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, February 16, 2020

This is how democracies die.

A recent post by fellow blogger Lorne stuck a cord with me and despite my reluctance to comment about ANYTHING in these days of total political mayhem both near and far I will attempt to make a rational commentary upon some of the points made.
Like Lorne “my disenchantment with the world and its politics has reached new depths.”, after 10 years of highlighting the dangers to our democracy by those who would circumvent the hard won protections that our largely unenforceable democratic norms that we take for granted I am tired of fighting! As with my fellow blogger “ I wonder if writing about this broken world is the best use of whatever time remains to me”, certainty I probably have a little less time than he to continue the fight both personal and democratically, but also like he I too am 'drawn to the flame”!
There is little doubt that the excessive retoric we hear about daily from a certain would be dictator south of the border does much to keep my blood pressure elevated, how anyone who watches the nightly news can remain calm and unaffected is beyond my comprehension. Much of the news from across our own country is no less troubling where fortunately our leader does not take to twitter with a kneejerk reaction to each little unwelcome bit of news (even if certain other would be leaders do).
In that regard that our PM has repeated said that our rule of law should be followed and the the various police forces and their provincial counterparts must be the ones at this point to try and deescalate the hijacking of our nations rail system is the correct approach. It is unfortunate that the blockade of national rail line by a few self identified 'native supporters' should have been permitted to last beyond a few hours and receive such news attention which is what the said individuals seem to more interested in rather than anything constructive.
To return to to the article referenced above the fear expressed was “Trump’s “retribution tour” shows he has indeed learned something from acquittal: “The lesson is he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.” and to ruturn to the title of this piece "...a president is fully above the law in the most dangerous kind of way. This is how democracies die.”
Exactly! But the question is becoming what price that democracy when a handful of non leaders (or for that matter a few individuals in powerful positions) can hold an entire country hostage by blocking a few rail lines without and real consequences. Democracy is a fragile thing and in protecting those who would use our tolerance to promote their 'right' to protest to abuse the 'rights' of others must be made aware that they diminish their own access to such activities.
I fear that the United States is not the only “nation in precipitous and likely irreversible decline”!.

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Anonymous said...

I agree that the blocking of rail traffic by "native supporters" should have been ended quickly.

The Wetsuweten hereditary chiefs, from everything I can gather, are definitely in the right, and have been threatened by unimaginative, dull and extremely heavy-handed RCMP apparently unable to read the law on the matter, which includes a 1997 decision by the Supreme Court which solidifies the fact the nation never ceded their territory. For this, the leadership of the RCMP and whatever dimbulb judge(s) enabled them to threaten the people with dozens of heavily armed plods for over a year should be censured for their total ineptness and incomplete preparation. The Wetsuweten have every right to order Coastal Gas people and equipment off their territory, and to tell the RCMP to go home.

However, why other First Nations who are as entitled as I am to be on Wetsuweten's side, should feel that they can therefore stop rail traffic thousands of miles away with impunity is an intellectual stretch that doesn't pass the smell test. It's illegal, and injunctions have been issued to cease and desist. The RCMP then sit on their hands and do nothing 'cause that looks a bit dangerous for public servants. Bullying a few natives in BC, that's their favourite kind of gig. Have I gone out and stopped anything because I agree with the Wetsuweten? Of course not. Protest in support of Wetsuweten I'm all in favour of -- plugging up the country's railways is not the same as showing strong support for the cessation of injustice elsewhere.

These other disrupter First Nations seem logically confused beyond hope, and of course, so do the more wet white folk who seem similarly unequipped with logic.

Journalism in this country from big mainstream outlets is so amateurish that the reporters don't know the difference betwen Indian Affairs-imposed band councils and hereditary chiefs on unceded territory. So no background guidance from these corporate scribblers for the public. Just hodgepodge. Neither do our politicians or the RCMP or some judges have a clue. It's all a bit of a blur for these incompetents to come up to speed, so incorrect dogmatic out-of-their-left-ear-positions are taken based on being completely uninformed yet opinionated. Is this what we pay actual money taxes for? Apparently so.

We have all been left to rest on the good graces of real reporters working for small web and print outlets to investigate the situation on Wetsuweten territory, untangle it, and provide the reality. My sincere thanks to them for their determination and success in doing so, no thanks to the official plods in SWAT gear who tried to impede them from doing their jobs. The establishment news people have been as useless as they are at most things, keeping us all like good little mushrooms - in the dark and often deliberately misinformed, based on their owner's prejudices.

The RCMP don't mind hassling a few non law-breakers in BC with their mighty might for a year and instilling fear, but back off when there are hundreds of Mohawks illegally stopping trains. Worse than useless.

Is our democracy under fire? Yes, from official incompetentence and heavy-handedness where it's not warranted, and cowardice to face the real music when things spiral out of control on the railway front in this case. Fire the lot of them and hire competent people who can read.

I am not impressed. I have to listen to kenney's ravings, Ford's crap, Horgan's neoliberal NDP horse manure on MSM, but not heard a soul in a leadership position who has stood up and provided us with the unvarnished truth on Wetsuweten and unceded territory in general.


The Disaffected Lib said...

Rural, I'm with BM on this. It's telling how the narrative on the Wet'suet'en can be framed to suit so many arguments. The Liberals have one narrative, the Conservatives another. The NDP have a few narratives depending on whether it's the federal or provincial bunch. First Nations across this country have a collective narrative. Young people have a narrative. Progressive media outlets such as The Tyee and the National Observer present an entirely different narrative to that spun by the MSM. Then there are organizations such as the Council of Canadians.

The Wet'suwet'en protests serve as a lightning rod for a broader discontent that runs through Canada today. The non-aboriginal supporters have interests that, while not entirely coterminous with the Wet'suwet'en's have a real overlap. The progressives have shared interests. The young also have overlapping interests. Environmentalists find it easy to make common cause with many First Nations these days for they are doing much of the heavy lifting.

Now you can take each of those constituencies and parse them in many ways. Meddlers, shit-disturbers, anarchists, lunatics - anything you want. Andrew Scheer does that. Horgan does that. So does Trudeau. There are reasons they lie to us and we take them lightly at our peril, especially those concerned with the state of our democracy.

If Canadian democracy is so frail as to be imperiled by the Wet'suwet'en and their allies we need to ask ourselves why. If it's that frail how will our society function when the really disruptive impacts of climate change and a destabilized world begin rolling in - and that could happen in this decade?

You are right to be concerned about our democracy but the threat isn't the Wet'suwet'en or the First Nations generally. No, that's not the rot.

Owen Gray said...

The rail blockades are delicate, Rural. When the army went into Oaka, they made things worse. Granted the blockages are a huge and costly problem. But if we can't talk to each other, we're lost. Consider what has happened to the south of us.

Rural said...

It is impossible for observers such as myself to fully understand the situation in BC, the rhetoric from all sides simply cannot be trusted however I cannot in any way shape or form condone the actions that have shut down one of our major transportation and supply corridors. Those who have done so do little to enhance their point of view and have in fact done their cause a severe disservice! Its hard to talk openly from behind a barricade.