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

Sunday, June 10, 2012

You wont recognize Canada

You wont recognize Canada or Parliament by the time Mr Harper and his oligarchical regime is done, that’s not news but is now reality. What I fear most is that we will become a democracy in name only and that any semblance of us being a 'Representative Democracy' will just be a historical note. I like many others have struggled with the real meaning of democracy and it is difficult to define, it has many forms in a governmental sense, but it is NOT the chance for a minority of citizens to delegate absolute power to one individual or even one group of individuals.

When I started this blog some 4 years ago in response to the cynical and manipulative suspension of parliament and democratic process late in 2008 Senator McCoy in responding to our, at that time, rather limited header, said democracy is “a multifaceted phenomenon, a much richer texture than just voting” and that “the rule of law is the single most important aspect of democracy” also that “freedom of speech, freedom of association & freedom of information are part of it. David Kilgour MP (retired) said:- “All too often in Canada and elsewhere there has been a tendency to equate democracy with the holding of elections, forgetting that democracy must be continuously nurtured – not just once every four or five years. Democracy demands vigilance, and a willingness to pose difficult questions and to take risks. I do not mean by that only taking to the streets to complain about what is wrong, but also advocating constructive alternatives.”

The above is a preamble to expressing the thought that the Omnibus Budget Bill is not only an attack upon the Canadian environment, the Canadian family, the Canadian social fabric and Parliamentary convention, but also is actually undemocratic. Not in the sense that it does not follow parliamentary rules, although there is now some debate about that, but in that it violates the very spirit of democracy. It changes the very fabric of our country in a myriad ways without the public, or for that matter the MPs actually charged with deciding, even having a full and detailed idea of the impact of these proposals. Those that oppose these changes are told by the Prime Minister of Canada and his Cabinet Ministers that they are 'an enemy of the state' are 'terrorists' and that if their views are considered 'political' their charitable status, and thus much of the funding for their work, will be subject to 'scrutiny'. Perhaps even 'investigated' by the new oil pipeline police. Even the Parliamentary Budget officer has been stonewalled in trying to get the necessary information to put before our 'representatives' in order that they may consider this from a position of knowledge and not rely on the Harper regime spin & sound bites.

Elizabeth May, who has done much to bring the FACTS of what is contained in this bill before both her collegues and the public in her preamble to her challenge to the bill C-38 on a point of order quoted James Travers, she says “I recall the words of the late journalist, a great Canadian, James Travers.  We were both on CBC Sunday Edition in the spring of 2009, discussing the threats to our institutions.  He commented that we really no longer have democracy in Canada. He said (and I am paraphrasing) “you can visit Ottawa and what you’ll see is a democracy theme park. The buildings are still there. You can tour Parliament, but you will no longer see democracy.”

That Mr Travers said this about the time that I found it necessary to start writing here about the threats to Canadian Democracy is no coincidence. The rise of the Harper Regime and the disdain shown by him and his followers very rapidly became obvious about that time. James was a staunch supporter of our democratic institutions and an outspoken critic of the manner in which it was being abused. I continue to admire his work and in particular commend you to his Shamocracy Series written back in 2009/10 which clearly show that the current abuse of both parliament and the Canadian citizen is nothing new from this lot. That I have provided links to his work on both occasions, about this time of year, when I become overwhelmed with despair in having any impact upon the dismantling of our parliamentary systems and erosion of our democracy is no coincidence either. His work stands as a stark reminder of how few citizens know or care about such matters, will all the publicity around this so called budget bill finally wake enough of us up to stop this 'want to be King' from solidifying power over everything and everybody in the PMO? I doubt it but we just have to keep hammering away at it if we want to continue to say that we live in one of the most open and caring countries in the world.

Many citizens are protesting in front of their Conservative MPs offices throughout the week and one such protest was greeted with a 'no trespassing' edict when trying to approach their MPs office, is this the sort of response we can expect from these megalomaniacs who accepted absolutely NO amendments to this 425 page bill in the conservative dominated committee stage and now face more than ONE THOUSAND proposed amendments tabled in the House of Commons by the various opposition partys, of which more that 500 will probably be deemed to be not "repetitive, frivolous or vexatious" and have to be voted upon.

Unless some conservative MPs grow some backbone, take the blinkers off, and vote against this bill it will eventually pass and we will have clearly moved into a new era whereby our MPs have indeed become simply performers in a theme park run by an uncaring oligarchy. They may as well walk out now, for NONE of their concerns, amendments, proposals or other efforts will have any effect upon this regime. So long democracy it was nice knowing you.

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