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, January 23, 2011

On Political Advertising and Funding.

With the recent round of 'advertising' by political partys and the character assassination contained in many of them one has to wonder what, if anything they have to do with our democratic process. When you add this out-of-election-period spate of 'advertising' with the recent statement from our ruling regime that they will once again seek to discontinue the per vote funding that gives opposition partys, large and small, a least a fighting chance of getting their message out to the voters and countering the resources available to whatever party is currently in power, then we must conclude damn little!

One must conclude that, at least so far as the ruling regime is concerned, its all about retaining power and demonising any that might challenge that, about untruths and innuendo being more effective than truth and information, about how money can buy or influence voting pasterns. At this point the opposition must be congratulated for not sinking to respond with personal attack ads but concentrating on policy however I wonder if this is going to now be the norm....... a constant year round barrage of political advertising by those partys that can afford to pay for such unnecessary and partisan posturing.

The opposition does have an excuse, they were after all 'attacked' plus it is their JOB to hold the government to account and to point out flaws in questionable legislation and spending. I do hope they continue to take the high road as things escalate as they no doubt will.

It would seem that this is all in preparation for yet another test of seeing who blinks first as the budget is presented, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May had this to say recently:-
A Prime Minister in a Minority government preparing a budget should be meeting with Opposition leaders. The Finance minister should be doing the rounds with opposition finance critics. Key stakeholders should be getting a lot of time for their proposals to fight the deficit, while continuing economic recovery and creating full-time, well-paying jobs.

But collaboration and olive branches are not in Mr. Harper’s repertoire. Attack ads clearly are.........
Clearly Mr. Harper is in no mood to make Parliament work. These ads are the Parliamentary equivalent of a declaration of war............. Attack ads are anti-democratic by definition.
It turns out they are also anti-Canadian. Thanks to Toronto Star journalist
Susan Delacourt’s blog "Ad standards" I read the plea from Advertising Standards Canada to political parties. “
With this all in mind perhaps any political advertisement should be required to show the following disclaimer during the entire length of the broadcast or at the bottom of every newspaper or on-line advertisement.
Political parties are exempt from “truth in advertising” requirements of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards. “
It seems that not only can MPs get away with untruths and personal attacks in the HoC and be protected by 'parliamentary privileged' but the political partys can fabricate any kind of fiction for their advertising with no repercussions, at least so far as the broadcasting and advertising industry is concerned. Hardly news, but hardly the sort of thing you would expect in a 'democratic' country either.

We cannot leave this subject without pointing out one lie that is being recirculated in some of these ads, that being that a coalition government is somehow wrong, unconstitutional and a thing to be feared. I call BULLSHIT. I will not repeat here the many arguments that show it is both a legitimate form of governance or point to the many democracy's across the world that have (or have had) a coalition government, I will however say that I am disappointed that the opposition have so strongly rejected the notion that such a cooperative government is possible when we all know that if and when it become politically advantageous to do so they will rapidly change their tune and seek to form such an alliance.

Must we descend further into a what can only be called a majority dictatorship from our current minority dictatorship before our “representatives” and the citizens who elect them wake up a realize that democracy is far more precious than one particular ideology or another, and lies, spin and personal attacks have no part in such a system.
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1 comment:

Alan Goodhall said...

No surprise the CPC is fear mongering over coalitions. They are after all an agreement to work together to attain a common goal - the CPC has a proven track record of marching to the beat of their own drummer regardless of the wishes of the majority of citizens represented through the majority of opposition MP's.

Maybe we should take to the streets while we still can.