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Stop the “Stop Harper” signs

June 2011

Recently while driving along Lakeshore Drive, I saw two protesters outside Barrie MP Patrick Brown’s office with a “Stop Harper” sign. While I really do appreciate the fact that we are free to protest our
government without fear of imprisonment or worse, can’t we give the “Stop Harper” rhetoric a break?  Sure some people agree with the stunt pulled by Senate page Brigette DePape during the Throne Speech, but wouldn’t it have been better to “stop Harper” in the election we just had in May?

Speaking of DePape’s stunt, I would have respected, but still not agreed with, her actions if she stood outside the Parliament building with her sign, instead of showing complete contempt (a word that can describe anyone’s actions, not just Harper’s) for The Senate, Parliament, the Governor General and our democratic system itself, by doing it in the Senate chamber.  Doesn’t it say something when even Jack Layton and Bob Rae disagreed with what DePape did (the stunt itself, not the message)?

Many critics of Harper sternly point out that he only got 39.62% of the popular vote and therefore doesn’t have the right to govern (although he actually does under our parliamentary system).  To further make their point, the critics also point out that only 58% of the population voted in the last election, thus further in their minds, eroding Harper’s right to claim a “majority”.

By the way, I wonder how many remember that Jean Chretien’s Liberals won majorities in 1997 and in 2000 with 38.46% and 40.85% respectively?  Further, Bob Rae won a majority government in Ontario in 1990 with 37.6%.

Well, what if we turn the numbers around the other way and point out that just over 40% of the population didn’t bother to vote for ANYONE, including A.B.H. (Anybody but Harper).  Put another way, that’s over 40% of the population who apparently don’t hate Harper enough to even vote for A.B.H., so why is it that people want to “stop Harper” now?

Oh sure, Harper may still have won a majority due to vote splitting, but even if a portion of that 40% voted for A.B.H., it may have been a significantly reduced majority.  Maybe the Green Party would have
elected more than one member.  Maybe Michael Ignatieff wouldn’t have lost his seat. There is no excuse for not voting, especially when many countries in the world do not have free elections, but if you choose not to vote, then don’t complain about the result.

If you truly feel that none of the candidates are worthy of your vote, then attend the polling station and decline your ballot.  How many people know that declined ballots are counted?  If a significant portion
of the population declined their ballots, that would send a strong message to our politicians.

By not voting, you are by default, telling the politicians that you don’t care either way what they do.  If you truly hate Harper and think he is ruining this country with his (yet to be seen) “hidden agenda”, then vote for someone else; ANYONE else.  The next election will likely be in 2015, so mark your calendars.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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