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 1, 2010

Time for Change

Recently I received an email from one of the potential candidates running for the Green Party nomination in our riding.
Here in part is what she said…

I chose to put my name forward as a nominee because I am most interested in increasing political participation locally. The Green Party has done amazing work but there's still a lot of people who didn't vote in the last election. To make change happen we need people to feel engaged and be excited about politics. (I know, I know. It's the summer time, people have better things to do.) I'm interested in all of the positive ways that we can help our community do better. The G20 and the way the budget was passed make me angry too, but I don't think it's going to inspire our non-voting neighbours to get to the polls when the time comes. Anger fades with time.

So I'd like to hear from you: what is it that drew you to the Green Party? Do you have a "pet issue" you'd like more people to care about? In your wildest dreams when the Green Party has accomplished everything you hoped it would--what does the world look like? And more specifically: what does our region look like?

Lets take a look at the points she raises….

“To make change happen we need people to feel engaged and be excited about politics.”
I’m not sure that many of us will ever be “excited” about politics but we sure need to be “engaged” if we are to turn this bus around before it goes over the cliff, unfortunately I suspect the current driver will bail out just before it crashes and burns!

“I'm interested in all of the positive ways that we can help our community do better.” and “I am most interested in increasing political participation locally”

Here is where the GPC strikes a cord with many rural residents, with their think local ideas, if the local economy does well and the local supports are in place then the whole country benefits. Government programs must be customized to individual communities, one size does not fit all, made in Ottawa solutions do not work for everyone across the country. Additionally folks are tuning out in disgust from the top down style of governance we have now. We that even follow the federal shenanigans are very much a minority judging from some of the folks who look at me blankly when I talk about the omnibus budget or the value of accurate census data or any other of the arbitrary and partisan decisions the Harper regime pushes through.

“Anger fades with time.” Indeed it does, but all is not forgotten, at least not by this writer and a number of others. The Proroguing fiascos (two in two years), the overspending both before during and after (is it over yet?) the “recession” , the self congratulationary advertising on our dollar, and yes, the G20 mess and spending will not fade from the memory of those who take note of those things. But then how many either never took note in the first place or simply did not care is the bigger question.

“Do you have a "pet issue" you'd like more people to care about?”

I think you all know ONE of my pet issues, I beat the subject to death here on a weekly basis. Our Democracy is in deep trouble and under constant attack, we must stand up and do everything we can to save the (admittedly flawed) system we have, improve it and not let those who would run our county as an autocracy get their way.

My other pet issue so closely linked with the above is “open data” or if you prefer the publishing of all public papers, contracts, expenditures and decisions by government in a timely and easily accessible manner BEFORE requested. Not only to our MPs and “arms length” watchdogs but to the interested public, only then can we say that a government is “open and accountable”. Remember that promise?

“What is it that drew you to the Green Party?”

Yes, I know, I DO try to be non partisan on these pages but my dislike of the current lot (and the seemingly powerless / useless opposition) has been showing for some time so its time I “came out” and said I currently support the Greens.

That said I should answer the question.
Firstly both their current leaders stand and the GPC’s stated position on protecting our Parliamentary Democracy, any party that does not put this front an center is not worthy of you vote, they are merely using, or perhaps misusing the system to their own ends. You cannot pretend to be representing the people unless you support and enhance the system that (in theory at least) give them (the people) the power to control their own destiny.

Secondly their valiant efforts at doing just that within their own party, their efforts to include all the members in decision making, and their publishing of as much data as possible on line for the members to see and discuss. Its not perfect, its still a work in progress and like most things where large groups of people with a variety of views have input to an organization, sometimes messy! That folks is democracy.

Thirdly whilst many folks think they are just about “the environment” they are far more than that, the party is evolving, yes there are divisions between the political strategist and the tree huggers and all those in-between, but that too is democracy. Read the “Vision Green” document, you may find a few things you disagree with (as you would with the “other” party’s vision if they ever had one that they didn’t change each year to suit the current political landscape) but you will find that there is little there that you can really say is truly wrong. Would that we could say the same of those currently “representing” us in the HoC now.

You may tell me I am wrong, that the Greens cannot / will not make a difference, that democracy is not worth fighting for, or that the current lot is greater than sliced bread, all of which I will disagree with, but that too is democracy!

I vote for change and I don’t mean Harpers “you wont recognize the country when I am done” sort of change. Its time!
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