Dear Editor

30 09 2015
I have just sent this letter to the editor to my local newspaper, Bruce Peninsula Press, and the Owen Sound Hub. Please consider making a pledge at votetogether.ca and voting strategically to oust Harper. I’m anxiously awaiting my voting kit to vote by mail!

Dear editor,

Over the past nine months, I’ve been living outside of Canada. There is something about being abroad that brings you to reflect on what it means to be Canadian. In meeting and talking to people from around the world, naturally we discuss similarities and differences between our home countries. While I’m grateful for my Canadian citizenship and the freedoms it entails, my national pride dwindles as I think about the “achievements” of the Harper government over the past nine years.

The economy isn’t stronger – while inheriting a surplus, the Conservatives have run seven consecutive deficits. Meanwhile they have cut funding (thus jobs) to important government agencies, such as Parks Canada. Thanks to changes to the Navigable Waters Act in 2012, now 98 percent of Canada’s waterways are unprotected. The Anti-Terrorism Act not only cracks down on terrorism, but it also violates Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As the first country (of 192 signees) to remove itself from the Kyoto Protocol and the only UN member to reject Indigenous Rights Declaration, Mr. Harper has tarnished Canada’s international reputation.While promising asylum to 20,000 refugees, it has only deliver on this promise to 2,300. Because of these decisions and more, the Canadian flag stitched on my backpack is losing its credibility.

Even more unsettling is the disappearance of national research and muzzling of government scientists. Taxpayers have spent decades paying for research and statistics that has either been destroyed or gone internal, thus inaccessible to Canadians. In 2010, Harper ended the mandatory long-form census, leaving scientists unable to track even the most basic data, such as poverty and employment rates. Without knowing where we have been and where we are, how can we determine where to go? If not research and information, what will inform policy?

You may be thinking, “But I like Larry Miller.” I do too. But I like an open, responsible, democratic government more, and in light of these past “accomplishments” I cannot bear to think what another Conservative term would accomplish. So please, consider the bigger picture and base your decision on the evidence of the past, not election propaganda of the present.

If our non-Conservative votes continue to be split amongst the alternatives, we will face the reality of another term with Harper. However, as the recent local poll suggests, if we vote together and strategically, change is possible. That means, there are more than sufficient non-Conservative votes to defeat Conservatives and give one less seat to Harper.

So who should you vote for? I’m not necessarily a fan of telling people who to vote for, but I am a fan of using the available information to make an informed decision. VoteTogether.ca is campaign that connects voters who are looking for change and offers specific riding information and recommendations of which non-Conservative candidate has the best prospects. Based on present information, it looks like the Liberal candidate Kimberly Love is the likely choice, but stay informed as more up-to-date poll information is released. While I am not particularly a Liberal supporter, I am a supporter of an open, transparent government that reflects Canadian values. If you are too, 1) please vote (particularly my fellow twentysomethings that get a bad rap for not voting), and 2) vote strategically.

I’d be happy to keep the political dialogue going if you are interested or have questions or concerns, just drop me a line at megansmyles@gmail.com.

Best,

Megan Myles

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