Special Guests

Project Democracy is thrilled to have some amazing supporters and collaborators. This page will have a growing list of articles by some very special guests.

Christian Nadeau: Project Democracy – our best tool for opposing the Harper Conservatives

by Christian Nadeau

It is urgent that we prevent the election of a conservative majority. Stephen Harper has based his hopes on a division of the vote and on rivalry amongst his adversaries. Yet we cannot let ourselves be had this way. We do not want a government contemptuous of Canadian institutions, and which believes it has proprietary rights to our country. We may sometimes doubt the efficacy of the strategic vote, as it requires an important degree of coordination amongst the members of the electorate. But Project Democracy makes this coordination possible. It is thus our best tool for opposing the Harper Conservatives today.

Christian Nadeau is a professor at Université de Montréal where he teaches political philosophy and ethics. His most recent book is Rogue in Power: Why Stephen Harper Is Remaking Canada by Stealth, is published by James Lorimer and Company (2011).

Il faut absolument empêcher l’élection d’un gouvernement conservateur majoritaire. Stephen Harper fonde ses espoirs sur la division du vote et les rivalités entre ses adversaires. Mais nous ne nous laisserons pas faire. Nous ne voulons pas d’un gouvernement qui méprise les institutions du Canada et qui se croit propriétaire de ce pays. On peut parfois douter de l’efficacité du vote stratégique, car cela exige un haut niveau de coordination entre les électeurs. Le Projet Démocratie permet cette coordination. Il est donc l’instrument par excellence pour tous ceux qui veulent s’opposer aux conservateurs de Harper.

Christian Nadeau est professeur au Département de philosophie de l’Université de Montréal. Son dernier livre est Contre Harper: Bref traité philosophique sur la révolution conservatrice, Boréal, 2010.

Patricia Rozema: Make Canada a country you are proud of

by Patricia Rozema

Project Democracy provides a way of holding Stephen Harper's power in check. I worry about what a Harper majority will mean to the country I love. With Project Democracy voters can easily, quickly help make this the country they want to live in by voting strategically. It's important to remember that it is possible, even in Canada, to shut down open discourse. Arrogant leaders honestly believe that it's for their country's own good. We can't let it happen here.

Stephen Harper clearly wants to control traditional media, social media and twitter. He invokes arcane procedures when he doesn't like the way parliament is going. He tries to stir up fear about the perfectly legal normal process of coalition governments. He also rarely makes himself available to answer unscripted questions.

Yes, he's a good calm manager and our country is relatively stable financially. Some of that is, in fact, the Harper minority government's doing. Some of it was the doing of Liberals before him. But our reasonably good performance economically doesn't give him the right to overstep the authority he was given the way that he has. He can't be trusted with our support. I fear issues like abortion, gay marriage, and gun control will all be re-opened. His disregard for environmental concerns would continue unabated.

There's a reason we haven't trusted Harper with the reins in the past. His vision doesn't represent the majority of Canadians.

Yann Martel: It’s a Question of Character

by Yann Martel

It’s a question of character. Policies, after all, come and go; they can be changed when the circumstances require it. Throughout Canadian history, governments of whatever stripe have ruled—spending or cutting, creating or abolishing—not according to party ideology but to the perceived needs of the nation. So, for example, the Liberals favoured free trade in 1911, but opposed it in 1988. More recently, the Conservative party, which espouses a populist, small-government, hands-off approach to governance, embarked on a massive spending spree after the 2008 crash.

What this shows is that in Canada, essentially, any government will do. Two mechanisms explain this miracle of governance:

George Elliott Clarke: Vote for candidates that respect the Canadian people

by George Elliott Clarke

The Harper Conservatives are not Canadian Conservatives. They are U.S. Republicans in Tim Horton's photo-ops.

If you opposed what George Bush did to America (i.e., ruined it), you cannot support the Harper Republican program for Canada. Tax cuts for the rich, prisons for the poor, and war for foreign policy, is no practical program for a great, good, and decent country on the face of this earth.

The proof of just how bad Harper is, is his war against Parliamentary supremacy; his acts of outright contempt for OUR Parliament – and, thus, by extension, for us. When President Nixon tried such maneouvres and shenanigans in the U.S., he was forced to resign from office. And Bush's Republicans were trounced in 2008.

Canada's leading constitutional expert Peter Russell offers statement of support for Project Democracy's efforts

Esteemed constitutional scholar author and University of Toronto professor emeritus Peter Russell has added his name to its list of supporters with this important statement.

"This is the most important federal election in my life time. What is at stake is nothing less than parliamentary democracy. If the electorate rewards Mr. Harper with a majority it will mean that he will be able to operate as a presidential prime minister without the check and balance of congress. It will also mean that two out of five Canadians think very little of the need to hold government accountable to parliament. Mr. Harper has reduced parliamentary debate to "bickering" and the role of parliament in the formation of government to irrelevant constitutional stuff. I hope and pray that the parties of parliamentarians win a majority next Monday."


Peter H. Russell is a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Toronto where he taught from 1958-1997. Considered one of Canada's most respect political scientists, Russell was Director of Research for the McDonald Commission on the RCMP, a member of the Federal Task Force on Comprehensive Land Claims, and President of the Canadian Political Science Association. He chaired the Research Advisory Committee for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. His recent publications include articles on constitutional politics, judicial independence, and Aboriginal peoples. He is the author of Two Cheers for Minority Government: The Evolution of Canadian Parliamentary Democracy.

Henry Mintzberg: To the young people of Canada. This is your country.

by Henry Mintzberg

To the young people of Canada. This is your country. Will you help us leave to you intact, as one of the most humane places in the world? Or will you not bother to vote, and so cede it to the politics of greed? How about instead creating a little Tahrir Square, just like Cario's, right here in Canada?

This election is theatre: ignore the campaigns and the promises (which are just attempts to bribe us with our own money). What matters is what the people who are elected can and will do. And that is best judged by what they have done.

What the Conservatives have done suggests that, with a majority, our most cherished institutions, Medicare, the CBC, and others will be threatened. As a prominent minister was overheard just after the 2006 election, "If we get a majority, they won't recognize this country."

Christopher Majka - Political frustration: In 2011 the electoral pot boils over

by Christopher Majka

"Is it just me and my Facebook friends or is Stephen Harper in deeper doo doo than we know?" wonders Stephen Kimber, a journalism professor at the University of King's College in Halifax, and one of Nova Scotia's most perceptive political commentators.

No Stephen, its not just you. An every-widening circle of Canadians are increasingly frustrated, not only by Stephen Harper and the scandal-ridden, contemptuous, and hyper-partisan vision of Canada promulgated by the Conservative party, but by a dysfunctional political and electoral system. Why?


Nino Ricci: An Open Letter to Stephen Harper

The Right Hon. Stephen Joseph Harper, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Langevin Building
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing today, in the midst of what is quickly developing into the most exciting federal election this country has seen in months, to commend you for your own excellent campaign and to apologize for any slights that I or any of my fellow fiction writers might have directed against you in the past. Many of us fictionists had initially assumed that Mr. Ignatieff, as a novelist in his own right, would be our man in this election, but what your campaign has amply shown is that where fiction is concerned, the Harper Conservatives are without rivals.

Musician Anton Kuerti on the Harper Government and Project Democracy


The majority of Canadians do not like the ideological trappings of Steven Harper, his snide, evasive demeanor, his dictatorial domination of every policy matter, his disdain for environmental concerns, his hatred of the CBC, his disinterest in the arts (except when they can get him a useful photo-op or sound bite), his servile, thoughtless support of anything the U.S. does, his merciless and distorted attacks on his opponents, nor his self-serving anger at the idea of a coalition forming Canada’s next government.

Indeed, the majority of Canadians are appalled by his policies, his tactics and his character. So why can we not call the tune, when we are in fact paying the piper?