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

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Is this dialog?

Our header declares “Democracy Requires Dialog”, part of such required dialog is that between those charged with the responsibility of representing our interests in parliament. This last week there have been a number of instances where the “dialog” has been less than cordial, less than circumstances required and even highly disruptive. It has been in fact not so much a dialog as a simply a waste of time and effort on the part of those participating in the committee “dialogs”!

Let us first look at the parliamentary committee examining bill C9 , the omnibus budget bill. As our friend over at Accidental Deliberations has so ably pointed out this 800 or so page bill contains much that should be considered separately and at length but our parliamentarians under the urging of the Harper Regime not only failed to split the non budgetary items off but spent an average of less than 30 seconds per clause in “debating” the merits of this legislation. That’s not a dialog, that’s a rubber stamp.

It now goes before the Senate and whilst there are those who are calling for a more rigorous examination (most notably Senator McCoy) it is improbable that those few who are genuinely trying to do their job will succeed in overriding those increasing numbers of Harperites in the red chamber who will simply do as the dictator says and add their rubber stamp to this enormous and far reaching bill.

The way in which the Harper Regiem wishes for our parliamentary system to run was show quite clearly in another committee this week when total chaos ensued in the inquiry into the Jaffer affair. Not only did the Harperites prevent the requested officials from attending said inquiry in contravention of the established rules and practices of such committees, but they sent certain Ministers to deliberately disrupt the meeting by interrupting the chair with points of order despite not having standing in said meeting. The ensuing shouting match reminded me of the pictures we have seen from other less democratic parliaments where fistycuffs have broke out. Are we to descend to that level of “dialog” in parliament, it seems that there are those who would do anything to stall proper debate and accountability in the House and so I would not be at all surprised if that happens soon. I wonder what loophole in the rules and procedures the Harper Regime will use to justify that?

Just to highlight just how little respect these folks have for democracy and the rule of law we have these two totally avoiding any dialog:-

“Two government officials are playing cat-and-mouse with a Commons committee bailiff trying to serve them a summons. MPs at the ethics committee are hearing how Prime Minister Stephen Harper's director of communications, and another political aide, did not return repeated calls from the bailiff over two days. The bailiff also told the committee clerk that he had shown up at their government offices, but was barred entry and could not deliver the summons.”

As for respect for the public, lying about the status of legislation hardly seems respectful or meaningful dialog:-

PMO Communications Director Dimitri Soudas: “We have a minority in the Senate, and since Parliament has resumed, not a single bill, including the budget bill, has been passed into law by the Senate.” Senator Cowan notes that 6 bills have been passed by the Senate since parliament resumed and that the budget bill has not yet arrived there.(h/t Kady O'Malley via Twitter and http://shorternet.blogspot.com/ )

If this post is rather more critical of our MPs that usual it should be no surprise to those who saw the above exchange. I felt physically sick when I saw a brief clip on the news, this is not debate or dialog, this is what the final death spasms of our parliamentary democracy look like. No party and few MPs are free of complicity in its demise for if you don’t protect and nurture our democracy but just stand by and watch you are no less guilty than those who are actively providing the poison and those who support the killer.

Would that more Canadians could see what an insidious poison the Harper Regime is and recognize the sickness brought on by it!

Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

No comments: