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, January 29, 2012

Oxymoron - Open Government

Apparently there has been an “Open Government Consultation” conducted by Treasury Board over the last couple of weeks. Whilst I am not up on such 'consultations' David Eaves is very much so, I will then hand it over to him in these extracts from a recent post at Eaves.ca. He tells us that you can explore on the Treasury Board website and also that Tracey Lauriault has tracked some of the submissions on her website.

As part of the Open Government Partnership commitments it would be great for the government to commit to guarantee that every request for information made of it would include a digital version of the document that can be searched.
Second, the government should commit that every document it publishes be available online. For example, I remember in 2009 being told that if I wanted a copy of the Health Canada report "Human Health in a Changing Climate:A Canadian Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Adaptive Capacity" I had to request of CD, which was then mailed to me which had a PDF copy of the report on it. Why was the report not simply available for download? Because the Minister had ordered it not to appear on the website. Instead, I as a taxpayer and to see more of my tax dollars wasted for someone to receive my mail, process it, then mail me a custom printed cd. Enabling ministers to create barriers to access government information, simply because they do not like the contents, is an affront to the use of tax payer dollars and our right to access information.
Finally, Allow Government Scientists to speak directly to the media about their research.
It has become a reoccurring embarrassment. Scientists who work for Canada publish an internationally recognized ground break paper that provides some insight about the environment or geography of Canada and journalists must talk to government scientists from other countries in order to get the details. Why? Because the Canadian government blocks access. Canadians have a right to hear the perspectives of scientists their tax dollars paid for – and enjoy the opportunity to get as well informed as the government on these issues.
Thus, lift the ban that blocks government scientists from speaking with the media.”

I think by now we all realize that its not just a particular minister who blocks access to unfavorable reports but that this practice is in fact now the standard practice for the current Regime. Whilst I suspect that this 'consultation', as with so many other initiatives from the Harper Regime is nothing more than smoke and mirrors to keep folks happy whilst they go about doing exactly as they intended in the first place, David has submitted a number of suggestions and whilst I urge you to read his entire post here are a few of them which indeed make a lot of sense.

Redefine Public as Digital: Pass an Online Information Act
a) Any document it produces should be available digitally, in a machine readable format. The sham that the government can produce 3000-10,000 printed pages about Afghan detainees or the F-35 and claim it is publicly disclosing information must end.
b) Any data collected for legislative reasons must be made available - in machine readable formats - via a government open data portal.
c) Any information that is ATIPable must be made available in a digital format. And that any excess costs of generating that information can be born by the requester, up until a certain date (say 2015) at which point the excess costs will be born by the ministry responsible. There is no reason why, in a digital world, there should be any cost to extracting information - indeed, I fear a world where the government can't cheaply locate and copy its own information for an ATIP request as it would suggest it can't get that information for its own operations.
Use Open Data to drive efficiency in Government Services: Require the provinces to share health data – particularly hospital performance - as part of its next funding agreement within the Canada Health Act.
Finally before we leave Dave and examine the other side of the coin he points out how far behind Canada is in providing open data to its citizens.

Open Budget and Actual Spending Data
For almost a year the UK government has published all spending data, month by month, for each government ministry (down to the £500 in some, £25,000 in others). More over, as an increasing number of local governments are required to share their spending data it has lead to savings, as government begin to learn what other ministries and governments are paying for similar services.
It is interesting to see that even as they take submissions about improving access to data they are actively doing exactly the opposite. The Sixth Estate points out:-

......it’s increasingly difficult to find any Royal Commission reports online anymore, thanks to the government’s inexplicable practice of taking down their websites and hiding backup copies on a National Archives server which blocks Google from indexing its contents.

Presently, the Harper regime’s Minister of Graft, the Dishon. Tony Clement, is busy looking for symbolic measures to promote the idea that Canada has “open government.” Restoring full, indexed, and easily accessible Commission reports would be a good first step towards that goal.”

To cap it all off and to reinforce that the Harperites have no intention of letting their citizens know what is going on Poggi gives us this little snippet of information:-

The House of Commons gets back to work next week and that means that parliamentary committees resume as well. In fact the Standing Committee on Health will meet tomorrow afternoon.
Kady O'Malley, as @kady on Twitter, was kind enough to link to this page which provides the schedule of upcoming meetings. O'Malley also took note of the number of padlocks associated with the entries which indicates that a meeting will be held in camera — closed to the public.
Of the ten meetings currently listed, eight of them will be held in camera. Admittedly this isn't something I've kept track of but that seems high. It's worth noting that aside from preventing the press and public from viewing the proceedings, taking the meeting behind closed doors automatically binds the participants — including opposition MPs — to secrecy.
Eight out of ten would certainly suggest one of two things: either something is in the works that a lot of us won't like or keeping the public in the dark about what goes on in committees has become the default position of this government. Either way, democracy loses.”

So not only can we or the media not examine the workings of these committees but our elected representatives are not allowed to speak of such 'debates' with their constituents or the media.
This should not come as a surprise to anyone following the steady reduction of anything other than “approved” spin from this regime and the ever increasing suppression of any reports or views that do not closely follow their ideological agenda. So whilst I thank David and all the others who have submitted ideas and comments to this 'consultation' I do hope that none of them are expecting a positive outcome from it.
Seems that the public is doomed to be just like Schults from Hogans Heros by the time the next election comes around “I see NOTHING! I know NOTHING!” and have blind faith in Herr Harper.
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Change on the way for BC?

This was in my in-box today, from Fair Voting BC.  I am encouraged by news of so many groups that have spawned (to use a word from my sons' gaming world) into existence for the sole purpose of re-claiming a democratic society.   If change can happen in BC, I believe it can happen across the entire country, but as with all things demanding political will, we have to help make it happen.

January 26, 2012
Networks and Partnerships for Democratic Reform
Dear Democratic Reform Supporters:
As both the western and Chinese New Years get underway, our news is mainly about networking and partnerships. Fair Voting BC is pleased to announce the following:

Vancouver City Council To Renew Request for Power to Choose Best Voting System for City: Fair Voting BC has had numerous discussions with Vancouver city councillors over the years about addressing some of the problems with the city’s democratic processes. We were therefore very pleased that Councillor Andrea Reimer has introduced a motion calling on the province to change the charter to allow the city freedom to choose its own voting system and to make detailed ballot data publicly available (our request! See last month's newsletter). While council generally appears to be favourable, the minister responsible, Ida Chong, stated that she’ll only implement the requests if the Local Government Elections Task Force and the Union of BC Municipalities agrees, so there’s still a lot of work to be done yet before we win our democratic rights. Fair Voting BC will be speaking in favour of this motion when council hears speakers (likely next Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning). It would be great to have FVBC supporters join us and speak in favour of the motion yourselves - there's strength (and fun) in numbers! Check out the meeting agenda and, if you can come, please send a note to Jim DeLaHunt (jdlh@jdlh.com) to get put on the speaker's list.

Fair Voting BC Partners With Party X on Democratic Dialogue Series: Party X is a Vancouver-based non-profit community of tech innovators and social entrepreneurs who are developed new web-based tools for building public consensus. Fair Voting BC is delighted to partner with Party X to offer a dialogue series later this spring on issues of democracy, technology and collective decision-making. Our first organizing meeting will take place downtown at 6pm on Feb 1 (next Wed) and we invite anyone who’s interested to join us. Please click here to register (no charge).

Integrity BC Invites FVBC Supporters to Sign Petition Banning Union and Corporate Donations: Integrity BC is a relatively new non-partisan organization championing accountability and integrity in BC politics and we are pleased that two of Fair Voting BC’s founding directors sit on their board: Nick Loenen (former Socred MLA) and David Marley (former assistant to the BC Attorney General). Integrity BC is currently running a campaign called “Who Really Runs BC?” which calls for a ban on corporate and union funding of political parties, a cap on personal donations and a Citizen's Assembly to study and make binding recommendations on a host of other reforms, including banning contributions from outside B.C. They invite you to visit their website for more information on this issue, to sign a petition and to volunteer to help collect signatures.

Liberal Convention Supports Alternative Vote: At the Liberal Convention last week, the party adopted a motion that recognizes the failings of Single Member Plurality voting and endorsing the Alternative Vote (AV). AV is much like our Single Member Plurality system, but it substitutes a preferential ballot for the current ‘Mark an X’ ballot. With a preferential ballot, you rank the candidates (1, 2, 3, etc). If no candidate wins 50% on the first vote, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the ballots supporting them transferred to those voters’ second choice. This repeats until someone has 50% support. While there are some (arguably small) benefits of using AV, it is by no means a form of proportional representation (despite some confusion in news reports). Fair Vote Canada regards AV as a non-reform, and Fair Voting BC calls on the Liberal Party to initiate a combined multipartisan and public deliberative dialogue to build consensus on voting reforms that can be broadly supported.

Visit our Website

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Enemy of the people of Canada.

Who is the enemy, you decide!
In a sworn affidavit released Tuesday to The Canadian Press, Andrew Frank says he was told by his supervisor at ForestEthics that a PMO official had referred to their organization as an "enemy of the state." The affidavit describes how staff were told their jobs were at risk after the official told Tides Canada, which supports the work of ForestEthics, that the government would "take down" all of the agency's projects unless it cut ForestEthics loose.
Frank says he was fired from his job as communications adviser at ForestEthics on Monday over his plans to go public. His affidavit details a series of conversations allegedly held in early January between ForestEthics and Tides staff.
Mr Frank's open letter follows-

 A Whistleblower’s Open Letter to the Citizens of Canada

My name is Andrew Frank. I grew up in a small town in the Okanagan valley of British Columbia. My granddad taught me how to fish. My father was a well‐respected lawyer known for his unwavering integrity, and my mother was a favourite kindergarten teacher. Both have always impressed upon me the importance of telling the truth. Today, I am taking the extraordinary step of risking my career, my reputation and my personal friendships, to act as a whistleblower and expose the undemocratic and potentially illegal pressure the Harper government has apparently applied to silence critics of the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil tanker/pipeline plan.

As I have detailed in a sworn affidavit, no less than three senior managers with Tides Canada and ForestEthics (a charitable project of Tides Canada), have informed me, as the Senior Communications Manager for ForestEthics, that Tides Canada CEO, Ross McMillan,was informed by the Prime Minister’s Office, that ForestEthics is considered an “Enemy of the Government of Canada,” and an “Enemy of the people of Canada.”This language was apparently part of a threat by the Prime Minister’s Office to challenge the charitable status of Tides Canada if it did not agree to stop funding ForestEthics,specifically its work opposing oil sands expansion and construction of oils and tanker/pipeline routes in Canada. This is especially concerning because ForestEthics is a legally registered intervenor in the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel process, currently examining the Enbridge oil tanker/pipeline proposal. By attempting to silence a registered participant in the review, I fear the Harper government may have permanently damaged the integrity of this process.

After waiting more than two weeks for Tides Canada to go public with this story, it has become clear to me that the organization is too afraid of reprisals from the government to act. Tides is responsible for the employment of hundreds of Canadians and dozens of crucial environmental projects like the Great Bear Rainforest, and has been understandably paralyzed in challenging the Prime Minister’s Office on this matter. I on the other hand, am speaking out as a private citizen because I feel that the rights and civil liberties of my fellow Canadian citizens, including freedom of expression and freedom of speech, are at risk. There was a look of fear and disbelief on my fellow staff members’ faces the day they were told our own government had labelled them enemies of the state. Our administration coordinator had tears in her eyes. In the days that followed, our employees couldn’t sleep well. They lost their appetites, and they began to fear for their own personal safety and civil liberties, and those of their families and loved ones. They began looking over their shoulder, out of fear and paranoia, because their own government might be watching them.
The language of anti‐terrorism, when applied to Canadian citizens who legitimately question the wisdom of an unsustainable oil tanker/pipeline plan, is an affront to the rights of all Canadians. It is the language of bullying. It is language that is violent and above the law, and harkens to previous examples of RCMP surveillance of Canadians for political rather than legal purposes, including Tommy Douglas. The casual use of such loaded language at the top of our government is immoral, unethical and probably illegal. A strongly opposed oil tanker/pipeline plan is now the least of this government’s worries. In its heavy‐handed attempt to override public opposition, the government has breached the public’s trust. I now invite Canadians, including the media and members of the House of Commons, to challenge the unacceptable behaviour described in this letter and sworn in my affidavit.

Approximately three weeks from now, Mr. Harper will visit China on an official state visit. In China, Amnesty International asserts that a half‐million “enemies of the government” are held in prisons without charge. If the argument in favour of the Enbridge pipeline is that Canada stands to make billions selling oil to an oppressive Chinese government, then my answer is “no thank you.” That’s not “ethical oil,” especially when profiting from this oil wealth requires repressive tactics against critical citizens ‐ tactics we would normally associate with the Chinese state, not Canada. The events of the last month have ensured that I will never take my rights as a Canadian citizen for granted again. That is both sad and encouraging. Sad that I ever had to question them, and encouraging because I have been reminded of another lesson taught to me by my parents: the best way to stop a bully is to stand up to him. I invite you to join me in expressing your voice on what is perhaps the most pressing moral crisis facing our nation today.

Together we can hold this government to account and prevent the dismantling of Canadian civil society and the further erosion of citizens’ rights.

 Andrew Frank is a Canadian citizen, and the former Senior Communications Manager with ForestEthics Canada. He is also an instructor in the Environmental Protection Technology  program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, in Surrey, British Columbia.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Prime Minister Dad

In case you missed it Rick Mercer latest “rant” once again says what others, myself included, say in a page full in just a few sentences, and once again he is right on the money.

Democracy is very messy. In fact on paper it doesn't even make a heck of a lot of sense. For starters it involves all of us, and by all of us I mean the people. And what’s worse, people’s opinions, which only leads to debate. And let's face it, no matter what the issue, for every sensible person on either side there are two idiots who are addicted to the sound of their own voice. I should know I'm one of them.

But lately, I’ve noticed that some of the messy parts of democracy are slowly being done away with. Like debate. Remember debate? No, neither do I. It's been a while.

For example, a couple of months ago, Stephen Harper decided to change the name of the Canadian Navy to The Royal Canadian Navy. There was no debate. He just announced it. Now personally I don't care one way or the other, but people in the navy do. Some of them love it; some of them hate it. But the important thing is nobody asked for their opinion. Who cares what they think? They just serve in the Navy. Who cares what we think? We just pay for it. Nope, dad said, end of story.

And now we have this pipeline business. Now I realize I should have paid more attention to this a year ago, but like a lot of Canadians it's just showing up on my radar now. And honestly, I don’t know if the pipeline is a good idea or a bad idea. But the good news is I no longer have to look at both sides. None of us do. No, because dad has made it perfectly clear, there’s only one side to this issue. And anyone who thinks otherwise is an enemy to Canada. I’ve got to say this is way better than the old days when we had the burden of being informed citizens on our shoulders.

No, now we have a new job: to be seen and not heard. Welcome to Canada 2012. His house, his rules. God save the King.

More recent home truths from Rick about our failing democracy Here and Here.
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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Due Process versus Economic Interests

Its hard for someone blogging about democracy to ignore the recent efforts by our Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver to call into question the perfectly legitimate concerns by both Canadian citizens and environmentalists from outside of Canada about the impacts of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline by calling such people “Radicals” and how “They use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest”. Much has been said across the internet since he made this statement defending those 1000s of citizens and groups who have registered to speak to this proposal some of whom we may be sure will be speaking for and on behalf of the several foreign owned oil companies who are no less a “foreign special interest group” than are some the environmentalists.

This is clearly interference in what is supposed to be an independent and unbiased environmental assessment of said proposal, that such a statement should be made before the hearing are barely underway once again show how little regard the Harper regimen has for democracy and due process.
Although it is quite obvious that an oil pipeline over the Rockies and through the pristine forests of BC and oil tankers plying the waters of BCs inner waterways would create a grave risk to one of the most beautiful and ecologically special regions in the world that is not the point here. The point is that the hearing to decide if this is something which something Canadians want, if it presents to grave a risk to proceed, if the citizens directly effected by the construction AND the possible aftermath, must be both unbiased and SEEN to be unbiased. It wont be of course, how can it be with the millions and millions of dollars profit at stake for big oil, their pockets are deep but the minister is concerned that a little 'foreign money' going to those that would oppose this project would 'undermine' the process.

Having just returned from kneecapping the process of trying to come to consensus about future efforts to reduce human impact on the environment I would not expect much from our Environment Minister Peter Kent either, he also obviously has no regard for democratic process. Did you hear of any debate in the House about withdrawing from Kyoto prior to that autonomous decision being announced, I sure did not! As for actually doing his job, encouraging debate, and enabling protection of Canadian land, air, water, flora and fauna...... don’t hold your breath!

We must be aware that Harper is not the only one who has embraced the mantra of “father knows best” and has decided that if the citizens don’t like the way he his doing things then lets not change what we are doing but change the rules so that they cannot stop the process even if they want to. The Ontario McGinty government some time ago reduced environmental hearing criteria and municipal control over any wind turbine installations in Ontario. Once again it matters not whether you support or oppose such projects being inflicted upon rural Ontario but that the affected citizens have NO SAY in where, how or if, such industrial generators should appear in their community.

We wonder when Mr Harper will make his next move and take a leaf out of Mr McGintys book and suspend or reduce such hearings for the oil industry. But wait - A report in today's Globe suggests we could soon be seeing another instance of Harper bullying and intimidation tactics. They say “The Conservative-dominated Commons finance committee is set to begin a review of the charity sector, and several activists say government MPs have told business groups that the committee will look at the environmental sector’s transparency, its advocacy role and the flow of funds from outside the country. “
Seems that they are already working on that one!

I am not the only one concerned.

I think it’s inappropriate for a minister or a prime minister to interfere and intervene and frankly to intimidate an environmental process as it would be to interfere or intervene in a court case,”

The purpose of an environmental assessment is to ask tough questions and hear the answers. Why does Mr. Oliver so strongly object to this? Do we no longer live in a democracy? Do our citizens no longer have the right to ask tough questions and express their opinions?”
Sierra Club of Canada Executive Director John Bennett

The repeated attacks on environmental review by your government merit mention.  The federal law for environmental review was first introduced under the Mulroney government.  Your government has dealt repeated blows to the process, both through legislative changes, shoved through in the 2010 omnibus budget bill, and through budget cuts. “

When I started this blog 3 years ago I was 'concerned about our democracy' under the Harper regime's minority government, now I am simply scared to death of what this dictatorial and ideological oligarchy is doing to our long standing and hard won democratic processes. We can agree or disagree on any particular issue but when the processes to come to a decision are attacked, ignored or circumnavigated, be they such hearings as this or within the house of commons, then we have arrived at the point where those that have compared Harper with a dictator with a similar name may just be closer to the truth than we care to think about.
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Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Real Outsiders – Disengaged Citizens.

Having finally gotten around to reading Samara's report The Real Outsiders: Politically Disengaged Views on Politics and Democracy, published late last year I will give a brief synopsis of their findings along with my reaction to their findings. In their focus groups from a variety of social economic backgrounds they compared those who considered themselves 'engaged' in politics with those who did not , not surprisingly both groups indicated frustration with both politicians in general and with government bureaucracy specifically. Most of my extracts and comments will focus upon those who feel that neither of the above are serving them well and who have thus become 'disengaged'.
Two main themes seem to run through the responses, firstly 
“We are too busy with our own lives.”
“nine times out of ten I just have so much other crap on my plate.”
“I have a job. I got school. I have friends. I don’t have time.”
“I don’t feel I have a role in politics”
“the best way for me [to cope] is just not to care about them.” 

This is understandable, particularly for those for whom it is a daily struggle just to keep their head above water, in an earlier post I looked at how income affected democracy, here then is yet another possibility, those struggling to make ends meet, working long hours, looking after family and so on simply don’t have the time or inclination to follow the daily shenanigans of whatever party is currently in power. The little sound bites that the spin machines produce that they catch on the news are their sole exposure to our “political system”. No wonder so many are cynical, turned off and less than knowledgeable about our democracy and its governance.

Secondly “why should I care for the system if the system doesn’t care for me?” In the
end, many expressed feelings of fatigue. They were tired of having to “fight all the time to be

“When a problem arose that
required government assistance—be it finding
a job, securing a daycare spot, or addressing
overcrowded schools—they expected little of
their politicians and little of their government.
Importantly, when disengaged participants
experienced difficulty with the system, there
was little conceptual separation between the
role of civil servants and the role of politicians.”

Perhaps this is the most revealing part of this study, that for many folks government programs and the difficulties in obtaining answers or assistance is directly linked to the political side of things and the local MP or MPP is often viewed as the front door to such things.

For most of the people we spoke to, government
was synonymous with politics. Thus a negative
experience in accessing government services
or receiving poor service from the office of a
Member of Parliament were equally likely to
shape an individual’s negative perception of
the political system.

In theory our members of parliament are not there to guide us through the government maze but to represent us during decisions being made on our behalf in the various legislatures, in practice the complexity of ever changing government programs and the often uncaring response we get from some departments means that we NEED someone to help us through the maze. Our local MP or MPP seems to be the place of last resort in such struggles. That is not how it is supposed to work but that is how it IS working. When such effort fail is it little wonder that folks blame the politician or the system equally and are 'turned off' politics.

In a healthy democracy, the
political system will respond to the issues the
public cares about, in part because the public has
the ability to hold politicians to account for their
actions. Instead, we heard about untrustworthy
politicians and an unresponsive bureaucracy.

Earlier reports from Samara showed that even many politicians were unsure of their role in our democracy, are they representatives of the people or of the party or advocates or the doorway to government services. In the present circumstances it is indeed hard to tell whether they are all of these things or none of them. One thing is clear, such distinctions need to be clearly spelled out and the status quo changed to make them more accountable individually rather than as just a mouthpiece for their party, and government services must be streamlined and made more accessible to the public so that the MPs can get on with the job of holding the current centralized “government” to account.

Only when the public feel they are being listened to will they start to become 'engaged', perhaps that is why so many of us are being ignored?

Samara's Executive Summary says “(P)olitically engaged Canadians feel, despite their frustrations with politics, that the system does work for them. They believe in their ability to effect change. “
I count myself as fairly 'engaged' but I for one seriously doubt my (or any other non lobby group member of the public) ability to effect change, particularly withing the increasingly oligarchical system of governance we are seeing of late.

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Democracy Requires Dialog

So says my tag line for this blog and it is my belief that such dialog is fundamental to not only democracy and governance but for the good of society in general.

With that in mind for my first post of 2012 I will highlight a few of the various organizations, blogs and websites that are promoting dialog and discussion that I have become aware of in my internet travels.

In no particular order here are a few of my favorites, do take a look and get involved....

Progressive Bloggers THE site to visit for daily a compendium of blog writings from a variety of 'progressives'.

Canadian Green Bloggers Undeniably focused upon the Green point of view but you will find a variety of opinion here also.

Democracy Watch Duff Conacher has long been advocating for democratic reform and Government Accountability.

Fair Vote Canada Advocating for proportional representation and reform of our voting methods you will find much here about voting methods.

Measuring Democracy Samara Canada continues with its efforts to measure democracy by interviewing former MPs and seeking public opinion.

The Sixth Estate compiles lists of partisan appointments to various committees, boards and government positions.

Dale Smith gives us a daily synopsis of the goings on in the House of Commons with links to details and opinions on the subjects of the day.

Peace Order & Good Government The title of the blog tells you of its content, would that we had more of it. (Good Government that is)

Sudbury Steve If you can wade through Steves often looong posts you will find much of interest and more insight from a Green perspective.

I'm Political Nancy blogs daily about political issues, a great source for checking out what has or is happening on the federal scene.

And just because I particularly want to promote dialog within the rural population .

Rural Voices Network a new initiative from the Ontario Womens Institute to seek input from, and develop an online forum for those who live away from the centers of population and power.

The list is by no means all encompassing (you will find a few more in the side bar), there are new writers surfacing daily who understand that allowing a very few of the elected politicians backed by unelected interest groups and corporate big wigs to direct the dialog about our democracy is unacceptable. Only when the majority of citizens realize that doing nothing is even more unacceptable will the gradual erosion of democratic principals be reversed. Keep on bloging ladies and gentlemen your efforts DO have an impact.
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