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, January 6, 2013

Getting their attention...

Much has been written about the Idle No More movement in recent weeks and I will not attempt to define it here for like the Occupy Movement before it the focus of the protests is becoming increasingly unclear. For Chief Spence it seems to be about conditions in her, and other, first nations community’s, for others it is about bill C45 removing many rivers from the Navigable water act, and for many, particularly the non native supporters, it is simply about the total disdain with which the Harper regime is treating Canadian citizens.

Whatever the central aim of these protests it is clear that there are an ever increasing number of dissatisfied citizens who are willing, perhaps even eager, to express their concerns by taking to the streets. This is understandable for the 'normal' means of communications with they who run this country have all but disappeared. Public enquires are no longer public, our Prime Minister is no longer available to the press, even our diplomats have to get their information from the newspaper. Our MPs, both in opposition or decorating the regimes back benches, are all but helpless to effect any influence upon this regimes decisions, debate and amendments on bills, be it in the House or in the Senate is all but a thing of the past. A group of citizens presenting a petition with thousands of signatures to their MP is all but ignored by both the recipient and the press and yet a handful of pre-settler descendants blocking major transportation corridors gets national attention, is it no wonder that such tactics are becoming the norm no matter what segment of our society wants to get some attention.

This paragraph from 'KirbyCairo' perhaps sums it up quite well:-

Even if a 'democracy' has a high degree of participation (which ours does not) and a distinctly independent judiciary (a claim that even in our country can be brought into question), modern democratic systems suffer from some very basic, let's call them 'gaps' in representation and legitimacy. One of these consistent gaps has been experienced in the treatment of 'minority' and 'national' groups within the state. Democracies, in other words, have to be very careful about how they treat minority and national groups, and so we can understand the need and importance of written constitutions and bills of rights, documents which are often written in part to protect certain rights against the will of a majority. In other words, we enshrine certain basic rights precisely because democracy has unavoidable 'gaps' in its structure. An elected government will not always protect the rights of minorities or national groups. The problem, of course is that constitutions and courts will not always be able to fill these gaps, and even when we believe that the constitution or the courts will eventually prevail, extra-political activism is often an essential part of the movement to bring the issues surrounding minority and national rights to public attention.

In other words, we enshrine certain basic rights precisely because democracy has unavoidable 'gaps' in its structure. An elected government will not always protect the rights of minorities or national groups.”

Indeed an elected government will not always protect the very 'democratic' system that brought it to power, will ignore the will of the people and their elected representatives and rule by fiat. Is it any wonder wonder that 'the natives are becoming restless' and citizens are taking to the streets. Its a sad statement of our time that it has come to this but I see no reduction in such actions in the foreseeable future just as I see no return to an acceptable democratic model of governance in the foreseeable future.

Having seen where such unrest leads in Europe of late I fear for the future when such methods become necessary to protect our basic right to be heard by those whom would rule with little regard to their citizens rights and aspirations.

Let you voices be heard be it by letters to the editor, commenting on blogs and web sites or gathering peacefully in the streets. Speak up now before it is too late.
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