A Letter To Stephen Harper
“As a father…I cannot even begin to comprehend why those who sexually prey on children do the heinous things they do.”
Stephen Harper, August 2013
Yes, child porn and child sexual abuse are absolute evils! Horrific acts of inhumanity.
Children in Canada are also being abused in another way: grinding poverty. More than 600,000 of them across the country. For Indigenous children the poverty rate is over 50%. This too is horrific.
Since becoming Prime Minister the number of children living in grinding poverty has increased, as has the number of working poor. That’s why parents are desperate for childcare programs, which they were expecting until you came along; your first act as prime minister back in 2006 was to cancel these proposed programs, remember? The country also needs a higher minimum wage so mothers won’t be forced to work at 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. They need continued healthcare, and so on.
But your decision to throw more people in more jails for longer times will have no bearing on these kids living in poverty. In fact, when you play the ‘caring card’ only when there’s an opportunity to look good, that translates immediately to everyone as ugly, hypocritical behaviour - especially when you use the ‘helpless children’ stance in one breath, then in another cut social programs that could “help” alleviate some of the hardships of child poverty itself (that too is heinous). If your concern was genuine, you’d do something, anything, to alleviate child poverty. Even admitting child poverty exists would be a really good start. It would give some of us hope.
But you fool no one. Canada now ranks a dismal 26th out of 29 ‘developed’ countries in terms of child poverty rates.
Where does this all end?
It’s worth remembering that humanity’s first task was to create conditions for a more human life. You, Mr. Harper, have politicized it so that individuals and groups fighting for that better life are now known as protesters, at best and, if our feelings about democracy are voiced too loudly, then we are known as “multi issue extremists” and subject to police surveillance and arrest. The Raging Grannies, even, are now said to be on this list.
Vaclav Havel in Open Letters said it best:
“It is a cruel paradox that the more some citizens stand up in defence of other citizens, the more they are labeled with a word that in effect separates them from those "other citizens".