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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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Travers on Choices

As always James Travers gets right to the heart of the issue when it comes to the ongoing attacks upon our democracy by the Harper regime. He has this to say regarding the recent Speakers ruling :-

Make no mistake, the crisis that began in December when the Prime Minister padlocked Parliament rather than reveal truths about Afghanistan prisoner abuse is far from over. Sometime in the coming weeks Stephen Harper must make another decision that will echo for decades.”

Travers says that Harper has three primary options. He can accept Peter Milliken’s sound decision reinforcing Parliament’s right to know, he can sabotage the talks and then buy time by asking the Supreme Court to referee, or he can sacrifice principle to politics in an election Conservatives could win by making losers of all Canadians.

He goes on to say “What we are witnessing is a pure if hardly simple power struggle, if Harper prevails, the affairs of state will be controlled by a cabal of whispering courtiers - appointed officials, political operatives and captive mandarins – clustered around and beholden to the Prime Minister.

Far from an exaggeration, that reflects current realities as well as future prospects. A Parliament now unable to fulfill its defining function of safeguarding public spending faces the new threat that the Prime Minister could win an election fought in part over his singular ability to decide what information will be shared with MPs and those who elect them.

As Milliken correctly found, Harper has no executive privilege or legal right to refuse Parliament’s document demand. To do so would “jeopardize the very separation of powers that is purported to lie at the heart of parliamentary system and the independence of its constituent parts”..........

Should an election take place over this then as Travers says “In making a ballot choice Canadians could effectively, if not intentionally, overrule Milliken, further undermining Parliament’s power over prime ministers. Once the election is past, the brick-by-brick dismantling of democracy would predictably resume.”

That point is worth repeating, we too have some hard choices to make at some time in the future, and at this point the signals seem to be saying sooner than later. If, when you have the chance to vote for new representation you either fail to exercise that option, or select a representative that either supports or condones these efforts, then you may well put and end to democracy as we know it. If those that want to reduce the effectiveness of parliament and increase the power of the PMO and give the prime minister presidential or dictatorial powers win the spin war then Canada as we know it is a thing of the past. Perhaps that is exactly what these 30% or so want?

That around a third of Canadians appear to find this acceptable is an ongoing mystery to me, is it from ignorance of the ramification, belief in the ongoing lies and spin, a lack of viable alternative choices, or simply a blind faith in a particular political party? Elections are always important, the next one will be critical. Lets talk about it!

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