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, August 15, 2010

A Long Hot Summer.

“A democracy whose government refuses to heed the will of the majority as routinely as it embraces the narrow interests of a vocal fringe is no democracy at all; it is, by ambition and practice, an elected oligarchy.
In the waning days of a long, hot summer, Canada is coming perilously close to that which its history, traditions and civic sensibilities utterly despise: a nation ruled by a smug, self-satisfied coterie of partisan strong men whose coarse manipulation of facts and rational argument supplants intelligent debate and resists effective opposition.”

So says Alec Bruce a Moncton-based journalist in his column this week. Many of us have expressed this view in recent time but few so eloquently, would that such words had come from an opposition leader in a rousing speech but it would seem that we have no great speakers or leaders, just self-serving political flacks.
Alec goes on to say of the Harper Regime “Their hard line, right-wing mentality has extolled the virtue of certitude in all matters of state, as bias and presumption have proscribed the meritorious, once meretricious, qualifications for public office. Meanwhile, reasonable dissent has become the province of eggheads, elitists and other assorted traitors.”

Therein lays the whole problem, we each may have a different view of what should be done, on stimulus spending criteria, on various social support programs, on foreign affairs, on immigration and on the collection of data by government, this is normal. What is not normal is the manner in which the Harper Regime goes about advancing its “agenda” with a total disregard for parliamentary procedure and expert advice. Any one who expresses an alternative view is dismissed as irrelevant or wrong no matter their credentials. “Arms length” boards and commissions are suddenly not so arms length, their members being summarily replaced with those who will mindlessly repeat the spin and talking points of the regime, scientists and civil servants are silenced, all “information” must be PMO approved, control must be maintained.

As our columnist says reasonable dissent has become traitorous, something to be suppressed or scorned. This is indeed the mark of an elected oligarchy. To complete the transformation of Canada into a “country you wont recognise” and ensure that the Canadian people will not have the will or ability to remove this dictatorial, corrupt and undemocratic regime from power they have but to give the public the impression that their input is meaningless, that everything is just fine and that their detractors are just blowing hot air. When that fails the next best move is to eliminate public funding for opposition partys whilst spending obscene amounts of public money on self promotion and spin doctors, attack the impartiality of Elections Canada and avoid at all cost any move that would modernise our electoral system and encourage citizens to actually vote.

It seems to me that they are well along this road and we have very few opportunities to turn the bus around, that there are but a collection of mediocre alternative drivers to choose from and that no-one can agree which one to put behind the wheel makes us wish we could simply get off the bus, but that is simply not possible. We are all in the same bus, its time to wake up and look where we are going and DO something about it. The question is what, perhaps the first thing we must do is fire the current driver and his crew of “we will tell you anything to keep you happy” tour guides!

As James Travers puts it “This country has a problem. It has a ruling party that twists the truth and an Official Opposition that can’t, or won’t, straighten it out.”
“No party or leader willingly commits political suicide. Instead, they lurk in the shadows, weighing odds and waiting for a promising moment to strike. Still, parties risk everything when what’s good for them is seen to be more important than what’s good for the country.”

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1 comment:

Lorne said...

I read the Travers column and agree completely with his assessment of the fecklessness that the Liberal Party has consistently demonstrated as it 'opposes' Harper's autocratic rule.

Each time that the prospect of an election emerges, Mr. Ignatieff ensures that not enough members of his party are in the House for their vote against the measure. The latest example was the budget omnibus bill which, because it was a budget bill, would have led to the fall of the Government had there been enough Liberals in the House for the vote.

At the time, Bob Rae said that the Senate was the better mechanism by which to amend the Bill; however, once a spokesman for the Conservatives said that sending back an amended version of the bill would lead to an election, the pattern repeated itself: some Liberal Senators were absent from the Red Chamber for the vote on the amendments, and thus it will go back to the House unaltered.

Until the Liberals can show that they actually stand for something other than the bald lust to return to power, I cannot support them.