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 4, 2015

Vote, Vote, Vote - Vote ABC

Are you Registered to Vote?

By this time you should have received your Voter Information Card telling you where your polling station is located, if you have not received one then either you are not on the list or you information on that list is incorrect and you should call or visit your local Election Canada office and get your information added or corrected.

If you did receive a card then check it out and make sure that the name and address matches that on your personal identification, in particular the address. If it does not contact EC and get the electors list corrected or you may be turned away on voting day.
Find your local EC office address and phone number here.......

I am told by someone who recently took poll clerk training that should you turn up at a poll with address information that does not match the listings or when you are not on the list then you will NOT be turned away but added to the list and asked to swear that you have not voted elsewhere.

Its a difficult choice we must make this time around in order to remove the current dictator from power, the choice of which other candidate (and thus the party they represent) is best placed to defeat the incumbent, or new, conservative candidate is not always clear in many ridings. You may be tempted to say I want him gone but I am not sure who else to vote for and therefore not bother. Please don’t do that, if the more that 40% of folks who did not vote last time get out and vote ABC then ANYTHING can happen in any riding.
So make sure you are on the list, your details are correct, and get out and VOTE, dont let Harper steal another election with his unfair election act changes designed to discourage voting and prevent Elections Canada from encouraging voters to vote and hamper investigation of electoral fraud.

Advance voting days
October 9, 10, 11 and 12, noon to 8:00 p.m.

Election Day is Oct 19th
The time polls are open will vary depending upon your time zone but ALL are open a minimum of 12 hours

Other ways to vote
Go to any Elections Canada office by 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13

No card?
Find out where to vote and check out if you are on the voters list here by entering your personal information


More voting wrinkles

Just found an interesting wrinkle in the voting process for those who wish to keep their face covered, despite have all the required documents the same as those who do not have photo ID and are permitted to vote right away those with face covering must swear an oath before they may vote. This does not seem logical or fair.

Those who want to make a protest by accepting a ballot and then refusing to vote will not be counted as refusing but their blank ballot placed in the box and counted as a spoiled ballot. A far better way to make your dislike of the system known would be to vote for a candidate who supports electoral reform. 31,000 people voted for “none of the above” in the last provincial election in Ontario where such an option was available, lets make every vote count..... against the dictatorial and corrupt Harper Regime!

As in all previous elections those that are turned away due to insufficient or incorrect identification or being at the wrong poll are not counted so we will never know how many voters tried to vote but were denied the opportunity. Please be sure you are on the voters list and have matching identification.
This information and more can be found in the polling clerks training manuals available on line on the Elections Canada site.

You should also have received a flyer regarding what to do if you did not receive a card which says you must present ......

1) Show one of these pieces of ID

  • your driver's licence
  • your provincial or territorial ID card
  • any other government card with your photo, name and current address

2) Show two pieces of ID

At least one must have your current address
What it does NOT say that said address much match in large part the address that EC has on file if it does not or if they have no listing you will have a problem.... call EC to ensure you can vote.

Almost 10 million Canadian voters did not vote for one reason or another in 2011, if all these folks make their wished know in this the most important election in years, possibly in Canadian history, then we CAN get rid of this undemocratic regime.............

In the 2011 Federal Election the conservatives formed government (with a disproportionate number of seats) with approximately 700,000 votes more popular votes than the runner up HOWEVER over 9.5 Million eligible voters did not vote. You CAN make a difference get out and VOTE! 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Special Forces for National 'Emergency’s'

Call me paranoid, perhaps I have been following Harpers attacks upon our democracy too long, but I fail to understand why we need to expand our 'Special Forces' (at an annual cost of $50 million) “to respond to varied, and sometimes multiple, national and international emergencies." We do have almost 2000 of these specially trained combat solders on our payroll already and we hardly need special military training to respond to 'national emergency’s' like floods, forest fires, or ice storms, not that our federal government has been quick to offer that kind of help in the past. Are our police and emergency services so underfunded that we need 'special forces' deployed within our borders/

Conservative candidate Jason Kenney says a re-elected Conservative government will expand the ranks of Canada's special forces by 35 per cent over the next seven years.
"A re-elected Conservative government will provide the Canadian Armed Forces with an expanded Special Forces capability “

Should the Conservatives get reelected or be in a minority position and ignore a vote of non confidence perhaps they will need a fast reaction force to subdue the thousands of citizens that will object to living in a police state.

The Canadian Armed Forces Special Operations Command (CANSOFCOM) is currently composed of five main units made up of just over 1,900 personnel. The government is looking to add some 665 members by 2022.
The plan would cost about $75 million over the next four years. The Conservatives would commit $10 million in 2016-17, increasing to $30 million in 2019-20. When the expansion is complete, it would cost the government about $50 million per year to maintain.

Naturaly the Minister continues to insist that we are under imminent danger of attack by those 'terrorists' who are flooding across our borders past our secure border agents with those dreaded refugee immigrants!

"Expansion of the Special Forces units will ensure that our Armed Forces are prepared to respond to the terror threat posed by groups such as the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)," Kenney said.
.....and help us keep those home built democratic zealots in line.......

Bottom line I can think of MANY better uses for 50 million a year, even within military budgets! But Harper seems determined to make war not peace with his aggressive stance on almost anything and with the current state of our military equipment perhaps he sees the best use of our military to enforce his domestic policies because he sure is not doing much to enhance our reputation overseas. An internal Foreign Affairs briefing document stamped "Secret" warns that "despite Canada's reputation as an active player on the world stage, by many measures, its relative influence has declined or is under threat." -

A venerable collection of Canada’s foreign affairs community released a series of scathing essays slamming the government’s disengagement from the ‘community of nations.’  The essays, published Sept 2014 by the World Federalist movement, a non-profit research organization that studies and advocates for global governance reforms and democratization.  The University of Ottawa’s John Trent, who edited the project, says that the Harper government’s foreign policy positions have been starkly different than any other government in Canadian history.

While Canada once contributed as many as 3,000 military personnel to peacekeeping, it currently provides only 34 – not enough to fill a school bus. While the United Nations currently (July 2014) deploys an all-time high of over 80,000 military personnel in the field, Canada has kept its numbers at historical lows since 2006.
Walter Dorn from the Canadian Military College

The reality is that the present government openly and with forethought doesn’t want to engage with the UN in any meaningful way. In fact, it’s not particularly interested in any kind of multilateral, collaborative, ‘internationalist’ engagement.
Former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy

But then $50 million is a paltry amount compared with what he wants to spend on those useless and untested F35s.........

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Harper History – Conclusion, Index

It is all but impossible to cover all the things that the Harper Regime has done to diminish our democratic institutions or the contempt that he has shown for democratic conventions in a few paragraphs. From the shutting down of parliament to suit his political purposes to instructing committee chairs on how to disrupt or delay proceedings, from not permitting any government employee or spokesman to say a word with express approval from his censors in the PMO, from his refusal to answer any but 'approved' questions from the press (and only three per carefully controlled 'photo opp” at that) to his gradual gutting of any meaningful oversight of government operations there are simply too many hits to summarize.

Nor have I covered, except in passing, the ideological misuse of public moneys under the banner of The Economic Action Plan whilst at the same time preaching fiscal restraint and instituting cuts to departments and programs in a highly selective manner. That said cuts were primarily focused upon womens programs, scientific endeavours and environmental protections and that expenditures were increased within the PMO, in particular for public 'advertising' should clearly indicate this regimes priorities. Add to this the cuts to the mandate for both Elections Canada and Statistics Canada but the increased funding for Revenue Canada to go after registered charities (but not rich tax evaders) who may have expressed a view contrary to the PMO issued spin and you begin to see how dangerous and frightening further unlimited control of our countries purse strings and Parliament by this regime would be.

In my Harper History Series I have over the last six months attempted to list the lowlights of this regime which particularly focus upon the hits to our democracy, I have made NO attempt to cover other areas in which, in my view, they have show disregard for the less than fortunate or financially challenged Canadians, nor have I spoken of foreign policy’s that have reduced our once highly respected country to a shadow of its former self in the eyes of all but one particular middle east regime. Or of the 'free trade' negotiations that would give foreign corporations the right to sue local governments who would give priority to Canadian employers in their contracts. To even attempt to touch upon these thing would require many hours a day simply to keep up with the ongoing disregard this lot has for all but the rich and powerful (and perhaps the gullible), I can only refer you to my series “The Harper History” (this being the last post in that endeavour) which attempts to list, in chronological order, those things that they have done to centralize power, minimize the influence of our elected representatives, eliminate oversight and keep the electorate from seeing what they are doing.

What has been done is bad enough, the manner of its being done and the ever increasing secrecy surrounding those decisions is far more troubling and when coupled with the abuse of parliamentary procedures, including the use of massive omnibus bills, it is clear that the Harper Regieme had no respect for our democracy but has been rapidly moving us towards a defacto dictatorship. Democracy is much more than having the ability to select your dictator every few years, let us take care to elect individuals who do not subscribe to that view.

To make it easier for those who care to wade through this depressing but alarming list I have combined all 11 posts in two long documents, one covering the regimes anti-democratic actions prior to the 2011 election ((19 pages - 7900 words) and one covering the period from 2011 to the present when they held a majority ( 27 pages - 10,230 words) which can be downloaded or viewed HERE and HERE or you can see all the post individually (in reverse order) by clicking on the 'Harper History' icon on the top right of this blog page.

What follows is an index to the various sections with a direct link to each. Please feel free to share or distribute these pages as you see fit, an acknowledgement of the source would be appreciated.

Harper History, Part 1 - The Early Years

Harper History, Part 2 – In Opposition
June 2004 – Jan 2006
Harper History, Part 3 - First Con Minority

Jan 2006 – Sept 2008

Harper History, Part 4 - Con Minority, Prorogued x2

Oct 2008 – Dec 2009,
Harper History, Part 5A - Information witheld , Omnibus Budget
Mar 2010 – June 2010
Harper History, Part 5B - G20, Census Axed, Contempt.
June 2010 – Mar 2011
Harper History, Part 6A - Con Majority - Election Fraud
Spring 2011 & Subsequent Fallout
Harper History, Part 6B – Budget Reintroduced - More Secrecy
May 2011 – summer 2012
Harper History, Part 7 – Suppressed Information – Advertising Overload
2012 – 2013
Harper History, Part 8 – Senate reform / suspensions, Election Act
2013 – 2014
Harper History, Part 9 – Omnibus budget, Anti-terrorist bill, Election call.
Summer 2014 – Aug 2nd 2015

At this point I can do no more than leave you with the following summation of Stephen Harper and his Regime and hope that my series has opened a few eyes.

Since he has taken hold of the Prime Minister’s crown, a rot has infected our Parliamentary democracy. This offends and fills me with disquietude. It should you, as well. As an elected member of parliament and as prime minister, he has defiled the office he holds, tainting the reputation of Canada and, with the assist of loud, angry, offensive, and ignorant conservative MPs, subverted and made a mockery of our electoral process. Though cited for contempt of Parliament, Harper has remained unscathed, unrepentant and the public largely indifferent. That he has a base of support as large as it is astounds me. How can so many be so blind, so indifferent, so…so dumb? “
Frank A. Pelaschuk in Harper: The Beast