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, October 24, 2021

The Third Force.....

Garret Keizer, writing in Harper’s, theorizes that the problem (denial of any problem) goes deeper than the inevitable tension between liberals and conservatives. He argues that there is “a third force seeking hegemony over this world: stupidity.” 

William deBuys in a lengthy article published in the canadiandimention brings our attention to the sad state of our world, particularly but not limited to that currently rampant in the U.S. of Eh. I will not replicate the article here but do recommend that you read it, sadly one small paragraph grabbed my attention more than the rather depressing truths about the condition of our world. As someone who does not subscribe to Facecrap or Twitsplace I cannot speak with authority about those insidious platforms but from what little I am forced to see in my daily News Cruse this little bit of his commentary struck a cord with me..... 

Powered by social media, bullshit now travels at the speed of light. A Facebook algorithm is always available to help you segue from funny cat videos to anxiety-inducing clips about QAnon and chem trails. The main objective for Facebook and its advertisers is to keep viewers amused and aroused, to keep them plugged in. For many Internet users, real threats like global warming just can’t compete with the loony 

As someone who daily views a number of news and opinion articles online I find it increasingly difficult to find articles that don't veer off in to the bizarre and totally without merit commentary. I am not at all sure anymore that the internet which I have been using continually since its very early days is an asset or a curse for the line between truth and fiction is increasingly becoming harder and harder to discern..... 

 Now in what is (hopefully?) my last quarter century on this life giving planet we are busy reducing to a lifeless pile of dirt I can but hope that my children (and their children) find a way to filter the BS and support our world as it has supported us over the past millennium.... or will disease and war reduce mankind's population to the point where the planet is able to sustain itself despite the ignorant portion left to inhabit it. 

Me cynical? …....yep!


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Sunday, October 3, 2021

Political Polarization

As various writer dissect our recent election some observers are looking at the bigger picture....

Political observers have been warning that the increasing polarization of Canadian politics is turning respectful disagreement on issues into open hostility. Examples of that trend were evident during the 2021 campaign..............

One of the earliest warnings came from former clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick. He warned a Commons committee in February 2019 about the "vomitorium" of social media and "the rising tide of incitement to violence" — the ordinary people suddenly using words like "treason" and "traitor" in public debates on the direction and leadership of the country..........

"My point that I make (in his book) is that the price of entering public life has gotten higher. The price of staying in public life has gotten higher. And over the course of several elections in several years, I think we are going to see fewer people wanting to come into political life and serve their country."

More https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thehouse/the-house-election-anger-1.6196142

As someone who is NOT on ANY social media (gasp) but daily reads a variety of news and opinion pieces I cannot help but feel that much of the intolerance and over the top rhetoric is due to the ease with which users of these platforms can spread their thoughtless biases across such a broad spectrum of readers so quickly. That many are able to do so completely anonymously further increasingly encourages such unthinking rhetoric, any control of such content by the owners or by government is promptly classed as censorship and an attack on free speech by many of the users. I do not know how, or even if, such antti democratic speec and actions should be controlled I just know that the ever increasing political polarization and unwillingness to even consider the other point of view is very troubling to those like myself who try to find middle ground.

Its pretty clear that across the border to the south things are much further down the road to a very dark future and with more personal firearms than citizens that is very troubling with our shared border. Whilst I do not advocate mandating national service for all here in Canada I do wonder if the following U.S. veteran has a valid point in regards to deescalating the problematic polarization......

It hits me that either encouraging more national service or, better yet, mandating it, is the most important solution we have to one of the most fundamental challenges we face: repairing the divisions in our country, and fundamentally strengthening the fabric that binds all of us together. This fall, as Congress discusses including all women in the Selective Service — let’s go a step further, and begin to discuss how to include all 18-25 year olds in a national service program.

Service can take many forms, such as joining the military or AmeriCorps, working at a non-profit, joining a Parks system, or teaching in an underserved school. What matters most is not just that the service helps strengthen our country and its citizens, but that it is designed so that young Americans work closely with teammates with meaningfully different lived experiences, serve in locations different from where they came, do work that is larger than self, and accomplish difficult feats.

Elizabeth Young McNally is a veteran of service in Iraq in the US Army.

See - https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/575030-a-year-of-service-for-all-the-key-to-rebuilding-the-fabric-of


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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Goodbye Blogger

For decades I have used the google search engine and posted my thoughts in google blogger but in recent days everything on that platform seems to have gone tilt. Firstly when using the google search engine the results screen comes up with the most horrible glaring red background with no apparent easy way to go back to white. That I can cure by simply using a different search engine as my default, my current choice is Duck Duck Go. Although I no longer post as many items to blogger as I have over those 20 years I did today attempt to comment upon the current political situation here in Canada only to find out that it is now impossible to directly format the font and size when adding a post to blogger …..as can be seen in this post. What gives, this 'improvement' has effectively put an end to my blogging but perhaps thats a good thing for at 75 I no longer easily accept change. So this is probably goodbye! Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Voices with no voice....

  Glen Pearson writes in National Newswatch

“The days of hope, while we still wish for them, seem somehow to be moving out of reach.  We have numerous causes but no cause, millions of voices but no voice.  Every viewpoint counts for something, but if it can’t respect those it opposes, or seek to find common cause for building something better, then millions of voices can merely become a din. “

I believe that sums things up rather well and just about the only thing we can be fairly certain of is that when an election is called, be it next month or next year, the din will become louder and the rhetoric more vicious.

The failure of the effort to bring in electoral reform leaves us with the system whereby we continue to be left with the conundrum of whether to vote for the best individual or indirectly for (or against) the party they represent (in theory they 'represent' us but thats not the way it works most of the time). 

Are we headed, as its becoming elsewhere, a case of a vote with no voters or voters with no vote?

Hat Tip to Owen over at Northern Reflections for this one...... 


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Saturday, July 17, 2021

A Life of Learning.......

After 75 years of life learning on this planet we call Earth the last 40 or so with a computer of one kind or another on my desk, almost 20 of those with the ability to share my thoughts on that newfangled thing call the 'internet', I thought it was time to take stock of my life. I suspect that given the necessary reduction of interaction with others outside of close family over the last year or more that many folks much younger than I are rethinking their place in this world.

Some folks who have deeply religious or political convictions may have retreated into those polarizing beliefs, certainly many of our neighbors south of the border seem to be heading in that direction and demonstrating the danger of not thinking for ones self and following the herd. Personally I have never had strong political or religious beliefs except to think that perhaps a blind belief in either one (or both) may do more harm than good. This is not to say that we do not need a stable governing system and our democratic one is IMHO about the best, but when it becomes too polarised and confrontational it defeats its purpose.

Much the same can be said of religion, although I can hardly speak authoritatively about it only recently having found that there is a definition of my 'beliefs' (or lack thereof), not that I am much for 'labels' the following sums up my thoughts fairly accurately

Humanists believe that human experience and rational thinking provide the only source of both knowledge and a moral code to live by, they reject the idea of knowledge 'revealed' to human beings by gods.

Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities.

Most humanists would agree with the ideas below:

  • There are no supernatural beings.

  • The material universe is the only thing that exists.

  • Science provides the only reliable source of knowledge about this universe.

  • We only live this life - there is no after-life, and no such thing as reincarnation.

  • Human beings can live ethical and fulfilling lives without religious beliefs.

  • Human beings derive their moral code from the lessons of history, personal experience, and thought.

Humanists reject the idea or belief in a supernatural being such as God. This means that humanists class themselves as agnostic or atheist. Humanists have no belief in an afterlife, and so they focus on seeking happiness in this life.

Apparently I may be an atheist but not an agnostic (damn labels again eh).......

An atheist doesn't believe in a god or divine being. ... However, an agnostic neither believes nor disbelieves in a god or religious doctrine. Agnostics assert that it's impossible for human beings to know anything about how the universe was created and whether or not divine beings exist.

I am not sure about that last bit for we learn more and more about the universe around us as our scientific and technical ability evolves, will we ever know all there is to know ...not a chance, but lets keep looking and sharing our finds with all of mankind. I don't know about 'divine beings' whatever the definition of those are, but I am totally convinced that other intelligent beings exist in the universe both less evolved than us and much greater. The question remains whether we manage to evolve much more before we destroy the ability of our world to support the life that developed from space dust over millions of years. Intelligent human beings, there are days when I start to wonder!

What may you ask brought on this introspective, my small handful of regular readers will know I have had very little to say on these pages in the past year or so, its not that I have nothing to say, for even if our situation federally is reasonably stable (for just a short while longer by the look of things) there is more than enough disasters building provincially in various governments across our country to comment upon. Its more that as I gradually move into my dotage I find that my mind outruns my ability to get my thoughts down on paper (actually on computer, my expressions are as old as my body) before have forgotten what I was going to say. I suspect this happens to most 'old' folks sooner or later and we know that for some folk it deteriorates into a total loss of memory and thinking skills, I sure hope I am not headed there and don't think I am but am acutely aware that I am not as 'sharp' as I was 5 years ago. I am sure my major stroke back then, from which I had 'a miraculous recovery' over the following year, has quite a bit to do with both my current thinking and what I view as my gradual inability to 'find' the right words at times.

I will leave you with this thought which sums things up quite nicely......

There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.
Donald Rumsfeld:


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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Getting that shot!

My son in his 30s has just attempted to book a covid shot in an area clinic... without success! The Ontario system permits individuals to book up to two weeks in advance however NO bookings are available in this area over that period and it is not possible to book beyond that time. The frustrating part of the process is that the ONLY way to determine that is to try and book for each individual day in that period, thats16 tries to book with a rejection and no further options avalable!

I think we all understand that the demand for shots is high, particuarly when a new criteria opens up giving the 30 year olds (who are MUCH more probably out in the work force) an opportunity to get vaccinated but what is wrong with this picture? Cannot the 'system' simply say 'no bookings are avalable in the next two weeks' or even better ' please enter you phone number or email and we will call as an opening becomes avalabe'.... too much-to ask?

As a senior who is eligible to get a shot I have not bothered, not only is it hard for us home bound old fellows to get to a suitable clinic (particularity at a per-determined time) but what is the point if my younger offspring are not (until this week) able to be protected. Sp the old man is protected but his kids in the house are not, not a good picture!

I think we all realize that this whole thing is a difficult situation but I find it very difficult to see that it has been handled in a logical and efficient way ….. just ask the remaining seniors in various nursing hone across Ontario!

Enough said!


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Sunday, March 28, 2021

Democracy Under Attack

Let me be very clear ... if you think this is something happening down in Georgia, you are misapprehending the moment that we’re living in,”

It is about whether we are who we say we are. Either we’re a democracy or we’re not. Either we believe in the idea of one person, one vote, or we don’t. Either I’m a citizen or I’m not.”

Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in a conversation with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC last week.

My handful of regular readers will know that I have not had a lot to say regarding threats to our democracy here in Canada in recent years being somewhat less concerned since the demise of the right wing conservative federal government. I cannot however fail to be concerned about the reaction of the republican types south of us to the installation of a democratic president and their efforts to suppress certain segments of the population from voting in the future.

Fortunately there are those recently elected individuals who are affected the most fighting this abomination. Read on.....

Since the January election, some 250 voter suppression bills have been introduced by state legislatures all across the country, from Georgia to Arizona, from New Hampshire to Florida, using the big lie of voter fraud as a pretext for voter suppression, the same big lie that led to a violent insurrection on this very Capitol

And how did some politicians respond? Well, they are trying to make it a crime to give people water and a snack as they wait in lines that are obviously being made longer by their draconian actions. Think about that. Think about that. They are the ones making the lines longer, through these draconian actions. And then they want to make it a crime to bring grandma some water while she’s waiting in a line that they’re making longer. Make no mistake: This is democracy in reverse. Rather than voters being able to pick the politicians, the politicians are trying to cherry-pick their voters. I say this cannot stand.

If you think that this is something happening to Black voters, you still don’t quite clearly understand,” he added. “This is a defining moment for American democracy. If this is happening in the state Capitol in Georgia, it will not take very long for it to visit a state capitol near you.” (and indeed elsewhere across the world as is already evident in so many countries)

Read Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock’s first Senate speech. He’s the first Black senator to represent Georgia and the first Black Democrat to be elected to the Senate in the South. Reverend Warnock is also a pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, which was the spiritual home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


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Monday, March 15, 2021

Pissed off Senior....


OK, so now after a good proportion of the U.S. rich and powerful are getting vaccinated we up here in Canaduh are finaly getting a small portion of the shots available (I note here that its not our Gov fault re supply, could be worse ya could live in an African country!) but they are being directed to 80+ year olds. Whats with that? I understand the attention given to the nursing homes due to their terrible lack of attention to spread of infection but the old folks isolated at home are at minimal risk ….unless they leave home to go ino town to get the friggin shot, accompanied by their younger care giver who is NOT able to get said protection! That the folks who have spent months keeping our food on the shelves and other similar 'essential' services running are not at the top of these lists REALLY pisses me off!

Less you think this is a young fellow having a rant be it known that I am past 75, my best buddy is past 80 and has just been offered a shot, for which he must ask his 'caregiver' to take him to nearest clinic and mix with possible infected individuals (not local so far as I can tell). What is wrong with this picture?

For the record, if offered a shot (which I suspect will be at the nearest 'bulk location' I will pass at this point. If and when it is available at my local 'clinic' by my regular NP AND my adult working son is also included in the mix I will consider it.


It now seems that there are so many Ontarian's over 80 (or more probably their 'caregivers who cannot themselves get a shot) trying to register on line that the system crashed. But dont worry you can always use the telephone line and wait for several hours waiting online for an answer. Only surprise to me was that there were that many fellow seniors over 80 not yet pushing up daisys!

Rant OFF, but mind not changed!

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