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, October 29, 2017

The Demise of Democracy

A recent post by Owen over at Northern Reflections brought my attention to this highlighting an “investigation” by a long time former MP.

Both major parties have made a mockery of Canada’s electoral system, which was on its sickbed when the Liberals came to power. It’s now on life support — according to the investigations of former Liberal MP Paul Szabo.

According to Szabo, the Liberal Party thwarts local voters to cherry-pick its chosen nominees. The campaign expense reports of some of those nominees are often late, incomplete and perhaps even illegal. Worse, many of the memberships that secured the nomination for one candidate over others were allegedly fraudulent. “

There is little doubt that the whole system by which candidates are selected is being 'gamed' by most, if not all, political partys.

What Szabo has flagged in the federal system — the undemocratic and even potentially illegal manipulation of the nomination process — is raging at the provincial level as well. As Ontario gears up for its next election, PC leader Patrick Brown is knee-deep in charges of skullduggery bordering on corruption.
His party’s nomination system has been rife with ballot stuffing, fake memberships, fake membership forms, people registered without their knowledge, payment or permission, as well as cheating so egregious that it elicited a rebuke from one of the staunchest Tories of them all: former Conservative Senator Marjory LeBreton.”

The series of (lets be nice and call them) negative ad's currently being aired in Ontario from various political partys and their supporters does nothing to make me think that the final results are not being manipulated by those with the resources to 'buy' our election process.

Ultimately, what Szabo is addressing is nothing less than the demise of democracy. From the selection of party nominees through to election of our public officials, the will of the people has been reduced to the predatory manipulations of a few.
Whether it’s the PMO pulling strings to get its cronies nominated, a band of unscrupulous partisan techies suppressing the vote by robocalls, or a lazy and ineffective Elections Canada cutting slack when it should be bringing down the hammer on miscreants, we are not headed to a good place.”

The old adage from historian and moralist known simply as Lord Acton back in the 1800s comes to mind ....: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The ease with which large portions of our population can be 'manipulated' via various on line media by those with almost unlimited resources to do so should concern us all!

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The Mound of Sound said...

Democracy has indeed broken down. During the Harper years I labeled him a "fractional prime minister" due to his absolute focus on a narrow number of issues - fossil energy, crime and punishment, pecking away at the social safety net - to the utter exclusion of the major issues of the day, looming threats to our nation and society.

Sort of like electing a new captain of your ship to then discover that he only handles shoals, not icebergs.

A few days ago I stumbled across an article in the Financial Times discussing modern politics as a "displacement activity," a term used to describe the infuriating fondness of our political leadership to become absorbed in secondary matters, even trivialities, while they ignore the really pressing problems of the day.

The writer used the example of Trump who occupied most of a week feuding with the widow of a slain soldier to the exclusion of the pressing issues besetting Congress and the White House.

"He’s not alone: politics in many western countries has become a displacement activity. Most politicians bang on about identity while ignoring automation, climate change and the imminent revolution in medicine. They talk more about the 1950s than the 2020s."

Parties, whether in government or opposition, are so focused on their partisan fortunes that the public interest and wellbeing of the nation are often ignored, neglected.

Rural said...

Unfortunately as you say partisan politics has indeed become the focus of our elected representatives, Mound, and those more recently elected soon become part of that mindset despite their best efforts.