Stephen Fuhr: How a lifelong Conservative supporter ended up running for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

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      I am a retired military officer and fighter pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force. I am a business leader. I am a Christian. I was born in Tory-blue Alberta and grew up in the B.C. Interior. I have never smoked a joint in my life, and I always voted Conservative. You could say I’m not your typical candidate to be a Liberal member of Parliament. Given the conduct of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, however, the choice was clear.

      Here’s how I got here.

      My journey “out of the blue” began in 2010 with the Harper government’s decision to purchase 65 F-35 fighter jets for Canada’s air force. Stephen Harper said these planes would replace our aging CF-18s and provide great benefits to Canadian industry. Plus, they would only cost $14.7 billion.

      What he said was also completely untrue. I was floored that our government could be so irresponsible with our tax dollars.

      The F-35 is technically risky, ill-suited to Canada’s priorities, and comes with no guarantees. Its real price will be far greater than what Harper claims. The F-35 fiasco awakened me to the ugly truth that I had supported a government that has completely lost sight of everything it said it stood for. The deeper I looked the more disappointed I became.

      Today, I see a government that’s in constant conflict with the auditor general, the parliamentary budget officer, and the Supreme Court of Canada; a government that muzzles federal scientists, climatologists and, to a certain extent, our national media. It stonewalls investigations into its own political misdeeds. It passed a so-called Fair Elections Act that stacks the deck in their favour while making it even more difficult for Canadians to exercise their most basic democratic right. It mismanaged the temporary foreign workers program and supports the Northern Gateway pipeline, despite the project’s lack of consideration for our environment, First Nations, and British Columbian communities.

      Harper signed us on to a controversial trade deal with China that leaves Canada open to huge liability risks with no way out for 15 years. Oh, and the Tories hold the dubious honour of being the only government in Canadian history (or the history of the 54 member Commonwealth of Nations) to be held in contempt of Parliament. The contempt charge was a result of the government’s refusal to hand over details and budgets of proposed bills.

      Then there’s the economy. Despite the millions of taxpayer dollars Harper has spent to convince us otherwise, his government has the worst record of economic growth since R.B. Bennett in 1930s. This Conservative government managed to turn 10 consecutive Liberal surpluses into seven straight Conservative deficits that resulted in the biggest national debt in our history.

      As an objective, evidence-based thinker I came to the conclusion that Canada needs a new government and that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were our best alternative.

      Justin possesses the necessary qualities to be successful. He can lead, he listens, and he can make decisions. In a short time, he has done more to reform the Senate than the Harper government has accomplished in eight years. The Liberals have made positive and proactive moves toward improving transparency by requiring MPs post both travel and hospitality expenses online. Most recently, Justin tabled a private member’s bill called the Transparency Act to improve the public’s access to information.

      Yes, all this as Canada’s third party. It’s called it leading from the rear. Something I occasionally saw in the military when exceptional leadership was not properly positioned. Justin is a true team-builder who brings a new generation of capable, successful people into public service.

      I’m a realist. I don’t think any government will ever be perfect, but when it deviates so dramatically from the ideal it’s time to remind our government whom it works for. This secretive and ideological Harper government has demonstrated it has little respect for Parliament and by extension Canadians.

      It’s time for a change.

      Maj. Stephen Fuhr (retired) is the Liberal candidate in the federal riding of Kelowna-Lake Country.

      Comments

      6 Comments

      MD

      Dec 10, 2014 at 12:12pm

      Stephen Fuhr
      " This Conservative government managed to turn 10 consecutive Liberal surpluses into seven straight Conservative deficits that resulted in the biggest national debt in our history"

      Regarding national debt, you really need to learn the difference between nominal and actual if you are going to make claims such as above.

      The Tory nominal debt - the amount owing - is higher than it has ever been, but that ignores the effect of inflation and the size of the economy (ability to pay). Nominal debt is meaningless without context. If I owe a million dollars, am I screwed? Depends on how much I have and earn.

      Under the Liberals, Canada reached its highest debt to GDP ration ever in the 90's.

      Current Tory Debt to GDP is 38.8%; under your Liberals, it peaked at 63.8% in 1997.

      I don't know if you do not know the difference, or are simply engaging in spin, but either way, you have no business in Parliament if you truly believe what you wrote.

      Before the inevitable attack, I am not a Tory, will not be voting Tory, and have very little regard for their financial management skills

      Arthur Vandelay

      Dec 10, 2014 at 12:17pm

      Hmmm ... that story doesn't seem to hang together very well.

      As far as I know about people who purposefully describe themselves as "Christian", there are two big dont's -- they don't support gay marriage or abortion rights. Seems Stephen's already gonna have to do some fancy splainin to his would be constituents who would seem to care about those issues.

      In Kelowna-Lake Country, I really doubt there's much he can say to convince voters that Stephen Harper isn't the right Stephen for them.

      RUK

      Dec 10, 2014 at 1:17pm

      @Arthur

      Although I am a pastafarian myself, I think it is unfair to Christians to wholly equate them with the regressive, Leviticus-quoting, busybody sex hysterical "Christian Right." The Christian people I know are much more interested in emulating the good-guy, first-stone-withholding Christ. Consider Tom Harper, or dare I say it Pope Francis, who is not exactly Dan Savage but much less interested in repression than the usual.

      Respect to those who Serve.

      Dec 10, 2014 at 1:27pm

      First Thank You for serving our Great Country of Canada!

      Second, most Canadians regardless of political affiliation are oblivious to the fact that Canada has ratified the China Trade Deal which gives Communist China NAFTA on steroids powers over Canada and it's resources!

      In short under this China Trade Deal, Communist China can and will demand any resource they want any refusal will be met with both a secret offshore Tribunal ruling no doubt ruling in thier favor most of the time, than fines against Canada.

      Guess who are the smucks that pay these fines in the $5 Billion+ range and counting (not counting the value of the resource being forced to be given away)

      You and me the citizens of Canada end up paying those NAFTA type trade fines.

      As a historical perpective Canada is the most fined nation under NAFTA and indeed compared to it's OECD comaprative countries, yup you've being paying for it instead of Healtcare and Education.

      Mainstream Press Muzzled on China Free Trade Deal Signed in Vladivostok Russia!

      The mainstream press controlled by large corporations have largely stayed silent unfortunately the Strait has not run much more ongoing analysis or editorials on this most important matter that effects all Canadians.

      I hope the Straight does run on-going analysis and monitoring of this China Free Trade Deal and also NAFTA especially the fines we have been paying.

      Canadian Soveriengty over it's resources abdicated to China under Trade Deal.

      Lastly in effect the Neo-Cons have sold (actually given away) Canada to China via a Free Trade Deal that is one sided and abdicates Canadian Sovereignty to the sole benefit of Communist China!

      Time to wake up Canadians!

      Dan M

      Dec 10, 2014 at 1:52pm

      Mr Fuhr is saying now what Joe Clark tried to warn conservatives of when the brand was highjacked by the Reformers in the very beginning. I believe that when the books are finally turned over we will be witness to some of Jim Flaherty's leprechaun accounting. Just as what happened when his books were turned over in Ontario when Harris was so non eloquently ushered from Politics.

      ron

      Dec 12, 2014 at 2:06am

      Firstly, 'It’s called it leading from the rear. ' is not a sentence. You'd think someone running for MP would be able to proof read.

      Secondly, China is Justin's most admired country. That is on record.