They both did it by being awful leaders. Do you know the old curse, May you live in interesting times?
Once upon a time, I ran an environment blog. About halfway through its lifespan Harper got his majority government, and the year after that I won a competition held by the United Nations to become the official blogger for World Environment Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, right before the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development was held there.
A lot of people felt hopeful about Rio+20, believing countries were actually about to make real progress on saving the environment (which is synonymous with saving ourselves, in case that needs saying).
In the end they barely made any progress - least of all Canada, who the World Wildlife Federation declared "the biggest villain at Rio+20" for doing everything they could to "block progress in every realm."
Not long after, I shut down my environment blog. This is the first time I've said this, because it makes me feel ashamed. But the utter failure that was Rio+20 left me disheartened, and so did our government's behavior during it. I felt defeated, and I lost the will to continue my activism.
Maybe it's just as well, since Harper's Bill-C51 just basically classified environmentalists as terrorists.
During that 2011 election I spent a lot of time on my blog and social media crusading against Harper and his Cons. In the run up to this election I've barely made a peep.
In fact, a couple months ago I decided I wouldn't even vote this time. I think our electoral system is broken, and after trying so hard to make a difference before, after spending years watching Harper doggedly erode everything I loved about Canada, I thought Why bother? What difference can anything I do possibly make?
And that's exactly how Harper wants young people to think.
I understand why young people don't vote. It's because government isn't run for us. Instead, it's run for multinational corporations owned by old people, and we know it. It's for the same people who trashed our planet - the people who continue to do so with increasing speed, so they can squeeze out every last drop of profit before it all falls apart and we have to deal with the aftermath.
So we don't vote. Why bother participating in a system that consistently alienates us?
This is why Harper will win the election.
The Conservatives benefit from low voter turnout, especially from low turnout among young people, since we can clearly see Harper doesn't represent us and if we did vote it wouldn't be for his party.
And I believe that if we don't use this opportunity to get the Conservatives out we will never again get the chance to do so. I believe that if we give them any more time in power they will kill the democracy they have succeeded in making so sick.
Please, please. Prove wrong what I believe will happen. Go out on October 19th and vote. I'll be there too. If the number of people voting is high on election day the Conservatives will lose. If it's low again, like last time, they'll win.
Yes, government largely ignores young people. But if we leave Harper in power, it will only get worse. Getting him out is the first step on the road to taking back our country...and our future.
Harper's not done shafting Canada. Not unless you say he is.