Since the fall of 2013, when I first heard of Stephen Harper’s vetting of opposing scientists? Testimony on the pipeline project, I have conducted a poll of Canadians coming into my gallery here in Santa Fe, NM, regarding whether or not they plan to vote to reelect the prime minister to another term. The results have been shocking, and might cause the PM some dismay. One hundred and ninety three Canadians have told me no to Harper; nine said yes, and six were “undecided.”
The number one harshest critics were a retired couple from Alberta who had spent their entire careers in two ministries, Environment and Fisheries and Oceans. They said Harper had dismantled everything in terms of regulations that they had spent 35 years trying to achieve! Equally dismaying and just as angry was a lady who had worked for the Bureau of Elections in Ontario. I learned of nonprofit status being pulled for NGOs who challenged the PM.
The litany of complaints was staggering, and truly, very far reaching, from every province of Canada; to me, a really ugly picture how a formerly wonderful and highly respected Nation could temporarily be subverted by one prime minister and his government.
Statisticians might question the sampling field of this poll as being skewed because of the kind of “liberal” Canadians who would drive through Santa Fe, go into a gallery, and spend some time looking at art. That might be partially true, but from my recollections, at this writing, there were also plenty of snowbirds included in the poll, as in affluent retired Canadians, on their way to play golf in Scottsdale and Palm Springs who opposed Harper.
My overall impression, gleaned from more than 200 separate conversations is that Prime Minister Harper has had several years to vastly rearrange the exemplary Democracy to the North and that he has temporarily succeeded in doing so. Recall in his last “victory speech”, he stated that he was going to completely change your nation? Unfortunately, from down here in the U.S.A., what he has achieved is more like what Vladimir Putin has done to Russia than what George Bush II in his worst moments did to the United States (with the exception of the manipulation of the United Nations with phony evidence about Iraq’s surmised nuclear capability; Harper has not at least tried to pull that level of monstrosity).
I take a great interest in Canadian politics, art and culture, having spent a few months in Ottawa in the early 1970s as an American draft dodger. I read a lot about Canada and maybe know more about your nation than 99 per cent of the American public (some of whom think you live in igloos!) This 22-month survey was conducted very much in earnest. I submit these results to the readers of your editorial pages, with the hope that the next prime minister might return Canada to its former status as a true democracy, without such draconian corporate-favoring manipulations.
Stephen Fox,Founder, New Millennium Fine ArtSanta Fe, NM