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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Destruction of Canada's Democracy

A recent letter from a concerned citizen, Cam Finley of Ontario, to the Toronto Star expresses a sentiment that is quickly becoming more and more accepted across the Country these days:

“The Conservative minority federal government is seriously damaging our democracy. This should be of concern to all Canadians.”

Of that there is no doubt. Every day the Country moves closer to a combination of totalitarianism and a George Bush Republican style system.

The so called Conservative "hidden agenda" so many Canadians were concerned about during the last federal election is finally beginning to be revealed and that agenda appears to be the erosion of the democratic system of government and a crushing of anyone who dares to speak out.

In January Conservative Minister Gary Lunn unilaterally fired the head of Canada’s Nuclear Safety Commission, even though the commission is meant to be an arms length organization, outside the reach of political influence.

Why was the Commissioner fired? Because the Minister of Natural Resources screwed up when it came to ensuring that a nuclear facility under his department was kept up to safety standards and he failed to co-ordinate with the Minister of Health in securing the Country’s supply of medical isotopes when it became clear that the facility would have to be shut down.

Ms. Kean, the commissioner of the day, did her job to protect Canadians from a nuclear disaster, nothing more or less, yet she was fired the night before she was to testify in front of a Commons committee investigating the isotope issue.

When it comes to the current government it’s clear that the need for political scapegoats trump the law, democracy and public safety.

The examples of blame shifting in Ottawa these days are numerous. Another clear example is the case of prisoner exchanges in Afghanistan.

When it came to light that the Canadian military had suspended the exchange of prisoners because of potential abuse by Afghan officials, something the government has denied, the Prime Minister’s office tried to tell Canadians that the military had made the decision on their own and that government was not informed.

The statement was later retracted but in essence the PMO, in an attempted cover up of its actions, had tried to convince the public that the Nation’s military had gone rogue and was no longer under control of the government of Canada. How frightening is that?

The government has made it a mission to abolish the Senate. There are those who agree with the move and those who don’t but the fact remains that until it is indeed abolished the Senate has a function to perform. This hasn’t slowed the Prime Minister. Recently he tabled an unconstitutional motion before the House of Commons that would see an election called if the Senate, another supposedly independent body, did not give into his demands to pass legislation without completing its duties and function.

It seems every time the democratic system does not perform as Stephen Harper would like it to he finds a way to circumvent it and move forward in a clearly undemocratic fashion.

When the Supreme court ruled that the use of security certificates was unconstitutional the Harper government simply went back to parliament and changed the rules of the game so suspected terrorists can still be held without charge, trial or even knowing why they were arrested.

Conservative MP Art Hanger, the chair of the Commons justice committee is another clear example of the utter contempt the Harper government has for Parliament and for Canadian democracy.

Hanger recently shut down the justice committee because he didn't want the members of that committee investigating the possibility that the Conservative party, perhaps with Stephen Harper's blessing, were involved in an attempted bribe the late MP Chuck Cadman just before a crucial confidence vote in the House. A clearly illegal act.

Jim Flaherty, the Country's Finance Minister continually acts with pure contempt for anyone, including provincial leaders, who dare to tell the truth, whether it be senior's who were essentially swindled out of billions on income trust investments, Ontario’s Premier or Newfoundland and Labrador’s.

Environment bulldog, John Baird, behaves more like a mafia enforcer than a federal minister when it comes to attacking anyone who takes issue with his government’s lack of action on the environment.

Harper is proceeding with a lawsuit against the Liberal party, supposedly because he doesn't like what the party posted on its website. In reality this suit has nothing to do with libel but is a clear attempt to silence the opposition and send a message to anyone who might not agree with the Harper government's direction or actions.

In recent committee testimony and media statements Chief Justice John Gomery, the man who headed the inquiry into the Liberal sponsorship scandal and provided government with 19 recommendations to clean up the democratic system, recently had this to say about the Harper regime:

The PMO, in recent years, has grown rapidly and "they have the ear of the most important and powerful person in Canadian government."

"I suggest this trend is a danger to Canadian democracy and leaves the door wide open to the kind of political interference in the day-to-day administration of government programs that led to what is commonly called the sponsorship scandal.”

"We have a government where one man seems to have an ever-increasing influence upon what government policy is going to be. If you look back historically at prime ministers in the past, I don't think they had the same hold over their party and Parliament that the present prime minister has.”

"It should be remembered that the political staff in the Prime Minister's Office are not elected. They are not subject to any rules or laws of which I am aware. I suggest that this trend is a danger to Canadian democracy"

"We really are heading for one-man government, which is an unfortunate thing in a democracy."

I don’t know how much clearer it can be said.

How can any democracy survive under the kind of regime we are seeing in Ottawa these days?

If you aren’t convinced yet, here’s what the Prime Minister had to say in response to Justice Gomery's comments. Note that the following statement by Stephen Harper fails to mention any input from ordinary citizens, the cornerstone of any democratic Country.

Stephen Harper: "We received representations from a wide range of Canadian government, political and business leaders. . . that they (the changes recommended by Justice Gomery) were not in the democratic interest."

20 comments:

janfromthebruce said...

Yet, the sad truth is that Prime Minister Harper could not have done this, without another party backing him up - whether BLOC and/or Liberal.
Our political system is hamstrung because party comes first before public interest, or perhaps, more cynical here, it is propped up because those parties agree with the policy direction Harper is taking Canada. They might squack, but that's just for show, and telling is how they actually vote (or don't show up).

Anonymous said...

Fascism is alive and well in Canada.

If Stephen Harper is allowed to gain a majority government in the next election we will quickly find that Canada will become a mirror image of George Bush's America. War mongering, human rights abuses, secret government lists of individuals, personal attacks and far far more will be the norm rather than the exception.

We are already moveing in that direction. Do you know if your name is on a no-fly list somewhere?

Do you know if your phones are tapped or if this very web site is being monitored by government spooks?

I know this may sound paranoid but as someone once said, "when they are out to get you paranoia is just good thinking".

This is a warning to all Canadians, democracy, even an imperfect one like Canada's is a very delicate thing and once it's gone getting it back is not a given.

Once freedoms are taken away they are gone.

Anonymous said...

I agree, we are heading toward fascism and no matter which federal party is in power we will continue down that road. It's just a matter of how fast or slow we move down it.

The only option is to change the system once and for all. We need a major shift in Canada and if that means regional parties, separation by some provinces or even more direct measures, something will happen sooner or later or we are doomed.

Anonymous said...

Yes. You're right. We need to separate. If we would only separate we would have more democracy. It makes such sense.

Mark said...

So democracy would be better if Ontario sent 108 "Ontario Regional Party" Mps, Quebec sent the Bloc, and Saskatchewan, BC, etc.

Boy... the "NewfoundlandSeparataionLiberationOrganization" would do real well.

But seriously, how would that "improve" democracy? You people are off your meds.

Anonymous said...

It would improve democracy because no one province would have enough power to control the federal agenda without the support of other provinces and parties.

Ontario might end up with the majority of seats but coalitions of other provinces would weild the real power. Since you think you're so smart, how does having Ottawa pander to two provinces and the hell with teh rest make this hole a democratic?

Anonymous said...

I bet I can guess Mark's answer to that:

Ontario and Quebec have the majorit of people so they should have the most power.

Typical fascist mentality.

A democracy is based on equality but in Canada it's just that some people are more equal than others.

Minority groups, smaller populations, etc. just don't count right?

Calvin said...

I would have to agree with Jan .March 16, 2008 3:12 PM.

This couldn't have happened without support from other partys in Canada.And ,it wouldnt be possible if Newfoundland and Labrador did not send thier votes to this party as well.

I think that Harper is going to have to get a brown shirt and haircut if he wants to stay in power after the next election ,this is one newfoundlander that will not be giving any contributions ,or votes for that matter to this Party of hypocrites and liar's.If i wanted that again I would have voted Liberial.

Time for an election and an end to this joke of a governement.Steve ,your seen my friend for what you really are.A mirror of George.W.Bush.

And ,as they say in Texas ,ya'll Don't come back now Ya hear .

Great article Myles.

WJM said...

Ontario and Quebec have the majorit of people so they should have the most power.

Typical fascist mentality.

A democracy is based on equality but in Canada it's just that some people are more equal than others.

Minority groups, smaller populations, etc. just don't count right?


hey Myles, why won't you post my comment in reply? It's pretty rich to complain about censorship when you do it yourself.

I ask again: anonymous, does that mean that Labrador should also get a larger share of the House of Assembly seats?

Is the current arrangement, where Newfoundland has 44/48, also "fascist"?

Patriot said...

Done WJM, the answer is for the people of Labrador to elect two Labrador party members and send a clear message. Why hasn't Labrador done that? There is a Labrador party, why don't the people back it?

Mark said...

I love how you've gone back to selective posting of comments.

The thought police. How very... what's the word... ummm... hold on let me think of it..."fascist" of you.

Patriot said...

I'm not sure what you mean Mark but I guess you'd know one when you see one.

Patriot said...

By the way, in case you don't know the rules of posting on this site (so they do not get denied) they are posted in four simple lines right above the comment window.

My sandbox, my rules. If you want a sandbox of your own to rant and rail and attack people the web is a big neighborhood.

Ussr said...

First of all if this doesn't get posted Myles,then I guess what was said here ," hey Myles, why won't you post my comment in reply? It's pretty rich to complain about censorship when you do it yourself.

I ask again: anonymous, does that mean that Labrador should also get a larger share of the House of Assembly seats?

Is the current arrangement, where Newfoundland has 44/48, also "fascist"? " First and foremost Wallace your not the only one to get his comments blacklisted "BUD" !!! Mine are Two so get in line buddy ,it starts behind ME!!!

Secondly ,Myles .I think that Wallaces question does hold some merit.Why does the Island still hold more seats ,thats a must change I will say .Just as much as we have to change the fact that we have sent how many "Conservatives" to that place in Ottawa,YUCK !!!

Why haven't we at least sent one "MP" from "OUR REGIONAL PARTY "that has too change as well .BUT, I had to write and say something after ,lol,wallace bit#$@%^$ that his posts got banned !!!

Social Eng at it's finest though, Myles.So ,how long do you keep replying, until they do too you ,
like they did too Sue.Ha Ha ,
you'll stop writing soon too then I guess !!!

Patriot said...

USSR: Yes, Labrador does deserve better representation. Like the province as a whole needs to fight for its voice in Canada they need to fight as well.

NO, nobody is blacklisted on this site but some comments are not posted for reasons as set out above, including personal attacks and trying to diminish the comments of others or side track the subject rather than commenting on it.

Like it or not, this is a personal blog, not a pubicly controlled forum and as such I (as the blog owner) always reserve the right to decide what is posted and what is not. I try to be fair to all sides but in the end the fact remains that this site, much like Canada itself, is not a democracy. In this case it's legitimate that I manage my own blog and the discretion to post or not lies with me.

As for my stopping writing, that will be a long time coming. No buy off, no blackmail and no maneuvering of any underhanded kind is going to shut me up.

I've been at this for over 3 years and I still have a lot to say whether anyone reads it or not, though the thousands who visit each month tells me someone is interested. I don't intend to stop any time soon no matter who it pisses off.

Ussr said...

"Like it or not, this is a personal blog, not a pubicly controlled forum and as such I (as the blog owner) always reserve the right to decide what is posted and what is not " Spoken like a true Canadain Myles ,lol !!! ;)

Patriot said...

I'll take the last comment as a humorous shot USSR. Like the old saying goes, "Canada is a lovely place to visit but..."

Just kidding. I have nothing against Canada accept the system of government that keeps it from being more than it is and limits the future of many of its citizens, who are there by choice or otherwise.

WJM said...

Done WJM, the answer is for the people of Labrador to elect two Labrador party members and send a clear message. Why hasn't Labrador done that? There is a Labrador party, why don't the people back it?

Probably the same reasons of political culture that make Newfoundland such infertile ground for protest parties, too.

Now: how would electing Labrador Party members change the issue I identified: Newfoundland has more seats than Labrador. As anonymous posits, when some place has more seats than some place else, that's fascism.

Isn't it?

WJM said...

I have nothing against Canada accept the system of government that keeps it from being more than it is and limits the future of many of its citizens, who are there by choice or otherwise.

What is it?

How does it limit the future of many of its citizens?

Which citizens?

What is the "otherwise"? You're either born a citizen, or chose to become one, or, as a child, a parent may chose to get you Canadian citizenship. What are you hinting at with "otherwise"?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I love the picture with this article. Very appropriate!!!