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 28, 2018

Guilty Until Proven Innocent.

Recently there have been a spate of ladies coming forward saying they have be subject to unwanted sexual advances ranging from verbal suggestions to actual physical touching or 'interference'. It is difficult for me, a 70 year old happily married (for 40 years) MALE to fully understand both the mindset of the male who forces themselves upon a woman and the woman who does nothing about such actions for years. There is no doubt that some individuals, both male and female, can and are intimidated by their partner, colleague or boss be they of the opposite sex or not, or that unwanted sexual activity is not acceptable both inside and outside the workplace.

That said I am troubled by the assumption, particularly when it comes to individuals in the public eye, that any such activity did in fact take place as published in various print or online media and / or social accounts. It seems that in order to destroy an individuals political, corporate, medical or personal life it is only necessary to make public 'allegations of inappropriate sexual activity' and its game over for that individual who is then faced with months if not years of attempting to clear their name though the courts at great expense both financial and personal. Lets be clear I am not attempting to excuse or protect those who have indeed forced themselves upon others but the implied assumption that they are guilty as soon as the allegations become public is equally troubling.
In the #MeToo age, once accused of sexual misconduct, you are merely a passenger. The only thing you can control is the damage — and even then, only barely.”
In keeping with the general focus of this blog I wonder how many of such allegations towards political figures are (directly or indirectly) politically motivated, certainty here in Canada (but not so much in the U.S. it seems) it seems to be a good way to eliminate the competition. Allegations of political malfeasance abound but rarely have any lasting effect (at least not until investigated) but accuse a politician of sexual inappropriateness (even 10 or more years after the all edged incident) and he or she is done in short order!

“.....no one should celebrate a political climate in which any and all allegations, with no investigation or analysis, deliver career ruin. “

One final though on this, unless those that are unconformable with the actions of a colleague or others speak out at the time and let those around them know where their personal line lays as and when such actions occur then perhaps they are condoning further 'unwanted touching' or actions. For some a hand on a shoulder or a hug to thank them for something is natural and acceptable, for some it is not, anything beyond that is obviously unacceptable without specific consent and should be met with a firm NO.

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Speaking Truth to Power.

By now most readers will have read that Sen. Jeff Flake ripped Trump a new one last Wednesday in a speech in the U.S. Senate and perhaps read some extracts from that speech in news reports. If you have not already done so I encourage you to read the entire speech, it is no less applicable to other democracy's (including our own) as it is to the now questionable 'democracy' to the south.

To peak your further interest here a a few of my favorite quotes from that speech.....

Without truth, and a principled fidelity to truth and to shared facts our democracy will not last.”
Despotism is the enemy of the people. The free press is the despot’s enemy, which makes the free press the guardian of democracy.”

An American president who cannot take criticism — who must constantly deflect and distort and distract — who must find someone else to blame — is charting a very dangerous path. And a Congress that fails to act as a check on the president adds to the danger.”

The impulses underlying the dissemination of such untruths are not benign. They have the effect of eroding trust in our vital institutions and conditioning the public to no longer trust them. The destructive effect of this kind of behavior on our democracy cannot be overstated.”

Add to that the by-now predictable habit of calling true things false, and false things true, and we have a recipe for disaster. As George Orwell warned, “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”

What is the goal of laying siege to the truth? President John F. Kennedy, in a stirring speech on the 20th anniversary of the Voice of America, was eloquent in answer to that question: “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
At the start of his speech Sen. Flake quotes former senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, who famously said: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
MY opinion is that this senator has nailed it and that Trump is not only destroying democracy in the U.S. but negatively effecting democracy world wide. It is a fact that he has but a fleeting acquaintance with the truth! Democracy is indeed under fire in the U.S of Eh and elsewhere across the world.
Read the full speech here.....

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