Plenty of reasons to vote

I write in response to local Conservative candidate Stephen Hill’s remarks (Hill hits the campaign Trail – March 29)

Mr. Hill could not understand why $300 million of taxpayers’ money was to be wasted on a Federal election. Let me try to explain:

• three RCMP investigations into Tory insider peddling and election fraud. (The Harper government has cost Election Canada one-third of it’s annual budget in legal fees, in defending itself from willfully violating Conservative Party spending limits in the 2006 Federal election campaign);

• Harper’s “tough on crime” agenda includes opening cabinet doors to insiders and known criminals such as Bruce Carson, a top level Harper advisor, who prior to serving had been disbarred by the Law Society and served 18 months in jail for fraud. He is now being investigated by the RCMP for influence peddling by using his Conservative connections;

• The Harper government is the lone government in a 140-year parliamentary history to be held in contempt by Parliament;

• The Harper government has spent $26 million of taxpayers’ money to promote itself prior to the dissolving of parliament. This amounts to electioneering at public expense. In 2010 alone, Harper spent $130 million in public funds on government advertising;

• Harper’s corporate tax cuts will cost the Canadian public an estimated $11.5 billion in revenue loss annually;

• The Conservatives had increased the cost of government, pre recession by 18 pre-recession, including using management consultants, to the tune of $5.5 billion;

• Harper increased subsidies to big business by $1.4 billion and $60 billion of corporate tax breaks will be paid for in borrowed money;

• The Minister of Finance, under Harper, breached Treasury Board guidelines by over-spending more than $430,000;

• Mr. Hill’s touting of income relief for seniors is laughable. A proposed benefit in the last Tory budget provided benefit to the poorest of seniors in Canada what amounts to the price of one cup of coffee per day. The Conservative governments’ flip flop on in Income Trust Funds cost Canadians $35 billion of retirement income.

The Harper government caved to Bay Street interests and abandoned plans to improve the Canada Pension Plan. A maximum CPP pension is approximately $11,000 annually. However the average paid is approximately one-half of this sum. Reform was delayed to the state of the economy. This did not stop the Harper government from spending over one billion dollars in security alone for the G8/20 Summits. While leading the change to prevent banks from increased taxation. Those same banks will receive a four per cent tax cut by 2012 saving approximately $2 billion in profit. Financial institutions in Canada hold over $1 trillion in mortgage debt;

• Contrast senior spending with $2 billion in subsidies to big oil and the purchase of fighter jets, estimated by a U.S. government watchdog to carry an average cost of $133 million per plane, 80 per cent more than the cost estimate released by Harper;

• Mr. Hill’s job creation credentials are dubious in a nation where income is stagnant and unemployment hovers in the 7-8 per cent range. Over 1.4 million Canadians are out of work. The richest 3.8 per cent of Canadians control 66 per cent of its wealth. The trend for Tory job creation is buttressed by part-time employment. Canadians, for every dollar earned now possess $1.50 in debt;

• We have no idea what Tory crime legislation will cost. The Harper government has thrown up a road block to public information. A Harper government has, with contempt, violated core democratic principles of integrity, accountability and respect. Add this to blatant disregard for the environment and watching over the dissolution of our public health system. All in a minority setting.

This, Mr. Hill, is a short list of why Canadians must go to the polls.

David A. Cox