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, May 27, 2012

Canada's Sad "Democracy"

The Sixth Estate summarizes the basis of this post which highlights just how far we have drifted, or more corrected been steered, away from true democratic representation.

Backbench MP opposes government — for a couple of hours — The Honourable Member for Kootenay-Columbia, David Wilks, earned his honorific by publicly stating that parts of the Harper regime omnibus budget bill were wrong and should be thrown out, even at the risk of bringing down the government in a backbench rebellion. His defiance lasted for a few hours before the Prime Minister’s Office was able to shut him up. In true Orwellian fashion, Wilks now says that he supported the budget all along.

But then Far N Wide fills in the story and correctly points out that 'Wilks gives frank admission that his role in Ottawa is that of rubber stamp drone, devoid of true impact, sadly useless and obviously not representing ANYONE effectively.'. As I and many others have said before these MP are supposed to represent US not the party and it is long past time that a few of then grew some gonads and started doing their job. For a moment there I thought one had! I will let Steve take it from here........
Conservative MP David Wilks comments have provided fodder for government opponents, but underlying his concerns about the budget bill, a candid confirmation of the lowly existence most our elected representatives enjoy.  In reality, Wilks serves as a depressing testament to just how tortured our Canadian expression of democracy.  The exclamation point "kicker", you will ALSO never hear another "off the cuff" word from David Wilks, rest assured.

It's a story of a MP, not privy to anything in his government's budget, given ceremonial face time but having full knowledge "they've made up their minds" already, going through the motions is a kind characterization.  Wilks paints a picture of a cabinet, an inner circle, making all decisions then presenting those measures to what amounts to the majority of elected MP's.  And, this reality is just the government benches, never mind all the opposition MP's.  In other words, Wilks gives frank admission that his role in Ottawa is that of rubber stamp drone, devoid of true impact, sadly useless and obviously not representing ANYONE effectively. 

What is particularly depressing is the fatalism Wilks has already adopted, a rookie MP beaten and submissive, there is nothing he can do, admitting himself powerless.  "One person is not going to make a difference — one MP, one MP is not going to make a difference" laments Wilks.   In fact, one person does make a difference, we see it every single day outside Ottawa.  The fact an MP can put his principled objections on the back burner, in the name of  math, there is a cold realization that plagues the entire House of Commons.  Wilks can very much make a statement, on a number of fronts, should he choose to formally voice concern, in fact that's his job in the idealist sense.  Instead, the defeatist attitude reigns supreme and Wilks will support a budget he tells his constituents is flawed.  How that reality translates to representative democracy escapes me.

Take Wilks to the logical conclusion.  All MP's outside of cabinet in a majority situation should resign immediately, in the name of austerity and practical relevance.  If this mass epiphany was to occur absolutely nothing would change in Ottawa, therein lies the true reality of how centralized and authoritarian our system has become.  Wilks, by his own admission, is useless and he is clearly not alone, so why perpetuate the farce that is our House of Commons.

Instead of cowering in the face of logistics, Wilks should make a stand, vote against the budget.  Yes the budget will pass anyways, yes his one vote is inconsequential, but in the end, should he stand up for his constituents, shed light on a disturbing bill, and in turn give renewed focus to a ailing democracy, THEN he very much could "make a difference".   Instead, the end game to this sad commentary, Wilks will not only fail to stand up, he will MUZZLED in the future, and that is present day democracy in Canada, dressed up in its full regalia.  No wonder nobody cares.

There is very little we can do to stop this Omnibus Bill that totally destroys a multitude of protective measures for our rivers, seas, forests, fish and fauna and should be, at the very least, debated at length and be considered as separate legislation. One MP who is doing everything she can to try and get that to happen is Elizabeth May of the Greens, you can support her efforts by signing the on line petition at the Green Party of Canada's web site or download and mail the one here which be presented in the house by Ms May.

Meanwhile all we can do is hope that a few Conservative MPs 'grow some'!

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