesting proposals.  The daycare program they are proposing has proven to be positive in Quebec, despite relatively high cost.  The economic boost created by women going back to work rather than staying home is to be considered.  The Conservatives are doing quite the opposite.  TFSA accounts and income splitting are in most cases favoring people who are retired or close to retirement.

One could also argue that immigration might be a solution.  Yes and no.  With immigration, you have to be careful on accepting people who will become productive members of our society.  It’s also important to accept people who will adhere to our basic values.  We can’t just attract enough people and accept them at a pace that is fast enough right now.  Furthermore, our population has fears right now (some are legitimate while some are somewhat overreactions) which we must respect and reassure our population on.  Harper is certainly not working on increasing immigration right now.  He doesn’t have enough manpower (because he’s made cuts) to evaluate all the candidates.  He doesn’t have the necessary programs in place either to properly great the new arrivals and make sure they adapt as fast as possible.  This is why he’s keeping immigration low and this is why immigration just won’t be enough to change the tides on our aging economy.

In this election, we have an opportunity to act now and put in place a government which has the vision of helping out young families.  This is our future.  We need to have children who will sustain our society of tomorrow.  Now, ask yourself who has been coming forward up until now with proposals to help out young families.  Stephen Harper is just not in the game on this important subject.

When two smart persons say the same thing

Today, in the newspaper “Le Devoir” from Quebec, Doctor David Suzuki was talking about how much harmful it would be to elect Stephen Harper once again.

I don’t believe I need to do much more explaining here.  When extremely intelligent people such as Doctor Suzuki come forward and make such statements, I think it’s worth considering.

As well, Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of Canada (and now governor of the Bank of UK) was talking about how much climate change would have a deep impact on the economy.  I’ll concede that Mark Carney didn’t speak up on who to vote for.  However, his statement on the relationship between climate change and the economy is certainly to be taken very seriously.

I think we all agree here that Stephen Harper is definitely not the champion of the environment.  He will claim he is sensible to the environment problems but will not act accordingly.  He first muzzled Environment Canada and made deep cuts to this department.  He’s favored pipelines and wagons of oil being transported across the country with the consequences the people of Lac Mégantic all know too well.  Turning our back on important environmental considerations such as what Stephen Harper is doing is just allowing perhaps irreversible damage our children will suffer for.  And if we consider mister Carney’s position on the subject, we may be working at the very destruction of our economy as we speak.  Stephen Harper may be doing the very opposite of what he intends to do.  Perhaps on a not too distant future, jobs will be lost forever because of climate change.  We will then have destroyed irreversibly our environment and have deep economic problems.  This is an important consideration and I plead with Canadians to seriously consider this aspect before voting for Stephen Harper.