Stephen Harper is not the devil

Harper not like the Tea Party hooligans down south

By Aidan Mouellic, Staff Writer

I didn’t vote Conservative in any recent elections. I have always preferred the views of the other political parties and enjoyed the charisma of the politicians running against Stephen Harper. But Harper is not as bad as vocal left-wing outliers make him out to be.

Our current Prime Minister is clearly not the coolest cat in town. He doesn’t even come close to Obama’s charisma or Putin’s bare-chested bravado, but he’s a politician and he knows it. Politicians aren’t rock stars. Harper’s job is to make sure our country runs well and doesn’t go bankrupt—and he’s doing okay.

What gets to me is how people are quick to hate someone because it’s the “in” thing to do. I neither love nor hate Harper, and I feel as if I’m one of the few. I’m a young, socially liberal Vancouverite; I should hate the man, right? But I don’t, because he’s actually pretty good when it comes to some social and fiscal issues.

I first took notice of Harper’s social views during the ongoing homophobia crisis in Russia. Instead of staying silent on the issue, Harper’s government spoke out against the actions of Putin’s government and sided with the LGBT community.

Here at home, Harper’s government has made efforts to limit cellphone roaming charges, change Canadian mobile contract structures to benefit the consumer, and end cyber-bullying. These are things many people want, and they go along with a more liberal ethos.

I’m happy to be Canadian for many reasons. We don’t have to deal with the abhorrent political drama of the United States, and American conservatives make Harper seem like a Green Party member. Harper likely has some questionable stances on some issues, but he keeps them to himself—he does a pretty good job separating his work and private life. In America, it’s the opposite: if an American politician is against something, such as abortion, then they will often buy ads on TV detailing why women shouldn’t have a say in their own reproductive cycle. Politicians in Canada try not to meddle with citizens’ personal lives too much. As Pierre Trudeau famously said, “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” In the United States, many politicians, especially Republicans, feel as if it’s their duty to tell their nation what people should and shouldn’t be doing in their private lives.

There are plenty of things Harper has done that I’m not a fan of, like cutting funding to many arts and science initiatives. As a whole, though, he’s a much better politician than what our neighbours to the south are often dealing with, and he’s not nearly as conservative as a lot of people make him out to be. It’s never going to be cool to be a fan of Harper, and I’ll never have his poster on my wall, but he doesn’t deserve nearly the amount of hate that he is currently receiving.