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Democracy Under Fire: Balancing Act Important For Democracy

A guest artile by Jared Milne I’m currently reading Brent Rathgeber’s excellent book “Irresponsible Government: the Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada”, which describes the methods that Canadian prime ministers have used to consolidate power in the Prime Minister’s Office, and force their Members of Parliament to follow all of their directions. MPs are now expected to only obey the prime minister, instead of keeping him and his Cabinet accountable the way Canada’s system of responsible government has traditionally required.

Many Canadians have been increasingly turned off by this system of top-down control. Samara, an organization dedicated to strengthening Canadian (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: ConCalls: DDM Calling For Mistrial! #RoboCon

Hapless Dean Del Mastro, the former Prime Ministerial Parliamentary Secretary is supposed to soon find out how long he’ll spend in jail away from his wife and baby child.

What's the difference between $21K and $20K? No kids, not $1000, it is a mistrial! #DelMastro #DDM pic.twitter.com/YPtKkOSmCd

— Far Side Peter (@FarSidePtbo) January 27, 2015

Democracy Under Fire: The Incremental Dictatorship

A guest post by Pamela Mac Neil In order for a government to be all powerful, it must dominate all of the major democratic institutions in a society and it must be very adept, when seeking to change the democratic nature of these institutions, at hiding its inner workings while making that change. The Harper government is a fundamentally anti-democratic entity that caters to the agenda of the corporate elite. The decisions that shape all aspects of Canada’s democratic institutions are made largely in private behind closed doors. Underlying the rise of Harpers authoritarian state is a hidden politics. Harper (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: 2015 Budget Prorogued.

We all know that when backed into a corner Harper will do almost anything to avoid any negative information about his regime from emerging from his$65 million plus a year PMO spin machine and that this is particularly true of bad economic news. We know in the past he prorogued parliament in order to avoid what could have been a negative vote on his 2008 fiscal update, whilst not quite as controversial the question must be asked is the delaying of the 2015 budget till April or beyond more of the same?

Given the difficulty that Parliamentarians and the (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Harper History, Part 1 – The Early Years

This is the first of a series of monthly articles examining the actions of Stephen Harper and his Party colleagues both before and after his rise to power with particular emphasis upon words and actions that effect our democracy. The 2015 Federal Election will undoubtedly be critical to to whether or not our Parliamentary Democracy survives or degrades further into the abyss of an elected dictatorship. It is I believe important that we remember the actions of this Regime over the last 15 years or so that have moved us so close to this situation. It is these things that (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: More In Canada Now Willing To Accept Dictatorship

Here’s Harper’s legacy, as he’s attempted to plunge our country into darkness:

The group surveyed attitudes towards democracy and governance in interviews with 50,000 people in 28 countries. It found that Canada was among those nations most likely to support shuttering its legislatures. In fact, the study found that only the citizens of Paraguay, Peru, and Haiti were more likely to put their democracies in mothballs than Canadians.

… Could these strange numbers explain why Canadians yawned when Stephen Harper was found in contempt of parliament, and immediately handed him a majority government?

“His long term goal is to (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: “Nature Deficit Disorder”

At first glance this would seem to have little to do with our central theme here at Democracy Under Fire but when we look at the actions of the Harper Regime in creating legislation to cover protection of The Rouge Valley Park should it be transferred from the Province to Parks Canada then the link becomes clear.

The Rouge Park, a 40-square-kilometre swath of forested valleys and farmland at the eastern ends of Scarborough and Markham. The proposal is for the province to transfer ownership of it to the federal government so it can add another 10 square kilometres, linking (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Looking over our shoulder….

Traditionally this is the time of the year that we look back over the past 12 months and remember the highlights, both good and bad, in an effort to ‘do better’ in the coming year. I would suggest that perhaps we had better keep our eyes firmly in the future lest we walk off the cliff from the highlands of a vibrant democracy and fall into the swamp of authoritarianism and tyranny, we have been traipsing through the scrub-lands of oligarchy for some time now.

However when we have strayed from the path it is often instructive to retrace our (Read more…)

Larry Hubich's Blog: Michael Harris at Unifor Ontario Regional Council, November 2014

Democracy Under Fire: An Open Letter to Tom Mulcair.

Dear Sir I am in receipt of you self congratulatory email boasting of how you have just signed the Fair Vote Canada’s Politicians’ Pledge,I congratulate you on doing so and would hope that many other MPs from all parties join you in doing so but have a number of concerns with the other issues raised in you communications. Firstly your “commitment to make 2015 the last unfair election — and 2019 the first election to use a truly democratic electoral system” is clearly unobtainable…… unless you intend to either impose a new system upon Canadians without public consultation and (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: On The WRP Collapse

Much has been made of the WRP’s collapse in Alberta this past week.  Everything from speculation about the role of various people, to Ms. Smith more or less admitting that she was being undermined by the Social Conservative rump of the party.  

Back when the WRP was just getting itself going, and Ms. Smith was a mere candidate for the leadership, I had thought that the WRP was going to follow the same trajectory that Preston Manning’s Reform party had back in the 80s.  Start off with some reasonable, if unrealistic dreams about a more open, democratic government; (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: The Singing Dictator

A guest post by Pamela Mac Neil “Music is always a commentary on society” Frank Zappa

Whenever I hear that Harpers base is made up of primarily seniors I am a bit perplexed. Not that I don’t think it’s true, because it is. Boomers of which I am one are now seniors, so when I think of older people or seniors, I think of the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Randy Bachman , Leonard Cohen, Dylan or Van Morrison to name a few. It is musical artists that come to my mind not just because I love their music, but because (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Truth in Advertising.

As Susan Delacourt of the Star said this week if you are sick of political advertising now wait until next year and she goes on to highlight a recent blog post by former Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber wherein he says “It is shameful how a supposedly conservative government wastes tax dollars on blatant, self- serving, political advertising.” In his scathing article Mr Rathgeber goes on to point out that the Harper Regime continues to boast of programs that have not passed through the legislative process are are not in fact in place and does so with half truths and (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Your Information is in the Mail

I see a Con MP is proposing to increase the $5 fee for an Access to Information Request which given what Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault saysmay at first seem like a reasonable idea.

“We need more investigators, and it is not my office that is in a crisis, it is the fact that Canadians’ right to access government information is in jeopardy, that is the real issue,” Legault said. ”Because my office is underfunded to such an extent that we can’t investigate their complaint in a timely manner, their rights are being thwarted.” 

However as a number of observers have said not only (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: In the Time of the "Official Truth" There’s No Room for Journalism

John Pilger looks at what the Western media offer up as journalism and sees instead propaganda.  He sees the essence of the mainstream media as not information but power.

The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003. The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: ConCalls: Conservatives’ “(technically) clean hands” #RoboCon

Check out @LindaMcQuaig latest column: Why the robocalls conspiracy will happen again — quietly | iPolitics http://t.co/rPdhmu380t #cdnpoli

— Yamina Tsalamlal (@YaminaTsa) December 4, 2014

Avoiding any responsibility was no small feat for the Conservative party, given how strongly the evidence pointed to some sort of organized scheme, presumably involving the authorization — or at least the tacit co-operation — of high-level officials within the party.

Indeed, in a 100-page ruling, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley found that there was an organized campaign of voter suppression, and that the information used to make misleading phone calls to non-Conservative voters (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Vitriolic nastiness does not breed respect.

Stephen Lewis , the former Ontario NDP leader, United Nations ambassador and lifelong human rights advocate recently took aim at the “pre-paleolithic Neanderthals” in office and their role in the decline of Parliament, the suppression of dissent, the plight of First Nations, their blinkered climate-change policy and our plummeting world status. That his words have been picked up by numerous newspapers and bloggers this week makes it no less important that his assessment of the Harper Regime be repeated here, they are words that need repeating time and time again.

Lewis told the Symons Lecture on the future of confederation: (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: International Day of Action for Burnaby Mountain and ALL Land Defenders

This is an international day of action, so check the event page to see what’s up in your town, for TOMORROW!

And if there’s nothing at your home, be the change!

Let’s consolidate our recent victories and continue moving public opinion to transitioning to the post-carbon energy infrastructure: wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, rail, transit, energy retrofits, solar roadways, ET3 hyperloop system.

via International Day of Action for Burnaby Mountain and ALL Land Defenders.

August 11, 2014 Welcome to the 1,000th Politics, Re-Spun Editorial! (1) June 16, 2014 Hey, BC: Want More Jobs? Dump the LNG and Pipelines! (1) July (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: International Day of Action for Burnaby Mountain and ALL Land Defenders

Thus Prate the Pundit » Social Critique: “Strategic” Voting Weakens Democracy

“Strategic” voting is a bad idea. Organized “strategic” voting improves nothing. Worse, “strategic” voting creates an illusion of trust where there are no possible checks and balances. It’s a scheme just asking to be gamed. Participants in “strategic” voting schemes will get taken advantage of and lose their voices. The aberration of “strategic” voting results from a poorly structured democratic system. We still have a flawed, first-past-the-post system in Canada but that flaw does not justify “strategic” voting’s ina … Continue Reading →

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: ConCalls: May was never contacted about #elxnfraud complaint in #RoboCon

“If the Commissioner of Canada Elections is prepared to ignore the findings of two judges, I think that will speak very poorly of the powers of investigations we have in this country to explore electoral fraud.”

Côté has not yet responded to May’s complaint.

It’s absolutely unacceptable that Elections Canada failed to contact the leader of a national political party after they made a formal complaint in 2011 alleging election fraud took place on a wide scale.

Green party's Elizabeth May wants new investigation of 2011 election robocalls. http://t.co/y6rbWJBMJs

— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) November 27, 2014

Meanwhile (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: More of Harper’s First Nations Racism

The federal government tells CBC News that 84 First Nations have until Wednesday to post their audited financial statements for the last fiscal year, including the salaries and expenses of their chiefs and councillors.

Pam Palmater is one of the most important voices in Canada in this young century so far. Here’s another reason why:

Below she calls out some racism in the form of settler-occupied hypocrisy.

The first nations, so go the racists, are incompetent and corrupt. Like the unions and the poor. That’s why we have Bill C-377 to make the unions pay for working for working people. (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Blind Obedience, the Tool of Tyrants

A guest post by Pamela Mac Neil

“Here is how you’re going to vote and here are your talking points”

On capital hill the above line is the kind of conversation, probably repeated many times, initiated by junior in the PMO’s office, to Harpers backbenchers and various cabinet MP’s. He/she may continue to say, the PM wants this bill passed at tomorrows question period and by the way, junior may add to the selected MP, usually a back bencher, the PM would also like you to ask this question in the House. Could the PM elaborate on “unconfirmed reports (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: On the Benevolence of Slippery Slopes: Women Taking the Lead

I had the pleasure last week of attending a public talk called “Women’s Voices: What Difference Do They Make?” featuring Canada’s first and only female prime minister, Kim Campbell.

Appearing at Vancouver’s Harbour Centre campus of Simon Fraser University, the former PM sat down with Shari Graydon of Informed Opinions to discuss women’s participation in government, business, and the media. She spoke with ease and humour about her time in politics, relating such anecdotes as the aura of stunned silence which prevailed when, having recently been promoted to cabinet, she disrupted the old boys’ atmosphere by launching into a (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Canada: The Eternal Rebuilding Project

Personal relationships enrich us, work makes us feel useful, and goals give us purpose

via Lecture 1 – Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio.

Adrienne Clarkson speaks in this Massey Lecture about belonging.

The first peoples were here first. They established a sense of this land.

Europeans came to conquer and exploit and seek whatever noble goals orbited their economy. They helped remake and redefine the land and its people. For better or worse.

Since then, new people have come and contribute to this eternal project of ever-rebuilding Canada.

Harper isn’t interested in (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: ConCalls: “Clean and Ethical Campaign” #RoboCon #elxnfraud

Because the Guelph Liberal campaign was fined for not self-identifying in a robocall about their opponent’s position on abortion, the Conservatives ran a “clean and ethical campaign”. The crime of another party washes them clean. It’s very Jesus-like, somehow. Have them explain it to you, it’s beyond me.

“The Conservative Party ran a clean and ethical campaign. We spend our campaigns identifying supporters and getting them out to vote,” Cory Hann wrote in an email.

This, in response to knowing that the Conservatives’ communications worker on the Guelph campaign has been found guilty of criminal election fraud. It’s really a (Read more…)