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

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Google Blooger Comment Problem

Folks using or replying to posts on Google Blogger should be aware that at least some users are not getting notification of replies to their posts if they have moderation enabled! This has apparently been the case since late May (at least in my case and some other users that I am aware off) said replies do not show up on your dashboard except by going to the 'awaiting moderation link' nor are you otherwise notified by an email !

I have just OKed several previously hidden replies on several post since that time and will check more frequently until blogger gets this problem fixed (or someone finds a solution and makes it generally available) meanwhile dont think I am ignoring you if your comments are not shown in a timely manner ......

Also see -  https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/blogger/V611KU-BUOQ

2nd update....
May be unrelated but Google Mail dropped my forwarding (pop) settings (last 24 hrs) so I was not getting my emails forwarded to my preferred email client..... now reset but unknown if blogger problem fixed! Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

Sunday, June 17, 2018

New Report on the State of our Democracy.

The Samara Centre for Democracy interviewed 54 former MPs from the last Parliament about their experience in Ottawa and found many of them questioning the very purpose of being an MP in an era when political power is concentrated in the hands of party leaders. The Samara Centre is a non-partisan charity working to improve Canadian politics.

The study focuses on the 41st Parliament, which ran from 2011 to 2015 and was led by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s majority government.
The Justin Trudeau-led Liberal Party was elected to a majority government in 2015 on a platform that included promises to improve Parliament and make MPs more independent. The report notes there is anecdotal evidence from the current Parliament that many of the same problems remain.

Last year, Samara, with the assistance of the Canadian Association of Former Parliamen-
tarians, again reached out to past representatives—this time to MPs who had sat in the
41st Parliament (2011–2015) and who resigned or were defeated in the 2015 general

The interviews made one thing clear: the problem of a “job with no description” has not been solved. In some ways, it has worsened. Parliamentarians are more cut off from the essential work of scrutiny, legislation and representation than before. The couple of small extracts shown below are but a fraction of this 42 page report and whilst it reflects the situation at the end of Harpers time in power it is no less relevant to today's parliament.

Leaders have grown in strength and capacity relative to the party caucus.
Unelected staffers to the leader—the “boys (and girls) in short pants”—carefully manage the party brand. As the MPs in our first round of interviews explained, any dissent from the party leadership is rare, inconsequential and swiftly punished. Step out of line, even on an ostensibly free vote, and “your name’s now on somebody’s hit list,”

The last Parliament saw by far the most use of time allocation since the tool was introduced permanently in 1968—more than double the previous high-water mark. But the problem has hardly resolved itself. In fact, the current Parliament is easily on track to see the second most frequent use of time allocation. (The term “time allocation” suggests primarily the idea of time management, but the government may use a time allocation motion as a guillotine. In fact, although the rule allows the government to negotiate with opposition parties on the adoption of a timetable for the consideration of a bill , it also allows the government to impose strict limits on the time for debate. )

Committees are the best and most urgent site for reform.”

Not only are considerable parliamentary time and resources already dedicated to them, but committees also offer the best promise to empower MPs.
Committees might never be must-watch television. But they can be home to the kind of politics citizens often say they want: cross-partisan, substantive, evidence-based, civil and accessible. They could also provide a neat “package” for supporting the independence and thoughtfulness of Mps

As one MP described, before committee met, “They have precommittee meetings. And that’s not when you discuss what’s going to happen in committee. You are told
what’s going to happen in committee. And the [party] staff is all too happy to provide backbenchers with questions to ask.”

In 2018, it’s urgent that Canadians rehabilitate representative democracy as the middle
ground between daily referendums and government by unchecked elites. At the centre of
representative democracy are the representatives themselves—the critical link between
citizens and their democratic institutions.

Parliament is degraded, and as one former MP put it: “We don’t have a democracy, outside of that institution.” An intervention is needed.

Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Tough Choices......

In my final post before Rob Fraud becomes his self appointed gods gift to all of Ontario ….... or will those of us who see through his blather actually gather behind the only other viable choice, one union loving but less corporate embracing NDP candidate? In my own riding of Grey Bruce Owen Sound I suspect that my vote will simply be like spitting in the wind as for the past 20 years the Conservatives have be in firm control locally with a minimum of 47% of the vote over that time. Even if one of the other partys did well with the number of 'alternative' candidates running and splitting the vote I suspect the outcome would be the same ...... here is the local list for this riding.

New Democratic Karen Gventer
Liberal     Francesca Dobbyn
Progressive Conservative Bill Walker
Green Don Marshall
Consensus Ontario Janice Kaikkonen
Trillium Liz Marshall
Alliance Enos Martin
Libertarian Jay Miller

It all makes me feelthat my vote is all but useless particuarly that the power of the party leader of whoever gains the most seats (not the most popular vote I note) has almost unlimited power to the point where even the elected minions of his own party have a minimal inpact upon the actual decisions made by a few 'insiders' many of whom were not actualy elected ....., me cynical, not much!
Despite all of the above I urge you to make the trek to your local poll location Thursday and mark your ballot if for no other reason to show your support for your candidate of choice or the party he or she represents ..... or perhaps more probably to show who you DO NOT want dictating polocy for the next 4 years (or less if it turns out to be a minority government).

A couple of quotes to close this post.....

“Politics: the art of using euphemisms, lies, emotionalism and fear-mongering to dupe average people into accepting--or even demanding--their own enslavement.”
― Larken Rose

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
― Winston S. Churchill 

Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers