Salt Spring’s Raffi adds voice to Harper’s critics

You know him as the guy who sang Baby Beluga. Now, children’s entertainer Raffi has recorded a new ditty that sounds like a protest song.

Raffi Cavoukian, who has been an outspoken critic of the Stephen Harper government on Twitter, released a tune called Vote for Democracy this week on YouTube.

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The Salt Spring Island entertainer says he hopes it catches on like his recent composition I Want My Canada Back.

That song, urging people to vote on Oct. 19 to “get our Canada back,” has attracted more than 200,000 views on Facebook and YouTube, he said.

As protest songs go, Vote for Democracy’s lyrics are pretty mild.

“Vote, vote, vote for democracy/vote, vote, vote for the right to be free,” he sings, accompanying himself on guitar.

However, the indirect implication is that the reigning Conservative government is failing to uphold democratic values.

In an interview Wednesday, Raffi was more direct.

“I think the co-operative politics that we had before the Harper era have gone,” he said, accusing the Conservatives of “a systematic abuse of power.” Raffi added: “What has happened is an assault on democracy.”

He said Vote for Democracy is intended to be “motivational” rather than political. In particular, he hopes it encourages young people to vote, especially first-time voters.

According to Elections Canada, only 38.8 per cent of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 24 voted in the 2011 federal election.

Raffi said while he’s not officially affiliated with any political party, he is a supporter of Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. She is running in Saanich-Gulf Islands, the riding where Raffi lives.

“Let’s remember that people have fought in wars and died for the right to be free, which means the right to vote in democratic elections. We can’t take these things lightly. This is what it means to be a Canadian, it means being proud of our democratic traditions,” he said.

“That’s why I’m being so passionate, saying we’ve got to oust the rogue prime minister and the rogue party that came along talking accountability andopenness in government — and did the exact opposite.”

Here is the video:

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