Dissenter FeaturedThe DissenterThe Protest Music Project

Protest Song of the Week: ‘Harperman’

The Canadian government is investigating whether a scientist violated the public service’s “ethics code” when he wrote and performed a protest song against Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

As reported last week by the Toronto Star, Tony Turner was put on leave with pay. Turner is a longtime employee, who has studied bird migration for Environment Canada.

The song the government considers offensive is a folk song Turner recorded on June 12 called “Harperman.”

It goes through a litany of misdeeds that the Prime Minister has committed while in power, including squashing dissent—which the government is doing in Turner’s case.

Over the course of the song, Harper is called out for not buying into climate change, preaching the politics of fear, bombing Iraq, calling “troubled people ‘terrorists,'” expanding prisons, investing in oil sands, “revering” Uncle Sam, and more.

The chorus goes like this:

We want you gone (gone, gone)
You and your pawn (pawn, pawns)
No more con (con, cons)
Time to move on (on, on)
Get out of town (town, town)
Don’t want you round (round, round)
Harperman, it’s time for you to go

Video of the song has nearly 400,000 views on YouTube at the time of this posting.

Turner’s protest song stands to garner another hundred thousand views as Canadians use it to build opposition to Harper in the upcoming federal election. In fact, numerous supporters plan to perform “Harperman” in a cross-Canada singalong on September 17, which is about a month before the Canadian federal election.

The government’s harassment of Turner will also certainly help the song gain more attention.

What the government would have people believe is, by writing and performing this song, Turner cannot impartially do his job studying the migratory patterns of birds for the government. That is plainly ridiculous.

Debi Daviau, who is the president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, called the suspension “fear-mongering and intimidation.” Daviau told the Star that Turner’s rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were being denied by this investigation.

Turner apparently has been an Ottawa-based musician since 1994, as a member of a songwriting collective called the Writers’ Bloc. It is hard to believe this is the first time he has sung a song with politically charged lyrics.

Because the Harper-led Canadian government is cracking down on Turner for daring to express his opposition to the Prime Minister, “Harperman” is Shadowproof’s “Protest Song of the Week.”


Are you an independent artist who has written and/or produced a protest song that you would like featured? Or do you have a favorite protest song? Send submissions to protestmusic@Shadowproof.com

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."