The friends of Stephen Harper.

Who can you trust? If a giant, well-respected firm such as Germany’s Volkswagen can be found out to be lying to us, is it the only one? When contaminated meats are distributed by some of the largest meat processors in Canada, who is at fault? When an unattended train kills 47 people in the quiet little town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, who do we blame? All these questions are asked and what do we learn from them?

It was Americans who blew the whistle on Volkswagen. The Harper government does not want us to bother checking what industry experts tell us. He also wants the industries to set the pollution standards in Canada. He wants tar sands exploiters to tell us what their standards should be and that is why there are no standards in that highly polluting industry. If the money is not there to hire government meat inspectors in the big meat processing plants in Canada, how can we prevent contaminated meats reaching the market? And if nobody has to attend a train sitting running on a main line, that is a perfect example of industries setting their own standards—being their own inspectors.

But what does Mr. Harper care? The Prime Minister is a conservative ideologue. He believes in laissez-faire economics where industry is allowed to operate free of government regulation, privileges, tariffs or subsidies. He does not believe that government should interfere in business operations.

He reminds Ontario residents of another laissez-faire advocate, a former Premier of Ontario Mike Harris. Mr. Harris cut everything he could to show that regulation and inspection was not necessary. He ended up with an outbreak of E-coli in Walkerton, Ontario because nobody was properly checking the water supply from the town’s wells. His careless ideology and money saving killed seven and made some 2300 people sick. There are still many people in that part of the province reluctant to drink the water.

Maybe some of those people who intend to vote Conservative on October 19 should think a little more about what they are voting for. It is obvious that Mr. Harper is not interested in preventing manufacturers from lying to you. He does not really want to spend too much on food inspectors to assure you safe food. He does not want to protect the environment or have too many regulations for trains.

In fact, Mr. Harper does not give a damn about your concerns.

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Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

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