Tomorrow is October 19th, election day in Canada. As a citizen of a democratic society, a member of an electorate body, it is our duty to take part in such an important event. This election campaign has raged on for 10 weeks now, and for those 10 weeks, many issues have weighed heavily on my heart. In the past 4 years of a Conservative Majority Government, I’ve seen the Canada I love and cherish, turn from a society of free, dignified, courteous, and selfless people, into a country I have become ashamed of. We have become greedy, ignorant, and intolerant of others. Once heralded by the global community as an example of a peace-loving, peace keeping nation, we are now looked on as a country of aggression. I don’t like what I’m seeing. I don’t like what we are becoming. I fear for the future of our great country, I fear for my children’s future.
I have over the past few years, done some political soul-searching. As a Christian, and more specifically a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka, Mormons), I always believed that a conservative political party held the same values as I have been taught to uphold. This I must admit, has been an act of blind faith. Over the course of my personal political study, I have come to find that the Conservative agenda mirrors that of the adversary, shrouded in the veil of “Conservative Values”, and it frightens me. To be candid, I’m sure many of you are guilty of the same ignorant act of blindly following a political party solely on the basis that they claim to uphold “Conservative Values”. If you don’t believe me when I say that the Conservative Party of Canada is not a proponent of LDS values, I don’t blame you. I would have told you to sod off if you had come to me with the same statement back during the 2011 election. If you will allow me, I wish to argue my claim with examples and facts. Those of you who are not of my faith will have to excuse my references to Church doctrine. These references to doctrine are for the sole purpose of granting you insight into my reasoning, are an important part of my argument, and of my life.
There are so many topics I would want to touch on. The Conservative attack on agency, their political tactics of instilling fear and uncertainty to scare the people into submission, their total lack of concern for the middle class, their catering to the wealthy, their use of racism and religious minorities as election fodder, the almost endless array of corruption and scandals… the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, if I were to tackle every topic that has been on my mind, this article would turn into a novel. So I’ll choose just one. It is the topic that has weighed most heavily on my mind as of late.
The Conservative Attack on Liberty
Bill C-24 and C-51 are two recent pieces of legislation that are huge red flags for me. For those of you who are not full aware of what these bills enable the government to do, allow me to enlighten you.
Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, gives the government the right to the following:
- Promoting Terrorism is a jail-able offense.
- Remove Terrorist Propaganda from public venues and media.
- Warrant-less arrests if it’s believed you will commit a terrorist activity.
- Personal information may be shared among federal government departments if you are deemed a security risk.
- CSIS can now disrupt terrorist plots.
Bill C-24, has degraded many Canadian’s citizenship, turning them into second-class citizens. It allows the government to strip a person of their Canadian citizenship for many reasons, but to stay on topic we’ll focus on two. The government can strip you of your citizenship if you:
- Hold citizenship from another country.
- Are charged and convicted of terrorism.
You may be saying to yourself, what is wrong with this? This sounds great. It’ll help keep me safe. The problem is that this legislation is rife with generalizations that gives the government too much leeway. It also allows the government to encroach on your privacy and civil liberties.
Lets play out a scenario that makes these bills scary as hell.
Say for instance the government has decided to pass a piece of legislation you and many of your fellow countrymen do not agree with. You feel very passionate about your opposition to this legislation, so you decide to speak out publicly about it on social media, a blog, etc. You sign petitions, you attend rallies. The government feels threatened by you and the group of people who oppose them. Therefore, they deem you and this group as a terrorist organization. You are arrested without a warrant and jailed for promoting “terrorism”. If convicted of terrorism, and you hold dual citizenship, you are stripped of your Canadian citizenship, and deported. This occurs all because you don’t support the current ruling government.
Now I know, this all sounds a bit Orwellian, but the fact of the matter is because of these laws, we are headed in that very direction.
Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, changes the rules for voters, candidates, parties and the people whose job it is to make sure elections are fair. The Conservative government claims this act will reduce voter fraud and empower political parties, as opposed to Elections Canada, to drive voter turnout. The key problems with this new law are:
- Elections Canada is no longer able to run advertising campaigns encouraging people to vote.
- Longer election campaigns. This results in voter apathy.
- Requirement for proof of residency to vote.
That last point targets the groups most likely to vote against a Conservative government, namely:
- The Elderly in Care
- The Disabled
They target these people, making it harder for them to perform their civic right and duty, yet they fail to deal with the problem of voter fraud within their own party.
These acts are blatant attacks on our civil liberties, and go against a principle I was raised with. In the Book of Mormon, the Book of Alma chapter 46, we read of Captain Moroni, chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, and a man named Amalickiah. Amalickiah conspires against the current ruling government to become a dictator. Moroni was forced to defend his country, his church, and the liberties that he cherishes. Verses 10 to 12 read:
Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake.
And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah.
And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.
It goes on to tell of how he gathered the people together with this Title of Liberty to fight and defend their liberty against Amalickiah and his followers. You can read the full account here.
In the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 3 verse 17 we read:
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Do you see how these attacks on our civil liberties are in direct contradiction to that which God has granted unto us in this mortal realm? And if their actions contradict God, they do not serve Him. If they do not serve Him and His purposes, then they must in turn serve the great diseaver. He who from before the foundation of the world, wished to take away our agency, our liberties, to carry out his own plan, contrary to that which our Father in Heaven laid before us.
Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.
My family, my friends, a continued rule of the Conservative Party puts us all at grave risk. They are not a party that practices sound governance. They are in it for themselves and their wealthy friend. They preach fear, uncertainty, and doubt at the cost of liberty. They wish to control, not to lead. We need a governing body that promotes civil liberty, agency, tolerance and unity. We need a government that isn’t scared to tax the rich for the benefit of our society, the average Canadian, and the social programs we rely on every day.
Tomorrow, when you are at the polling station, I hope you’ll have taken the time to do some serious thinking. Please don’t go in blindly, ignorantly, down playing your options. Conservative is not the only option. Nothing could be farthest from the truth. For me, tomorrow I will be voting NDP. They have campaigned on liberty. The platform they’ve run on this election is everything we need in this country now. We need change. We need to get back to the Canada I remember. The Canada I love. A Canada I can be proud of. Lets vote for a change, a change for the better.