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, July 27, 2014

Harpers “Democracy”

With the Harper Regime loosing a series of rulings in the Supreme Court of Canada from their plans for the senate to prostitution laws to his nomination to the court it should be no surprise that as well as Harpers direct attack upon Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin he now has set his minions out to attack the Supreme Court in general. It would seem that the Court making rulings that follow the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is now a “problem” and that groups using the Charter to defend their rights when a new attack upon our democracy issues from the Con Oligarchy is somehow antidemocratic.

Andrew Coyne writes

...............over on the democratically elected house, unintended irony was also the order of the day. In a story bearing the imperishable headline “Conservatives warn of diminishing Parliamentary power,” Conservative MP Larry Miller told the Post’s John Ivison of his growing dismay that the “courts are making laws.”
“I’m all for rights and freedoms,” he said, “but the Charter complicates things.” The problem, as far as rights and freedoms are concerned, is that we have “complicated” them by writing them into law..............
The idea of codifying rights in law they tend to regard as a vaguely Gallic plot, perhaps forgetting Canada’s original Bill of Rights, the handiwork of a certain John George Diefenbaker.
Miller does not disappoint. “Pierre Trudeau,” he said, “did this willfully and deliberately, taking rights away from the majority to protect the minority.” Can you believe it? Protecting the minority. I mean, who the hell elected him?..................
As things stand, MPs seem content to abdicate this responsibility to the courts, so they can pick fights with them later. “Why elect people and pay them to do something the courts are doing,” Miller grumbles. Why, indeed.
Just to make it clear that this is not just Larry Miller spouting off but a directive from above, we have another report of the same talking points being floated from the other side of the country......

Dan Albas, the MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla, says that while he respects the courts he also believes an increasing number of groups are using litigation to advance policies the government will not put forward. 
"Often the Plan B is to do an end-run around our democratic process and turn to the courts where it seems some judges are quite happy to engage. This can result in decisions contrary to what have been decided in our democratic process," Albas told CBC Radio's The House.
The Con view of 'democratic process' being create laws without consultation, limit debate and force legislation through as quickly as possible whilst spending thousands of dollars of public money promoting their view and calling those with a different point of view anti-Canadian or worse. This is of course now standard practice of the Harper Regime – anything or anyone who blocks or disagrees with their wishes is wrong and must be eliminated
The government has, for all intents and purposes, successfully defunded Canada’s advocacy movement — well, those advocates that disagree with them anyway, like women’s rights and child-care activists, environmental and scientific researchers. They have eliminated funding for roundtable consensus-building initiatives as well as non-governmental organizations dedicated to promoting human rights and equality for women around the globe.
The list is long and depressing.
The government has used, or rather abused, its power in so many ways that Canadians have perhaps grown immune to the attacks on democracy and civil society.

Whilst the following comment was written in response to a CBC article about the behaviour in the Ontario Legislature it is just as valid to all politicians in all provinces and those in the federal legislature.
I'm old, and have watched politics and politicians all my adult life. But this crop of politicians from all levels of government all across the country exhibit anger and partisanship at a level I have never before seen. Civil behaviour is tossed out the window and the work of governing takes second place to scoring points and attempting to destroy opposing politicians and opposing parties. Win at all costs takes priority over serving those who they were elected to govern.

We should not accept this behaviour in our politicians. We need to demand that they submit people of integrity and civility for election. We should demand that personal attacks on each other end. We should demand that political debate be just that... debating the merits of the different party proposals for action, and we should demand that governments be flexible enough to through out parts of their legislation which debate has shown to be unacceptable to most Canadians and to incorporate the best ideas from opposition parties.

Our system of government would be far more efficient, less wasteful and satisfy the needs and want of more Canadians if they would clean up their act.
"Gr8 Scott " is correct we should not accept this behaviour in our politicians and I would suggest that the recent upsurge of non cooperative partisanship across the country is in part due to the various partys watching Harper ignore parliamentary convention, stifle debate, unilaterally change the rules and attack those who disagree with him both within parliament and within the advocacy community. That he has thus far 'got away with it' and, unless the public wakes up to his dictatorial ambitions, may well continue to do so scares the hell out of me.

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Owen Gray said...

Things will not change until the public revolts, Rural. So far, the general populace is quiet.

Rural said...

When those who do speak out are ignored or sidelined it may well come to that Owen. I do hope we can get change for the better via the ballot box but if not then it could get very ugly....!