A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
Contact us at democracyunderfire@gmail.com

Sunday, July 22, 2018

I'm Tired......

I'm tired of the impossible promises that Doug Fraud keeps spouting, many issued before his newly elected MPs (blindly Con supporters?) had a chance to have any say in the matter.
No one could accuse Ontario Premier Doug Ford's government of being unambitious in the agenda set out in its first speech from the throne. He did not say when Ontario motorists will see the price of gasoline drop 10 cents per litre, as he promised during the election campaign. That would be achieved by eliminating the cap-and-trade system, which accounts for 4.3 cents per litre, and reducing the excise tax by another 5.7 cents.
Lowering electricity bills. Cutting business and personal taxes. Reducing gas prices. Ensuring "long-term stable funding" for the health-care system. Adding 15,000 new, long-term care beds. Launching a commission of inquiry into government finances. Building a "world-class transit system" in the Toronto area.

I'm tired of hearing how incentives to reduce our carbon footprint, as modest as they are, are to be canceled and how much money 'we' will save. Fraud's expenditures (as shown on the Gov books) may well be reduced but at what cost to our climate, education and underprivileged?

Ontario's new Progressive Conservative government is canceling 758 renewable energy contracts, in what it says is an effort to reduce electricity bills in the province. Energy Minister Greg Rickford said the move will save provincial ratepayers $790 million -- a figure industry officials dispute, saying it will just mean job losses for small business.
In a statement Friday, Rickford said the government plans to introduce legislation during its summer sitting that would protect hydro consumers from any costs incurred from the cancellation. (Yeh right !!)
Ontario buyers of Tesla’s Model 3 sedan who are still waiting for their cars to be delivered have a difficult choice after the province’s new government cancelled a rebate program for buyers of electric vehicles – fork out $14,000 or give up on a car they have been waiting years to drive.

I'm tired of hearing about all these cuts with no alternative plans being offered to either industry or individuals effected
The new Education Minister, Lisa Thompson, announced Wednesday that schools in the fall would go back to teaching the 1998 curriculum, which predates same-sex marriage in Canada by seven years, and doesn’t include topics like cyber-bullying, social media or LGTBQ issues.
Thompson said the ministry is aiming to launch consultations for a new curriculum that could be introduced in the 2019-20 school year. (Oh yeah, that works, consult AFTER canceling the program!!)



I am even tired of the BS being disseminated in order to justify the expansion of pipeline capacity from the tarsands in Alberta to the waters of the BC coast and parts west. I understand somewhat the need by Alberta and the oil barrens to promote this 'resource' but I have yet to see the question asked as to why said 'oil' is not processed at the source thus eliminating the need to dilute it for 'transport' with further pollutants and increasing to capacity of the existing pipeline. If you must ship oil then ship oil not dilbit!

I'm tired of politicians in general and right wing ones in particular for whom the words cooperation and consultation or even respectful debate are just words to use in speeches but to avoid actually doing. To finish up this rant I can only include the following comments from Owen Grey's blog a little while ago which sum it up nicely......
I recall us having a leader who wasn't interested in evidence of the sort provided by officials and experts. His name was Stephen Harper. While voters eventually gave him the toe, Ontarians still haven't learned to ignore politicians offering tax cuts and easy fixes for complex problems.
Cap
That's exactly what's depressing about the recent Ontario election, Cap. Despite ten years of Stephen Harper, it would appear that a good segment of the province's voters -- not a majority, but enough to win a majority government -- haven't learned a thing.
Owen

I am so very, very tired of the political BS from all 'leaders' that further commentary may be some time coming!




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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Google Blooger Comment Problem

Folks using or replying to posts on Google Blogger should be aware that at least some users are not getting notification of replies to their posts if they have moderation enabled! This has apparently been the case since late May (at least in my case and some other users that I am aware off) said replies do not show up on your dashboard except by going to the 'awaiting moderation link' nor are you otherwise notified by an email !

I have just OKed several previously hidden replies on several post since that time and will check more frequently until blogger gets this problem fixed (or someone finds a solution and makes it generally available) meanwhile dont think I am ignoring you if your comments are not shown in a timely manner ......

Also see -  https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/blogger/V611KU-BUOQ

2nd update....
May be unrelated but Google Mail dropped my forwarding (pop) settings (last 24 hrs) so I was not getting my emails forwarded to my preferred email client..... now reset but unknown if blogger problem fixed! Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

Sunday, June 17, 2018

New Report on the State of our Democracy.

The Samara Centre for Democracy interviewed 54 former MPs from the last Parliament about their experience in Ottawa and found many of them questioning the very purpose of being an MP in an era when political power is concentrated in the hands of party leaders. The Samara Centre is a non-partisan charity working to improve Canadian politics.

The study focuses on the 41st Parliament, which ran from 2011 to 2015 and was led by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s majority government.
The Justin Trudeau-led Liberal Party was elected to a majority government in 2015 on a platform that included promises to improve Parliament and make MPs more independent. The report notes there is anecdotal evidence from the current Parliament that many of the same problems remain.

Last year, Samara, with the assistance of the Canadian Association of Former Parliamen-
tarians, again reached out to past representatives—this time to MPs who had sat in the
41st Parliament (2011–2015) and who resigned or were defeated in the 2015 general
election.

The interviews made one thing clear: the problem of a “job with no description” has not been solved. In some ways, it has worsened. Parliamentarians are more cut off from the essential work of scrutiny, legislation and representation than before. The couple of small extracts shown below are but a fraction of this 42 page report and whilst it reflects the situation at the end of Harpers time in power it is no less relevant to today's parliament.

Leaders have grown in strength and capacity relative to the party caucus.
Unelected staffers to the leader—the “boys (and girls) in short pants”—carefully manage the party brand. As the MPs in our first round of interviews explained, any dissent from the party leadership is rare, inconsequential and swiftly punished. Step out of line, even on an ostensibly free vote, and “your name’s now on somebody’s hit list,”

The last Parliament saw by far the most use of time allocation since the tool was introduced permanently in 1968—more than double the previous high-water mark. But the problem has hardly resolved itself. In fact, the current Parliament is easily on track to see the second most frequent use of time allocation. (The term “time allocation” suggests primarily the idea of time management, but the government may use a time allocation motion as a guillotine. In fact, although the rule allows the government to negotiate with opposition parties on the adoption of a timetable for the consideration of a bill , it also allows the government to impose strict limits on the time for debate. )

Committees are the best and most urgent site for reform.”

Not only are considerable parliamentary time and resources already dedicated to them, but committees also offer the best promise to empower MPs.
Committees might never be must-watch television. But they can be home to the kind of politics citizens often say they want: cross-partisan, substantive, evidence-based, civil and accessible. They could also provide a neat “package” for supporting the independence and thoughtfulness of Mps

As one MP described, before committee met, “They have precommittee meetings. And that’s not when you discuss what’s going to happen in committee. You are told
what’s going to happen in committee. And the [party] staff is all too happy to provide backbenchers with questions to ask.”

In 2018, it’s urgent that Canadians rehabilitate representative democracy as the middle
ground between daily referendums and government by unchecked elites. At the centre of
representative democracy are the representatives themselves—the critical link between
citizens and their democratic institutions.

Parliament is degraded, and as one former MP put it: “We don’t have a democracy, outside of that institution.” An intervention is needed.


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