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, May 18, 2014

Election Act, Election Ont, Election Incentives

So the flawed “fair” Elections Act has now passed final reading with a few amendments that public pressure made the Cons include but without the dozens of amendments proposed by the opposition and without even considering the 75 amendments that the Greens were not permitted to table.

The Speaker upheld the decision of the House committee tasked with studying Bill C-23 to deny the Green Leader the right to present her amendments.
 “I am profoundly disappointed by today’s ruling,” said the MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “This decision undermines the ability of MPs from smaller parties and independent MPs to move amendments, our ability to improve legislation, and our ability to work on behalf of our constituents.”
Added May: "As the so-called Fair Elections Act is rammed through Parliament with debate limited at every turn, Parliament itself is diminished – Indeed, so is our democracy. Canadians need to remember that the opportunity to make this bill a positive step forward were rebuffed.

Indeed Democracy and Parliament has indeed been diminished by the way this fundamental change to our democratic process has been rammed through with no public or expert consultation, restricted debate and total disregard for the concerns of so many citizens that are directly affected by these changes. That Elections Canada is has further restrictions on their ability to Promote , Protect and Prosecute is the least of the things that remain wrong with this legislation. Almost daily the ability of our elected representatives to question and improve proposed legislation proposed by the government is diminished and the Harper Regime ignores parliamentary convention and bends the rules to consolidate their iron fisted grasp of power and democracy be damned!

With the increased interest generated by the the Harper Regimes attempt to suppress voter turn out and the recently called Ontario Election there has been a corresponding increase in calls for more fundamental changes in how we vote. The cry for 'Proportional Representation' is once again seeing more light, the ever decreasing percentage of citizens not bothering to vote whereby a majority government can be elected by less than a quarter of those eligible to vote has made some call for mandated voting. The issue of who should participate in televised debates and who should make such decisions is being discussed....again. There is little doubt that all these things and more need to be considered for we need to do SOMETHING to put the democracy back into our governance and the first part of doing that is for us to have confidence in our vote meaning something and at least some believe that those we vote for have represented their plans and intentions with honesty and integrity. These thing seem to be in steep decline and whilst HOW we elect them may improve the both the turn out and the result it is not anything that is going to happen anytime soon, the process which is not even on the radar at this point will be long and complex. That even those who advocate for change cannot agree on the type of voting system to be placed before the citizens for consideration cannot agree amongst themselves does not help. We want change but to what?

To state the obvious we need leaders we can trust to put the needs and values of Canadians before the thirst for power and ideological agendas. We need our local representatives, some of whom may actually have those values to be able to speak out, and vote, without censure for their constituents and not the party. We need better oversight of those who would break or bend the rules both elected and unelected party members, and the means to investigate and prosecute when appropriate, and yes, we need to reinstate and enhance Elections Canada ability to do those thing in regard to elections. We need to encourage folks of all ages and all social status to support our democracy by, as a minimum, getting them to vote, preferably from a position of knowledge not the 'stick a pin in the donkey' method.
Am I expecting any of these things to happen in the next 5 years, no, perhaps in the net decade if we all can keep those who can effect change from sliding down the slippery slope towards Oligarchy and Dictatorship.

Finally in a blog about democracy I can hardly ignore the fact that Ontario has been forced into an unnecessary, expensive and probably less than decisive early election. The spin, attacks and promises are well underway with little regard to whether they are factual, possible or will in fact be implemented if that particular party comes to power. With another minority government very probable such promises may well go the way the current minority government has gone.... down the tubes!
I will be very interested to see if Elections Ontario has dealt with two of the problems which reduced the turn out last time around, that of rural addressing and poll locations. I wont go into detail here but to say that so far as identification goes something with your fire code (same as a street number in urban areas) may be needed and as many folks documentation shows lot and concession or rural route number folks should check their ID and update it if necessary. The issue with poll location concerns the lack of 'wheelchair accessible' available buildings in rural areas resulting in residents having to travel some distance to where Elections Ontario have deemed a suitable location. If onIy we couId get a reIiabe on Iine voting system up and running. More on these issues as we get nearer the election date, I do note that revision and advanced poll locations will be open May 1st.
Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

No comments: