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

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One Year Ago

A year ago when I started Democracy Under Fire with the help and encouragement from a fellow blogger from the opposite side of this vast country we said “We are a pair of concerned citizens from opposite sides of this country who are trying to highlight how fragile our democracy is and the need to protect what we have….”. My partner has since found the examination of what is happening to our democracy too depressing and has returned to concentrating upon self-sufficiency and family, tasks which I cannot but help but agree are more rewarding than writing about the ongoing decline of our system of governance.

There is much that I have learned in researching the various articles you will find in the archives of this blog. I now know much more about how proposed legislation is dealt with, I have learned that much of the work of parliament is done within parliamentary committees both in the HoC and the Senate. I have found many links to information (some of which are shown in the side bar) and found that compared with some other democracy’s our access to information, particularly financial information, is severely limited. I have learned that there are citizen and civil servants striving to correct this and be proactive in providing information via the internet. And we have all seen how the use of the internet makes it all but impossible for those in power to suppress the truth or hide wrongdoing from the public. My thanks go out to all my fellow bloggers who publicise these things, particularly those that provide links to original articles or information.

It was just one year ago that the Harper regime was defending its “stimulus plan” as opposition partys asked for more accountability as to how it was to be spent. A year later and we still don’t really know how much has actually flowed or any real detail as to exactly where. The PBO continues to try and get the real figures, and they continue to be hidden in multiple and ever-changing “programs”. We are once again about to embark upon a budget vote this one more probably a slash and burn to make up for the spend and hide over the last few years. Little has really changed in the accountability front, if anything it has become worse.

We also said “Part of the concern is, in our view, the ever increasing partisanship and internal lack of democracy of our political parties, and so we will endeavor to be as non-partisan as possible in our articles and commentary.” That promise has been hard to keep, not in the sense that I wanted to extol the virtues of any particular political party for they all have their faults, but more because I wanted to keep the focus upon how our democracy was, and is working, rather than how one particular party is systematically concentrating power in the PMO. This does not mean that at times I have not wanted to rant on at great length about the Harper Regimes specific attacks upon our democratic institution, practices and traditions, but thus far I have chosen to take a more educational and informative route.

Like my partner, I too become depressed with the almost daily list of various politicians, both federal and provincial bending the rules, ignoring their constituents, spinning or hiding the truth, and generally padding their own party nest rather than doing what is right for the people. I will however try to carry on. The posts may become much more pointed in their criticism and I suspect that in the next few weeks there will be much to write about. Will the throne speech bring cooperation or confrontation, will the newest motion to have the Harper regime produce the requested documents to the parliamentary committee (or be charged with contempt ) be tabled as is and adopted, will the new chairs of various committees allow open debate or walk out? Will the newly stacked senate do their job or simply vote along partisan line irregardless of the matter before it? Will the whole thing degenerate into a partisan shouting match, will we see fistycuffs in the HoC, will we have a chance to elect a new government. Will the voters see through the spin and BS put out by those now elected and vote for someone new, will it make ANY difference?

We, the taxpayers and people of Canada will just have to wait and see for we have little control over any of those things, even our choice of vote is often bought by the party that can spend the most money on advertising what the party line is, and making promises that they know they cannot keep. Me cynical, now why would you think that?

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1 comment:

The Mound of Sound said...

My sympathies for I know how you feel. I recently went on indefinite leave from my blog for the same reasons.

I still visit ProgBlogs and LibsOnline but I'm starting to find them endlessly repetitive and, well, boring. Yes, Harper's a shit, I know that.

We're wasting our energy in criticizing Harper. That's pushing on an open door and to what end? What we need to be doing is focusing on what's wrong with ourselves and our representatives, Lib or NDP. Why aren't our parties connecting with the electorate? What do they see in us that is so offputting that they're content to languish with a minority headed by our Furious Leader?

Harper isn't winning. If he was, we'd have a majority, social conservative Tory whirlwind besetting us. He isn't winning, we're losing. Harper ought to be 'easy meat' to a skilled, able Opposition leader. The best thing he's got going for him is a collective opposition that resembles a clown car.

The Liberal leader is profoundly inept and self-absorbed. He's also no progressive but more akin to Harper-Lite. The greatest threat to Canadian democracy may not be Harper but Iggy. We know Harper wants to transform his Conservatives into northern Republicans but isn't Ignatieff's bent to mold the Libs into clones of the Democrats?

When are we going to realize that Canadian voters aren't interested in two conservative parties?

Every day we focus on Harper instead of our own failings is another win for the Conservatives, another totally undeserved day of grace.

Bitching endlessly about Harper's excesses and lies is tantamount to what our Opposition leaders are doing - waiting until Harper cuts his own throat. They can't be bothered winning, they're content to sit on their hands until he loses. That is a piss poor excuse for an opposition. The Canadian public knows it.