Tuesday, August 18, 2015


The weekend that Stephen Harper dropped the writ to launch the longest election runup in modern history, I happened to be on the road, and as I drove the length of BC thinking about the upcoming election, it became clear to me that for the first time in my voting life, I needed to do more than just vote.
Anytown, BC. Storefront after storefront going dark - in "StephenHarpersCanada"
 Full disclosure here. I was overseas for 26 years, and during that time, I did not vote in Canadian federal elections. It was a case of feeling on the one hand, ill-informed about the issues, and on the other hand, unentitled to exercise my voting right since I had chosen to absent myself. In the '80's, it was difficult to be anything other than uninformed in first Tripoli, and then in Bangkok. English language newspapers were non-existent in Libya and rare in Bangkok, and short-wave radio offered only a smattering of international news, usually dominated by the US. So I did not vote.

I remained, throughout my 26 year absence, however, a proud, loyal and nationalistic Canadian. In the '80s, the Canadian flag on a backpack or a cap was a personal protection insurance policy in Libya and an invitation to pleasant conversation in Thailand. I wore my identity proudly, and took pains to ensure that I was never mistaken for an American. Those folks were, after all, loud-mouthed, crass and unprincipled to a fault. No way was I going to be mistake for one of them.

That was, of course, before "Lyin' Bryan" Mulroney, ravin' Rob Ford, "make-off-with-it" Mike Duffy - and, of course, our beloved "clean up corruption" Stephen Harper.

Stephen Harper managed to undo in ten years what I had spent a lifetime in building and nurturing; pride in my country, certainty in the righteousness of our place on the international stage, and confidence in the future of Canada as a leader of the industrialized world. In ten short years, Stephen Harper has turned me into a reluctant defender of Canada as a leader in international human and womens' rights, a staunch advocate for change in Canada's current stance on aboriginal issues, and an apologist for Canada as an international climate pariah. More and more, I find myself unable to justify or defend my country's stance on any any issue of relevance for the future. And although I'm going to vote in the upcoming election, I'm afraid that my one small vote isn't going to carry the weight of the conviction I feel that this man has got to go.

This makes my angry, and although I am realistic about the potential for my small act of personal political action to make a difference, it will make a difference to me. When my children ask me "What did you do in the (climate) Wars, Daddy", I will be able to say, "I did whatever I could to spread the word about what I was seeing, to open people's eyes to the results of one man's twisted vision of a strong, united Canada, and to contribute in whatever small way I could to bringing that man down.

My Twitter hashtag "StephenHarpersCanada" is the result of that decision to act. The photos I tweet show an economy at the leading edges of not just Recession, but outright Depression, a culture in rapid decline, and a civilization teetering on the brink of a final death spiral. It's not a pretty picture, but it's what I see when I finally admit to myself that the King has no Clothes.  It's time that people saw Stephen Harper reflected in the images of what he has brought this country to and took the necessary steps to remove him and replace him with someone, anyone, who will make rational decisions to guide us through the troubled times ahead.
Better Times only seen in the Rear-View mirror - In "StephenHarpersCanada"

Follow my exploration of "StephenHarpersCanada" at https://twitter.com/rubisr/media. Or watch for posts here as election day nears. I'm neither an historian, a media analyst or a political pundit, but rather a concerned citizen who has decided that, like Peter Finch in "Network", "I'm Mad as Hell, and I'm NOT going to Take This Any More!"

A nation that runs on wheels slowing grinding to a halt - In "StephenHarpersCanada"