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, April 19, 2020

Virtual Idiot?

Unless an agreement is reached before Monday, the House of Commons will resume business as usual with all 338 MPs along with their staff, clerks, interpreters, security and cleaners, returning to work in Ottawa.

The Liberals are also proposing one additional session be held each week with another lengthy question period, but this one would be held virtually.

Andrew Scheer and his Conservatives, meanwhile, are pushing for three in-person sittings per week to hold government accountable for its pandemic response — down from four sittings they were demanding earlier in the week.

It seems that Scheer just does not get it, remember this is the fellow who packed the special flight bringing a couple of leaders to Ottawa for the last special session with his wife and kids.

Meanwhile as I said before there is no need with modern communication methods for our MPs, who reside in and represent riding's far from Ottawa, to be in the room to have input to decisions being made.

Its NOT a time for political posturing Mr Scheer, give it a rest!

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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Virtual Parliament?

The current situation has brought many questions to mind for us all with the majority connected with our governance in one form or another be it provincial heath departments or national financial supports. Yesterday a small group of federal MPs gathered in Ottawa to pass some necessary measures to support Canadians at this difficult time as many of us, and I presume most MPs, looked on via electronic media of one sort or another. Some discussion has taken place both here and elsewhere as to whether a 'virtual' Parliament can be set up to minimize the direct contact between between not only them but the necessary support staff to hold a parliamentary session.

It seems to me that with modern communication methods available that there are few road blocks to such arrangements not only during these difficult times but in the future. Many businesses and individuals communicate world wide without leaving their armchairs why cannot our provincial and more importantly our national governments make more use of this option. The public portions of their discussions are already broadcast and available on line in one form or another so why cannot their input be also done via electronic communication methods with the two individuals who 'have the floor' and the Speaker being shown in a video feed in addition to those who are actually in a position to attend in person.

Sure there would be some logistical challenges in setting up a way to 'recognize' who has the floor but as I understand it those that rise to speak during question period and other publicly available discussions are by enlarge pre-selected by the party hierarchy so switching quickly between several hundred feeds would not be necessary. I find it hard to believe that many, if not most, MPs do not use both email and video conferencing extensively for their day to day operations particularly those who are far from the central power base in Ottawa.

Perhaps the extensive House renovations to accommodate more elected representatives is not really needed? Something to think about as our world undergoes a substantial shakeup and reevaluation.

Further to this sort of idea see what is now being done by the current caucus.... 

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Some Perspective....

The current average world wide population increase is estimated at 81 million people per year, without COVID-19, we would expect 60 million global deaths in 2020, with a third or more dying from heart and stroke problems. Estimates of total deaths to be expected from Covid19 vary widely from country to country and are dependent upon the actions the government and people of that place take to minimize the effects, but if we assume 50% of the population get it and 2% of those succumb to the disease then the number of deaths would just about equal the current annual increase in world population. Is the world trying to tell us something? Some researchers estimate that the reduction of deaths due to the reduction air pollution brought about by reduced industrial and other human activities could offset some of the numbers of deaths, particularly in some of the more heavily polluted areas of the world.

In no way do I wish to minimize the danger covid19 presents or detract from the measures being taken to minimize the spread of it, as a senior citizen myself I am at increased risk should I catch it and whilst I may not agree with ALL of the actions taken by the various governments I recognize that difficult decisions must be made to minimize the impact of it. This short article is then just food for thought.

See this Brooking Institute's publication for further perspective on this.

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