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, March 27, 2016

Summer Break Starts Now

Over the past 5 years or more that I have been writing about our Canadian Democracy I have only taken a couple of very brief breaks from my self imposed weekly posting schedule before some outrageous action (by the former Harper Regime) has had me once again back shedding some light and opinion upon the state of said democracy. I now feel it is time for me to step away from such activities for a while and enjoy the summer months of my 70th year without worrying about such things. That is not to say that I will not continue to keep up to date with the goings on in Ottawa and across the country but I now feel mush more confident that the steady slip into dictatorship has been halted and is in fact headed back to where it should be. It is of course far from a done deal and promises do not legislation make, but at least (thus far) our new government is making the right noises and trying to undo the damage done over the past several years. Its early days yet but I do hope that they manage to bring in a more non partisan and cooperative attitude to both The House and The Senate and return our environmental and social safeguards to their previous (or better) values..

I will not be totally abandoning the blog, just writing myself a little less. I will probably, on occasion, be re-posting articles from other bloggers and news media that focuses upon democratic issues and deserve further attention, and occasionally having my say on things as and when the mood strikes me. I simply will not be writing weekly for the foreseeable future.

This blog remains open to those who do not have a forum of their own to express their views, concerns and aspirations for and about our Canadian Democracy and those who wish may submit articles for publication via email to democracyunderfire@gmail.com. Please see our “Submitting Articles” guidelines in that regard.

May this summer and the years beyond continue to bring us 'Sunny Days'.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Humans of New York on Trump

In case you missed it Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York (http://www.humansofnewyork.com/) just published an open letter to Mr Trump which is going viral on facebook and IMHO sums things up nicely.

An Open Letter to Donald Trump:
Mr. Trump,
I try my hardest not to be political. I’ve refused to interview several of your fellow candidates. I didn’t want to risk any personal goodwill by appearing to take sides in a contentious election. I thought: ‘Maybe the timing is not right.’ But I realize now that there is no correct time to oppose violence and prejudice. The time is always now. Because along with millions of Americans, I’ve come to realize that opposing you is no longer a political decision. It is a moral one.
I’ve watched you retweet racist images. I’ve watched you retweet racist lies. I’ve watched you take 48 hours to disavow white supremacy. I’ve watched you joyfully encourage violence, and promise to ‘pay the legal fees’ of those who commit violence on your behalf. I’ve watched you advocate the use of torture and the murder of terrorists’ families. I’ve watched you gleefully tell stories of executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood. I’ve watched you compare refugees to ‘snakes,’ and claim that ‘Islam hates us.’
I am a journalist, Mr. Trump. And over the last two years I have conducted extensive interviews with hundreds of Muslims, chosen at random, on the streets of Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. I’ve also interviewed hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi refugees across seven different countries. And I can confirm— the hateful one is you.
Those of us who have been paying attention will not allow you to rebrand yourself. You are not a ‘unifier.’ You are not ‘presidential.’ You are not a ‘victim’ of the very anger that you’ve joyfully enflamed for months. You are a man who has encouraged prejudice and violence in the pursuit of personal power. And though your words will no doubt change over the next few months, you will always remain who you are.
Brandon Stanton

There will be those, particularly I suspect many Trump supporters, who will say what business is it of yours, a Canadian, on who we vote in as our President but it is as Trudeau the senior said when he was a guest of our neighbours to the south......
“Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt. “
The elephant seems to be getting particularly restless right now!

With the power and influence the U.S. and the President has in world wide politics and conflicts we all most certainly have a legitimate interest in the outcome of this race.

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lessons not learned.

With the Harper regime having been turfed from power at least in part for their blatant misuse of public advertising dollars for partisan purposes and for their secrecy and failure to disclose anything that could be considered negative towards their rule, and with the senate expense scandal still ongoing, I wonder if ANY of our politicians have learned anything.

We have the Ontario Liberals filling the airways with advertising promoting their Ontario Registered Pension Plan which will not be implemented until 2017 and will not pay out to anyone until 2020.

The ORPP will be introduced in 2017 and, by 2020, subject to legislative and Canada Revenue Agency approval, every employee in Ontario would be part of either the ORPP or a comparable workplace pension plan. Employees and employers would contribute an equal amount, capped at 1.9% each (3.8% combined) on an employee’s annual earnings up to $90,000.
That’s if in fact it is ever implemented given that the jury is still out if it will morf into an “enhanced” Canada Pension Plan. Strike one!

Then we have the quiet, behind closed door, vote of the secretive Federal Board of Internal Economy in December to give themselves and all MP's a 20% raise in office budgets to take effect in April.

The 20 per cent increase to MPs' office budgets means each MP will be able to spend an additional $57,690 on top of the current budget of $288,450. Multiply that by the 338 MPs that make up the House of Commons, and MPs' budgets alone jump by nearly $20 million to a new total of almost $117 million a year.
Others are getting a boost to their office budgets as well. The Speaker of the House of Commons, House officers such as the deputy speakers and the offices of the party leaders, whips and caucus chairs are also in line for the increase.
  • The Speaker will get an additional $193,029 for a new office budget total of $1,158,117.
  • The Opposition leader's office gets an additional $725,581 for a new total of $4,353,487.
  • The NDP will get an additional $337,487 for a new total of $2,024,870.
It seems to me that just like the rest of us they need to tighten their belts and make do with less and “find efficiencies” at a time when the country is barely out a recession and running a deficit in order to try and get a few more folks back to work and have food on the table. Strike two!

That’s but two small examples of the ongoing disrespect of governments for those that they govern, I am quite sure that folks across the country can come up with many more. We have a long way to go to achieve that “Open and Accountable” plateau so often promised,. I do believe that the current federal government is trying to improve things in this regard but it remains to be seen how long it will be before tonce again things deteriorates. That decision by the Board of Internal Economy was not a good start!
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