Arising from George Orwells novel Nineteen Eighty-Four published in 1949 the adjective Orwelliandescribes a totalitarian dystopia characterised by government control and subjugation of the people. Orwell’s invented language, Newspeak, satirises hypocrisy and evasion by the state: for example,the Ministry of Truth oversees propaganda and historical revisionism. When writing this Orwell believed that British democracy as it existed before 1939 would not survive the war, the question being “Would it end via Fascist coup d’état (from above) or via Socialist revolution (from below). Many Canadians are starting to wonder the same here and now, we hope that like Orwell (Read more…)
“Much of the reporting by the mass media gives the impression that Venezuela faces a national rebellion. The reality, says Miguel Tinker Salas, is that the protests have been restricted to mostly middle and upper middle class neighborhoods, not entire cities.” – Truthout, What is happening in Venezuela?(Many, many thanks, to the honest journalism […]
Yesterday, the outgoing Premier of Quebec, Pauline Marios, requested that the provincial legislature be dissolved, thereby sending Quebecers to the urns for a general election on April 7.
Hey wait a minute. Didn’t the Quebec legislature unanimously adopt a law that would have general elections held on fixed dates every four years? It sure did. So, what’s up with having a general election only 18 months after the last one?
Related Posts Three Reasons Why This Anglo Is Thinking About Leaving Quebec: Breach of Trust, Loss of Confidence, Demographics The Pathetic State of Politics in Quebec My Democratic Dreams Were (Read more…)
Brad Butt is an ass. Look what other election fraudsters are working with him to reshape Canada’s Election law.
Borys Wrzesnewskyj, the former Liberal MP in Etobicoke Centre, successfully went to court to have the May 2, 2011, election results in the riding overturned due to ballot irregularities. Conservative Ted Opitz, who won the riding by 26 votes, has appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The seniors’ home incident, which Wrzesnewskyj dropped from his case before it was heard, happened at the St. Demetrius Seniors Residence, a large apartment building in Etobicoke offering assisted living and long-term (Read more…)
Five years ago this week I started Democracy Under Fire due to concern of the way in which the new Conservative Government was ignoring democratic and parliamentary conventions. This was just after their reelection as a result of the lowest voter turnout in Canadian electoral history, with only 22% of eligible Canadian voters casting a vote and prior to their most glaring abuse, which being the proroguing of parliament to avoid a vote of non confidence in Sept of 2009. During the the first few months I took the time to examine and more fully understand our system as it (Read more…)
This afternoon I spoke on a panel on university governance at a conference titled Future U: Creating the Universities We Want, organized by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. Also presenting on the panel were Professor Glen Jones and Professor Claire Polster.
Future U: Creating the Universities We want Future U: Creating the Universities We want
My speaking notes can be downloaded at this link.
Points I raised in my presentation include the following:
The Basics. Typically in Canada, a university has both a board of governors (BoG) and a senate. The former (which was (Read more…)
Politics can be a deeply disenfranchising experience for many people. For an individual, it seems like we have no power, no way of influencing what is going on. So we can grumble around the dinner table about what the politicos are doing in Ottawa and Washington, or we can ignore it all, but either way it doesn’t make much of a difference. In the final consideration, of course, we live in a democracy and the average person does have enormous power to influence our society, at least in aggregate. People recognize the power that voting has and roughly 60% of (Read more…)
If the 1% has Russell Brand killed, we will see it in the corporate media as a drug OD relapse, or a freak accident.
He is dangerous because he fearlessly tells the truth and challenges pretence.
Let’s examine this in some detail here [with video]:
His brain works twice as fast as most brilliant people I’ve encountered in my life. He is the socio-political heir of George Carlin. He speaks truth to power AND the masses. And frankly, WE’VE FORGOTTEN THAT THE MASSES ARE THE POWER. He is sober, so no one can credit his speedy speaking style on (Read more…)
Canada’s political institutions have not evolved significantly from their conception nearly 150 years ago. We still regularly go to the polls and choose between the candidates from various political parties to represent us in Parliament and in the provincial legislatures.
Effectively, we transfer our popular sovereignty to a few individuals, who in turn vote according to the dictates of their political leaders. Importantly, once the votes are counted and the seats distributed, almost the entire population is shut out of the political process that governs us. We are left standing as spectators, hoping that are elected officials will be able (Read more…)
In their latest report “By Invitation Only:Canadians’ Perceptions of Political Parties”Samara, the measuring democracy people, identified six key roles of political parties’ functions in three main areas. In a survey concentrating upon the areas of Elections, Engagement & Policy they asked their respondents to rate the performance of Canadian political parties on each of them. The results indicate that political parties are not doing well in any of these areas. Recruiting candidates and competing in elections – 43% grade Encouraging people to vote – 46% grade Hearing ideas from party members – 54% grade Reaching out to Canadians so (Read more…)
Working people need to seek out solidarity opportunities.
Unions and unionized workers need to reach out to non-unionized workers and seek legislative improvements for all, like improvements to the EI and doubling the CPP and renegotiating the Canada Health Accord and expanding Medicare and getting a national pharmacare program and starting a national childcare program and building a poverty reduction plan and a national housing strategy and no longer funding First Peoples at third world conditions. And the list, actually, does go on.
And public sector workers need to build solidarity with private sector workers, whose union density is declining.
Although Canadians like to think of themselves governed by a modern democratic state, in reality, we are still governed by a colonial form of government that is a vestige of the British Empire.
Our Head of State is a foreign monarch, Queen Elizabeth II; the Prime Minister is chosen by the Crown’s representative, the Governor General — although tradition has is that this title is bestowed upon the winner of the contested vote exchange that takes place during a general election — and the laws adopted by Parliament do not become law until they are given the Royal Assent from the Governor (Read more…)
As you consider the Fair Elections Act, your common sense may tell you it is vital to prevent fraudulent or ineligible voters from casting a ballot at any cost.
However the mathematical reality is that the effect on an election of a ineligible vote is equal to the effect of an eligible voter who is unable to vote. One gives one extra vote to a candidate, the other removes a vote from a candidate.
Any change to make it more difficult to vote will only make elections more democratic if it prevents more fraudulent or ineligible voters from voting then (Read more…)
The contempt that our employee, Mr. Harper, holds for his 36 million employers is palpable. Sometimes it’s just goofy. He’s taken to skirting the “real” media, whom he despises, to becoming his own media, like bloggers or vloggers. Watch, and let’s examine how pathetic an employee he is:
There are 36 million Canadians and barely 300/day have watched this week’s instalment of his attempt to be his own media. By shunning the actual media whose job it is to report on the political despot, his contempt is consistent. Only 75 people have bothered to view the French version. Shock! His (Read more…)
“The things in it that are good could have been so much better, but the things that are bad are unforgivable in a democracy.”
Recently Green Party Leader Elizabeth May had an opportunity to speak to the Commons Committee considering Bill C23, The ‘Fair’ Elections Act. What follows are some extracts from that presentation, for a full transcript and audio of that speech please go the her MPs website.
Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to be able to speak to Bill C-23 today. I want to pause and say that when we have these rushed processes (Read more…)
by: Obert Madondo
Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Photo by Remy Steinegger
The Harper Conservatives’ Bill C-23, the so-called “Fair Elections” Act, violates Section 3 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It’s clear the Conservatives are preparing to steal the 2015 federal election. Bill C-23 is part of their ongoing war on the politically-marginalized. It unequivocally proposes to disenfranchise non-Conservative voters and marginalized groups.
The Charter’s Section 3 clearly states that “Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of the members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for (Read more…)
In reaction to a government bill that would prevent Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer, Marc Mayrand, from speaking publicly about the quality of Canada’s Electoral System, he went on record to state: “I’m not aware of any electoral bodies around the world who can not talk about democracy” and that “my reading of the act is that I can no longer speak about democracy in this country.” In other words, it seems that Mr. Mayrand is about to have his administrative balls removed with surgical precision.
I guess I would also be feeling pretty disgruntled if I were about (Read more…)
I apologize in advance, British Columbia.
This will be the week from hell, and it started yesterday while we were all Family Day-ing. Hold your breath:
Yesterday, the Conservative Soft Fascist Party of Canada rammed through the “Fair (sic) Elections Act” that will further protect us from the possibility of fair elections into the future. The next Fair Elections Act will likely give corporations the vote. Because why not, they’re people too! Actually, they’re more human than us in so many ways. And it’s actually called corporatism, not so much the fascism. In recent weeks we heard that the (Read more…)
Call your nearest Conservative MP right now, until 330pm today, west coast time. Let them know that their Orwellian-named “Fair” Elections Act is clearly designed to further erode democracy and we see through it. See below for where you can contact such MPs.
We can’t let them ram this through, or else we’ll become even more of a banana republic.
Hold the phone
Without warning, the Harper government is ramming through legislation that will seriously undermine democracy in Canada. It was just introduced a few days ago, but could be adopted by the House of Commons as early as Monday (Read more…)
Historically, big changes in governance often occur in a period of rapid debate and change, following a long period of relative inaction while structural pressures build. For the Senate, the problems regarding the institution have been clear for a long time, but prospects for change have been dim. Complaints about the system and the occasional proposal for change are uttered here and there, but they didn’t command centre stage.
In the last year, however, there has been a confluence of factors that make the prospects for change increasingly likely. Firstly, Harper won a majority government. A long time critic of (Read more…)
As is usual with so many of the Bills proposed by the Harper Regime the ‘Fair’ Elections Act has so many changes buried in the fine print that it is almost impossible for all but the most dedicated and knowledgeable researchers to really understand the implications of it all. Whilst there is little doubt that some changes were needed (in particular in view of the robocall issue) I must question that our election Act was so problematic that it needed a 247 page rewrite, and that just for the CHANGES to it!
I intended to read the whole thing as (Read more…)
Today is Friday. Let’s make it “think for ourselves Friday.”
It’ll work: the government/corporations/1% won’t see it coming!
Twitter / occupythemob: http://t.co/doHx1xWO4l.
December 17, 2013 Fried Squirrels (0) December 20, 2013 Enbridge: What Now? We Escalate Our Fight (4) January 7, 2012 Day Two of Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons (0) January 7, 2012 Opening Panel from the Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons (0)
I continue my analysis of Bill C-23 in depth, largely out of the same horror and curiosity that goes with looking at a traffic accident. Except in this case, it more to shed light upon the various little poison pills and land mines that The Harper Government is slipping into this 240 page monolith.
Today’s topic is the appointment of the Commissioner of Canada Elections. This would be the head of the body responsible for investigating electoral irregularities.
In the pre C-23 legislation, this is a fairly simple piece:
509. The Chief Electoral Officer shall ap- point a Commissioner of (Read more…)
I have not by any means finished my analysis of this bill and what it is setting up. However, a lot of other smart writers have been going over the bill too, and they have much to say which bears summarizing and considering.
First, over at the Toronto Star, Chantal Hébert has pointed out that the limitations the government is placing on Elections Canada in terms of its ability to inform the electorate of their right to vote and where they can vote fundamentally plays to Harper’s desire to promote electoral apathy: Under this bill Elections Canada would be allowed (Read more…)
The rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer, and the gap between them is growing.
This is the test of whether we can be content in our complacency. Here’s why.
In 2010, a tax filer required an annual income of $201,400 to be in the top 1%. This was 37% higher than the threshold value of $147,500 in 1982, when the data series began. (All dollar figures in this text are expressed in 2010 constant dollars.)
The income gap between the top 1% and the rest of filers has widened over time. In 1982, the median income of the top 1% of filers was $191,600. This was seven (Read more…)