It so happens that, as a suburban household with one adult working outside the home and two active children we are the Harper Government’s target voters. As such, we have received the full panoply of tax credits and payments over the last ten years. We received the Universal Child Care Benefit for our younger son from 2006 to 2009, and now that it has been extended we are receiving it for both sons (see my post of April 28, 2015 about how we were notified). We have taken advantage of both the Children’s Fitness and Arts Tax Credits. We used the Home Renovation Tax Credit in 2010 to reduce the cost of rebuilding a fence around our lot. Finally, we received the full $ 2000 of the Family Tax Cut. So the Harper Government’s policies have put a considerable amount of money in our pockets.
I should add that the Harper Government once targeted us symbolically as well. We were identified as likely to be Jewish and for a year or two received New Year’s cards from Stephen Harper. This is particularly ironic because my parents changed their surname from Borinsky to Borins to avoid the quiet anti-Semitism of Canada in the Thirties and Forties. But this didn’t fool the Harper Government’s Jewish voter identification software.
As I indicate in the title of this post, we are not gratefully voting Conservative. I can’t put a dollar value on it, but the Harper Government’s style of governing – its authoritarianism, promotion of ignorance, dishonesty, and inappropriate use of public funds to market itself – disgusts me.
In addition, there is something insidious about the Harper Government’s pocketbook politics. It privileges policies that provide benefits that can be measured in dollars and cents today and ignores policies whose impacts aren’t so readily measurable by a monetary yardstick. The Harper Government’s disregard for the environment and lack of interest in public infrastructure imposes costs. The quality of our air suffers and traffic congestion worsens. As a society, we contribute heavily to global warming.
For the Harper Government, as Margaret Thatcher once asserted “there is no such thing as society.” There are only isolated individuals who calculate their well-being on a balance sheet of monetary net worth. I emphatically reject this view and will not allow my vote to be purchased.