Democracy Under Fire: Senate Reform Redux

With a small minority of senators under the spotlight for spending irregularities and the Duffy trial adding a further spotlight on how the unprincipled nominated to that body can cheat the system (such as it is) there are the predictable calls for it to be abolished. NDP leader Thomas Mulclair is one such individual, he ...

Democracy Under Fire: Like Lemmings off a Cliff

Canadians who have been taking notice will be aware that C51, the police state law, has past 3rd reading in the house and now goes before the Senate for final reading. It will come as no surprise that the Conservatives vote en-block for the bill for even if some of them had actually read the ...

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – Personal Perspective

After more than 5 years of writing about our declining democracy and having several times reviewed the options open to us should we ever get a government in power willing to put the issue of voting reform before the people I am now going to try and spell out my own wishes in this regard. ...

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – The Parties Position

Its sometimes hard to see where the parties stand on any particular issue given the hype, bafflegab and spin that issues from almost all of them at times and the ever changing positions taken depending upon their position in the polls or whether they are in power or not. As far as I can tell ...

Democracy Under Fire: A Gift of Democracy for Christmas

For those who may not know Leadnowis “an independent advocacy organization that brings generations of Canadians together to achieve progress through democracy.” They are particularly focused upon building “a stronger democracy that protects our environment, creates economic opportunity while increasing equality” Leadnow has become THE organization for those concerned with these things, and who cannot ...

Democracy Under Fire: A Created Crisis?

The whole debate about the reform or abolition of the senate would not be getting the attention it is currently getting were it not for the somewhat overblown concern about just three senators expense claims and Harpers request to the courts to find out if he can do away or substantially change the upper chamber ...

Democracy Under Fire: An Insidious Sickness

Canadian Democracy is sick. It has been showing alarming symptoms for some time now, they range from the inability of a large portion of our MPs to speak out without first consulting the PMO and a failure to listen to those with opposing or alternate opinions, to totally ignoring the rules and conventions built up ...

Democracy Under Fire: Rules and Conventions, Lies and Punishment

I will not dwell in great length upon the ongoing soap opera that is the ‘Senate Scandal’, there is quite enough commentary out there without my adding to it. I will instead examine how and why such thing are even possible in a ‘democracy’ and I contend that it is, at least in part because ...

Democracy Under Fire: Voting for a New Voting System.

Of late there seems to be an increased interest in bringing forward a new way of electing our ‘representatives’ in the House of Commons no doubt brought on by the possibility of the Harper regime winning another majority with a minority vote in 2015. Given their expertise in spinning the truth, using taxpayers money to ...

Democracy Under Fire: Dysfunctional Legislatures

Is there any such thing as a fully “functional” legislature in Canada? I am starting to wonder. I do not follow all the various provincial maneuverings but it seems to me that many of our governing institutions across the country are in disarray. Certainly the only time our federal government can be called somewhat functional ...

Democracy Under Fire: Be Careful What You Wish For!

Abolish the Senate? Be careful what you wish for, we all know that it has become highly partisan and some of those appointed feel they are entitled to their entitlements and take even more, reform is needed but do away with it entirely? I maintain that it is not the institution that is the problem ...

Democracy Under Fire: Is Politics a Team Sport?

Recently a Conservative MP became the first MP in more than a decade to raise a point of privilege against his own governmentin questioning why he was denied an opportunity to speak by his own party whip during question period. Whilst the item that he wished to speak about (selective abortion) is rater controversial it ...

Democracy Under Fire: Stand on Guard

At this time of year as we look back over the previous year and forward to the coming year is also a good time to look at the broader picture of where we are both personally and as a country. When compared with so many other countries around the world that are in conflict or ...

Democracy Under Fire: Unwrap this for Christmas!

I wish I could present you with some uplifting and exciting presents on the democracy front at this time of year but I fear it is not to be, there may be hidden amongst the lumps of coal and crushed remains of our parliamentary democracy a few items that you may be able to salvage ...

Democracy Under Fire: Senate Reform Bill C7

What with all the other stuff going on, not the least of which is the Budget Omnibus Bill which guts environmental regulation and leaves much of the outcomes subject to ministerial overrides, I missed the Senate Reform Bill C7 until I read that Quebec was challenging it. Upon reading it I at first thought that ...

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral and Parliamentary Reform (Final)

Conclusion Over the last5 weeks I have outlined some of thepossibilities andchallenges surrounding changes to our Electoralsystem and briefly touched upon some of theissues surrounding Parliamentaryand Senaterules and modernization. It seems to me thatCanada is dragging its heels in this regard when compared withseveral other commonwealth democracy’s, the oft cited New Zealand’snew proportional system has ...

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral and Parliamentary Reform (part 5)

TheSenate There are generally three views onSenate reform “First, keep our current system. Second, elect ourSenators, and realign where Senators come from in the country (equalrepresentation). Third, simply abolish it.” I will add a forthwhich falls between that previously proposed by the Conservatives andthat which at least one province has tried to initiate, that beingappointed ...

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral and Parliamentary Reform (part 4)

Parliamentaryreform There are basically three things thatgovern the procedures in the House of Commons, House Committees andthe Senate – Parliamentary Tradition, the House Standing Orders andthe current PMs willingness to recognize that the powers that he andcabinet have been trusted with are not a license to dictategovernance by decree. The latter depends entirely upon whom ...

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral and Parliamentary Reform (part 3)

Electronic Voting Last week I touched upon the subject ofelectronic voting as a means to increase the number of citizens whowould participate in this important part of our democratic processand given that ElectionsCanada is ‘studying’ the possibilities will expandupon my thoughts on this. Given all the recent and ongoingallegations of malfeasanceregarding poll locations during the ...

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral and Parliamentary Reform (part 1)

Introduction Recently my co-bloggerposted an opinion about creating support for electoral reform andthis has encouraged me to reexamine where we are in that regard. Iwill in future posts also take a look at the other side of the coin,that being parliamentary reform. Lets be clear here right off thetop, neither is going to happen in ...