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, October 25, 2015

Democracy's Future

After 5 years of writing about democracy's decline and the impact of one particular individual had in that regard I am now faced with the question of 'what do I write about now'. The choice is not hard for there is much to be done not only to return from where we came, but to move forward with improving our democratic systems and establish into law such systems so that they cannot again be twisted and ignored by future leaders and their followers.

A good place to start seems to be the Liberal platform on Democratic Reform which seems to say all the right things but as always it will be the details and implementation that will be the stumbling blocks. With it improbable that any legislation in this regard will be introduced anytime soon this leaves me lots of time to go over their 32 point plan some of which they can implement right away like unmuzzling our bureaucrats, scientists and federal departments so that we see the true details of the task ahead of us.

Before I get into that I am going to take a look at some of the problems that arose around the country at the polls both from the point of view of the elector and from that of an election worker. It was good to see a central place to report problems at #pollwatch and I shall use some of the things posted there as a basis for some suggestions of both what went wrong and how to correct them. Given the millions of voters and the thousands of folks on twitter (I am not one of them) the volume of complaints was not that large, however if even one voters was turned away (and many more than that were) then it is something that must be fixed. I do hope that EC will be looking into such matters but have yet to see any commitment to do so.

This then is the task I have set myself in the coming weeks and months, one part of which will be reexamining, once again, the various voting methods that may be part of the promised study of electoral reform that is a big part of that 32 point plan, and the implementation of which is high on the agenda of a large majority of out population.

So from a pessimistic view of our democracy’s future I now must change my mindset to an optimistic outlook, this view will not be shared by all readers particularly highly partisan individuals who's political aspirations took a hit last week. I urge all Canadians to look upon this an opportunity to put partisan rhetoric aside and do everything we can to enhance and secure our democratic systems for future generations. A recent very good sign is the invitation by Justin for all the premiers and opposition leaders to join him at December's climate change summit in Paris both from an environmental point of view and a governmental cooperation perspective.

Democracy can be messy but democracy doesn’t exist to make leaders look good. It exists to do good for the people.” - Justin Trudeau 

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Lorne said...

I look forward to following your new explorations, Rural. As you say, there is much work to be done to improve our Canada.

Rural said...

I very much look forward to be able to talk about positive possibilitys for a change, Lorne

The Mound of Sound said...

We spent years heavily focusing on what really was a degree of despotism, Rural. That prevented us giving adequate attention to the enormous challenges of the day that will grow even larger for our children and theirs.

We need to confront the realities of climate change, democratic reform, inequality in all its forms (wealth, income and opportunity), exponential economic growth, energy policy, the very real and rapid biodiversity crisis, water and resource policy, Canada's place in the world, militarism versus peacekeeping, the spillover impacts of America's malignant militarism - on and on and on.

Harper did nothing to meet these challenges and, by his neglect, some of them worsened on his watch but that book is closed. We have new leadership, a new government that must take those perils as it finds them and implement remedial measures. Do I expect the new government to fail us? Absolutely. I doubt that even with the best intentions this government, any government, can make much headway against this tsunami. That said they have to try, to struggle as hard as they might, that they possibly can buy us some time to explore new solutions, to discover new paths.

Trudeau will not break the shackles of 18th century economics, 19th century industrialism and 20th century geopolitics, each a truly Herculean chore, yet the world has long passed the peak point at which those modes of organization held much utility for what is now our global civilization. I won't fault him for failure but I will denounce him if he doesn't try.

Rural said...

As you say Mound, there are some things that will will be unable to change and some that will be very difficult but at least we now have, I believe, someone who will try and do so based more upon facts than ideology.

Owen Gray said...

Like Lorne and Mound, I look forward to what you have to say, Rural.

Rural said...

I hope I can live up to your expectations, Owen.

Alan Goodhall said...

I think we all recognize that the good intent of the government just won't be enough.

Since the stated goal of this government is to govern for all Canadians perhaps it is incumbent upon all of us, now more than ever, to become much more activist over the course of the next four years.

For the last 10 years we have been sitting behind our keyboards planning on how to rid ourselves of a government when the next election is called. We now have the opportunity to participate in the process. Let's not squander it.

Rural said...

I agree Alan, just because we now have a more inclusive government does not mean we can take our eyes off the ball.