Since first coming to power Stephen Harper has been launching an attack on Canadian women. From removing the word 'equality' from the Status of Women, to defunding programs, he's made it clear that he believes that we are second class citizens.
As Gerald Caplan wrote recently: The Harper government, women’s rights and the cost of speaking out.
So there is a new group Women Against Stephen Harper, that is a fun place to share stories and ideas. We fought too hard for women's rights, and I'll be damned if he's going to simply squash them on a whim.
It's been one of the glories of Canadian democracy that we have a tradition of government funding of citizens who might oppose some government policies. Most Canadians have come to see an active and engaged civil society as a crucial component of a robust democracy.
... As Amnesty's Alex Neve puts it: "We are not a nation founded or built on some sense of orthodoxy, ideology and conformity. We are a nation of diversity and debate." Alas, we need to change that tense. We were that kind of nation, a liberal or tolerant nation. Which is reason enough for the Harper government to go to war against this democratic principle and to introduce a new kind of punishment politics for those who fail to toe the government line. Dissent from that line is being squashed, or at least dissenters are being intimidated by the fear of losing their funding. You can disagree, but you pay the price.
This is no abstract threat. It's already happening. NGO funding is already being cut for daring to differ with the government. It happened to Kairos, a church-backed humanitarian NGO that worked with Palestinian civil society.
Just who does he think he is?