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, November 9, 2014

Lest We Forget

Indeed we must not forget, not just the terrible toll that war takes upon those who engage in it both directly and indirectly but we must also not forget what the second world war was about and how it all started.

I must give a brief history lesson here of the period BEFORE the war in Europe which in my view is important to understand when talking about democracy as I do in this blog. It all started with one megalomaniac who was the leader of a political party and was elected to a MINORITY government in 1933, that he was arrested and found guilty of treason some 10 years earlier for an attempted coup did not reduce his popular support. Despite all the resources of big business and the state being thrown behind the Nazis' campaign to achieve saturation coverage all over Germany and “a combination of terror, repression and propaganda being mobilized in every... community, large and small, across the land." they did not gain a majority in the election. But they never the less managed to pass The Enabling Act giving them de-facto absolute power.. The Orwellian named "Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich" gave Hitler the power to enact laws without the involvement of the German legislature.

In his speech regarding this legislation Hitler said “By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life. The advantages for the individual which may be derived from compromises with atheistic organizations do not compare in any way with the consequences which are visible in the destruction of our common religious and ethical values. The Government will treat all other denominations with objective and impartial justice. “ We all know how that worked out dont we!
It must be noted that prior to and during this 'vote' of the legislature the various opposition party members were either excluded or 'intimidated' by Hitlers 'followers'. The point here is that no matter how brought about Hitler was given the legal right to govern as a dictator by the very legislature that he superseded and once he had that power could pass 'laws' that suited his purpose without interference.

So as we think of those who fought and died , as some will say “for our democracy”, let us not forget how fragile that difficult to define but essential Canadian value is, and how quickly it can be subverted from within the very system it supports, and once passed how difficult it is to change laws that reduce the ability of legislators and citizens to keep a balance between citizen rights and state powers.

Lest We Forget.........

Why should we be aware of this possibility? These quotes from Lawrence Martin, new book Harperland: The Politics of Control give us a little insight......

Stephen Harper is probably the most dangerous human being ever elevated to power in Canada,” Farley Mowat

Parliament can hardly be weakened any more than it already is. Harper can’t go much further without making the institution dysfunctional. He is trying to control every aspect of House business. In fact, it will have to be returned to its former state by someone if we are to have a democracy.”
Former Commons Speaker Peter Milliken

Canadians are sleepwalking through dramatic social, economic and political changes surreptitiously being implemented by a government abusing omnibus bills and stifling public and parliamentary debate,” .........
Mr. Harper has not played within the rules. Having attained absolute power, he has absolutely abused that power to the maximum.”
Former information commissioner Robert Marleau

Then there is this from Peter H. Russell, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Toronto.

Since gaining a parliamentary majority, the Harper Government’s disdain for parliamentary democracy has become painfully evident. In a minority government situation that disdain was barely held in check. But in 2011, when our first-past-the-post system handed the Conservatives a parliamentary majority, the Conservative leadership was free to give full rein to its contempt for parliament.”

Constitutional expert Peter Russell

And finally this from Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in her book Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada.

Our system is not supposed to look like a dictatorship. It does not involve central control by a prime minister's office. It does not involve non-stop partisan campaigning in a permanent state of heightened electoral warfare in the absence of governing. Democracy should look a lot like the people who elected their government.”

And this.....

We are on a slippery slope to the loss of our democracy, Power is now so concentrated in the Prime Minister’s Office and its unelected staff members that Canadian democracy already resembles a dictatorship punctuated by elections.”
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May

Lest We Forget.........

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