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.
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Small but Important Distinction.

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, picked up on this recent statement by Stephen Harper leader of the Harper Regime regarding the behaviour from his ministers in airports.

As seen on the national news last week he said “Do I realistically expect that everybody who works for me is perfect? No. We can’t run an operation like that. But when people make mistakes, we expect them to own up to them and learn from them and I’m sure they will in these cases.”

Seems that not only do the ministers of his regime think they are above the law and can ignore the rules that the rest of the citizenry must follow but he also seems to think that those ministers WORK FOR HIM and not those who they purport to represent. It is a small point but goes to the very heart of the problems rampant within our governance at this time as it shows the mindset of both Mr Harper and his Ministers.

This small “slip of the tongue” is just another indication that this regime has no idea of how our parliamentary democracy is supposed to work, that MPs, including the PM, WORK FOR US and that as such they are all ultimately answerable to parliament as a whole. Other more obvious manifestations of this mindset have of course been seen, the proroguing of parliament, twice, to avoid accountability, the refusal to produce documents to a parliamentary committee, the suppressing of any information that might reflect badly upon their management of our country. The list is endless.

There are those in Ottawa who have expressed concern over this, one such individual being Senator Elane McCoy whose web pages have recently been made more accessible to those without high speed. In exploring the information thus now available to me I found these two quotes that speak to this subject:-

Parliament evolved as an institution to oversee and curtail arbitrary decisions imposed by the executive branch. The "power of the purse” is the most effective measure to hold a government (that is to say, cabinet) to account, but Parliament has forgotten this. Too many decisions are made without reference to Parliament or are "ratified" by overly obedient backbenchers and senators.’

Senator Lowell Murray

‘…in our system the word government now means Prime Minister....
[T]he system of parliamentary democracy we originally chose for Canada is not the system we have now. It has been transformed by the
concentration of power more and more in one person – and so is subject to terrible abuse when, for example, that person has the attitude and style of a bully and, of course, surrounds himself with people of like mind.’

Senator Royce Frith

It has become a test of wills between those who would rule as kings and those who would protect our crumbling democracy, as Travers said:-

In England, that test of wills was resolved in Parliament's favour when King Charles I was beheaded in 1649. In 21st century-Canada the same effect is achieved more civilly and with less bloodshed when a prime minister loses Commons support.”

But will it be resolved without harm to our democracy? It seems to me that the right hand of our parliament has already been cut off but has a life of its own, the left hand is flapping around uselessly, it has become deaf and blind to the needs and desires of Canadians, and the body is sick and needs an injection of fresh blood to survive. Meanwhile the head continues to ignore all these things whilst singing “don’t worry, be happy” with a video in the background flashing “we have a plan, we have a plan”

It is exactly what that plan is that bothers me, for if we go by past performance, (which would seem to be the only reliable measure of future performance) the destruction of any measure of control by the peoples representatives over the increasingly dictatorial and secretive PMO would seem to be the aim of this regime.

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