Before Stephen Harper

Once upon a time Canada made sense – no need to beat our chests, or compete with world powers, we knew who we were. Canadians softly carried the burden of both great wars. Our chests,  swollen with respectful reverence and gratitude didn’t require beating. Recognizing a great truth,  Canada distinguished itself as global peacekeepers – we knew what it meant to be Canadian. That was before Stephen Harper.

Stephen Harper’s Canada teeters on the brink of calamity for every ideal and principle “my” Canada holds dear. Before Harper’s election victory in 2006, Canadian troops functioned as “non combat” observers and deterrents. Harper wanted to play with the “big boys” , moderation and principle had no place in Harper’s Canada.

Increasing the defense budget from $15 to $23 billion, placing Canadian soldiers in active combat in Afghanistan and the Middle East, losing Canada’s seat on the United Nations Security Council (over his stance on Israel), beating his chest like a war mongering imbecile – Harper managed in a few short years to erode the very meaning of Canadian.

This week the Harper government announced planned legislation to increase powers of Canadian spy agency CSIS. Fresh off souring popularity in polls following the attack on Parliament Hill, Harper swiftly seized an opportunity to beat his chest.

Stephen Harper prefaced his plans with..

“Violent jihadism is not just a danger somewhere else,”

“It seeks to harm us here in Canada — in our cities and in our neighborhoods, through horrific acts, like deliberately driving a car at a defenseless man or shooting a soldier in the back as he stands on guard at a War Memorial.”

Canadians, he said, “are targeted by these terrorists for no other reason than that we are Canadians. They want to harm us because they hate our society and the values it represents.”

Violent jihadism “is not a human right,” Harper stressed. “It is an act of war, and our government’s new legislation fully understands that difference.”

What this Canadian understands Mr. Harper is your role in making Canada a target. Before you, Canada stood for something, Canadians don’t want your brand of macho foolery – we want our Canada back.

A closeup image of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper from "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, running April 5 through June 3, 2014.

Painting of Stephen Harper by George W. Bush