CON TRACKER! 

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Well kids, time to look in again at what those crazy campaigning Cons are up to. I know a lot of you undecided voters don't have time to find out what's really happening with MyGovernment®™ (and a lot of Cons don't care), so consider this a public service announcement about some of the best sources for maximizing info concerning the real HarperCon record.

There's lots of salacious stuff out there, from Con supporters calling journalists "Lying pieces of shit" for daring to ask the PM questions — just as revelations of that very thing in their own camp pour forth from the gong show that is the Duffy trial — to the National Post censoring Canada's most famous writer, Margaret Atwood, for a piece on Harper's hair that schooled the Cons on appearance politics (see Jesse Brown's Aug. 22 piece on the investigative website Canadaland: "#HairGate: What really happened"; www.canadalandshow.com/article/hairgate-what-really-happened).

If you're serious about self-educating, take some time to read Chris Turner's short but eye-opening book, The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper's Canada. Look in on harperscrimes.ca, which documents destructive foreign policies designed to please the most reactionary, short-sighted sectors of the Conservative Party's base — evangelical Christian Zionists, extreme right-wing Judaism, Islamophobes, the military-industrial-complex — and the imperialistic aspirations of mining and oil executives. That's kind of heavy stuff, so afterward you'll enjoy the comic relief of how "Harper's Brown Shirted RCMP..." charged an Albertan driver for having a legal — but offensive — anti-Harper sign on his car (www.facebook.com/rob.wells.562329/posts/1613170028941019).

If wasteful spending tickles your fancy, read Amy Minsky's June 17 piece (www.globalnews.ca/news/2055556/conservatives-spend-almost-7m-defending-unconstitutional-legislation/) on MyGovernment®™ dropping over $6.5 million to defend 16 contentious, high-profile pieces of legislation ultimately deemed unconstitutional — the tip of an iceberg detailed by Althia Raj in "Harper Government Under Fire Over $482 Million In Outside Legal Fees," (www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/03/27/legal-fees-harper-conservatives_n_5043663.html), a number — representing your tax dollars — now far north of half a billion. (The Supreme Court has systematically shot down virtually every issue the HarperCons hold dear, seeing them allege that they're the target of a vendetta by the august body — as opposed to their wilful breach of constitutional law.)

Another top Harper exposé is a list of his crimes against ecology by Laura McDonald, a former editor of Alternative Journal first posted in 2013 but updated through 2015 (www.alternativesjournal.ca/policy-and-politics/crimes-against-ecology). As in a court of law, a series of charges are levelled and the evidence in support of each compiled. Seeing so much malfeasance on one page will make your head spin.

For more one-stop shopping, go to harperwatch.wordpress.com, an aggregating site for real journalism on the litany of abuse and destruction of Canadian democracy wrought by the HarperCons. There you'll find gems like conservative John Robson's Aug. 7 National Post piece on why he can't vote for the HarperCons (www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com//full-comment/john-robson-i-cant-vote-for-the-harper-conservatives-i-just-cant): "... I cannot vote for them. I just can't. They should be my natural choice but their coarse, vindictive, proudly unprincipled cynicism must not be rewarded with electoral success, regardless of the consequences."

Writer, journalist, and documentary filmmaker Michael Harris's latest book about the PM, Party of One, is a best-seller. But his expurgations on HarperCon hits (zero) and misses (many) are not to be missed — like a July 16 take on the ridiculous speech by MyGovernment®™ MP Wai Young to parishioners at Harvest City Church in her Vancouver South riding, in which she compared Harper to Jesus, drawing fire from coast to coast, even within the god-fearing Con camp (www.ipolitics.ca/2015/07/16/what-would-harper-do-anything-he-wants-mostly/). Harris is expert at generating sore-point-understatement laughs, and he's in fine form again on Aug. 20 with "Message Management in the PMO: Replacing one lie with another." (www.ipolitics.ca/2015/08/20/message-management-in-the-harper-pmo-replacing-one-lie-with-another/): "Remember when the PM solemnly informed the House of Commons that [Dean] Del Mastro had provided [Elections Canada] with all the proper documentation and that everything was hunky-dory? So hunky-dory, in fact, that he made Del Mastro his spokesman on ethics during the Robocalls fiasco?"

Del Mastro, we know, was convicted and jailed for cheating in the 2008 election.

The most telling essay, however — for its scope, taught treatment and placement in an international journal of record — is "The Closing of the Canadian Mind," from the Aug. 14 issue of The New York Times (www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/opinion/sunday/the-closing-of-the-canadian-mind.html?_r=0), in which Stephen Marche eloquently makes the case that a vote for Harper is a vote for continued, and, ultimately, institutionalized ignorance. Though it begins with typical broad strokes like "Mr. Harper's campaign for re-election has so far been utterly consistent with the personality trait that has defined his tenure as prime minister: his peculiar hatred for sharing information," it concludes with a posit that all of us — Tories included — should be concerned about. "Whether or not he loses, he will leave Canada more ignorant than he found it. The real question for the coming election is a simple but grand one: Do Canadians like their country like that?"

I think not. Information is power. Get informed.

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