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, September 14, 2014

Essential Reading for Democracy.

There have been a number of articles highlighting former Conservative MP Mr. Rathgeber’s new book Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada in recent days. That he outlines the tight control that the PMO exercises over the Conservative MP's is hardly a surprise given that he quit the Conservative caucus over having his private members bill nixed by them, however such concerns by those who sit, of have sat, in the House are not new.
Mr. Rathgeber, twice elected as a Conservative before quitting caucus last year, outlines how MPs have seen their powers fade away, reduced to “cheer-leading and barking on command” while the PMO has grown stronger over decades, under Mr. Harper and his predecessors, with little oversight.”
Indeed if we take a look at some of the exit interviews conducted by Samara, the democracy measurement people, we will see a great deal of concern about how much 'control' the party brass and the PMO has over those we have elected to look after OUR concerns. It is unfortunate that so few of them do not speak out untill AFTER they have retired from politics, perhaps the following gives a clue, they are more interested in not loosing their perks that in returning the institution to what it was intended to be - “a body in which the Prime Minister is only the first among EQUALS!

The book offers a glimpse into the tightly controlled Conservative caucus, where backbenchers are given little say and punished – a relocated office, a less desirable committee, the cancelling of travel junkets – for stepping out of line. Mr. Rathgeber was formerly an Alberta MLA under Premier Ralph Klein, whose caucus voted on bills before they were tabled, he writes. Under Mr. Harper, the Conservative caucus is more of a pep rally and doesn’t include votes. Instead, there are “caucus advisory committees” open to Conservative MPs – but their meeting schedules aren’t published, Mr. Rathgeber writes.”
All this is old news, there is one MP who has been warning us of the fragility of our democracy and of the dangers of centralizing power in the PMO for years. Elizabeth May wrote the book on the Crisis In Canadian Democracy back in 2009 before she was elected to the House, her book Losing Confidence: Power, Politics And The Crisis In Canadian Democracy serves to outline how little has been done over the ensuing years to stop the decline.

You may compare her book with Tragedy In The Commons, by Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan (of Samara), all these book detail a parliamentary system that is in deep trouble in large part due to the thirst for absolute power by political parties of all stripes and the gradual elimination or disregard of any rules that may limit their power.

There is one small glimmer of hope in the about to be voted upon 'The Reform Act' which was introduced nine months ago as a private member’s bill by Conservative MP Michael Chong. It is far from all that is needed but is a tiny step in the right direction, you may find out more about it over at Samara and send letters to your MP to support it via LeadNow. Unfortunately Mr Chong is proposing even further weakening of the legislation presumably to make it more palatable for his Con colleagues.

I will leave you with this though from Mr Rathgeber in referring to some recent events concerning the PMO
Leaders lead, they do not perpetually search for scapegoats,”
One might add that good leaders protect democracy not destroy it!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Canada-China Trade Agreement to be Ratified?

Breaking news from Ottawa: We’ve just heard that Prime Minister Harper could be about to ratify the secretive and extreme Canada-China FIPA investors deal in the next few hours. This deal would allow China’s massive companies to sue Canadian governments in secret tribunals if we make decisions that put Canadian interests ahead of their corporate profits – restricting Canadians from making democratic decisions about our economy, environment and energy.

It gets worse: If Prime Minister Harper approves this international investors’ deal it could bind us for 31 years.

As you may know, the Hupacasath First Nation are using their constitutionally protected legal rights to challenge this deal in court. The court case is still in progress, and the court has not yet released its decision on the Hupacasath’s appeal. If Harper ratifies FIPA it would show total disrespect for Canada's courts and the the judicial process.

There is little we can do to stop his dictator from ratifying this anti Canada trade agreement but LeadNow is suggesting we call our MP or the Com MP responsible , See this http://www.leadnow.ca/stop-fipa/ for further information.

UPDATE 3pm Friday 12th Sept 2014
Its a done deal !!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The War of Words

I am tired of beating my head against the wall repeating things I have been saying here in this blog for over 5 years, this week I am going to simply point you towards a few other folk who are also aware of the dangers of believing everything we are told by the truth spinning oligarchs that have the nerve to call themselves a democratic government. They are not, they are a regime whose sole stated purpose is to bring our government bureaucracy and election process to the point where they and only they can hold the reins of power for the foreseeable future, they are not in the slightest way interested in preserving the systems that define our parliamentary way of governance. You will not recognize Canadian Democracy when they are done with it.

One of the danger of following the destruction of so many things we have hitherto taken for granted, the freedom of government researchers to publish their findings, the assumption that government will protect our land, air & water from industrial pollution, that proposed changes in our laws will be fully and openly debated in our legislatures, that our election process will be fair and unsullied by fraud, and so on is that we blame the leader as if he and he alone is responsible. Whist we have most certainly moved much closer to that situation in recent years it cannot be emphasized enough that without the support of the conservative caucus, and more particularly the inner circle of 'ministers' none of these alarming actions could have come about. Even those in the conservative party who have little say in decision making but sit on the back benches cannot be let off the hook for if you ignore wrong doing and simply spout the party line and vote as directed by the party oligarchs then you are no less guilty than the leader who speaks for them. In short let us not put all our efforts in defeating “Harper” but in putting ALL of the Harper Regime on trial for their contempt for Canadian values, our Parliamentary Democracy, our freedom of speech and indeed contempt for all but their brainwashed disciples.
Let us not get too confident when pollsters say that their grasp on the electorate is slipping, for polls are a very inexact science at best, can be manipulated, and we have a long way to go yet to the next Election.
Remember the Harper Regime will do ANYTHING to win and playing within the rules is simply not in their playbook!

So I lied and had a good rant before recommending these well informed and eloquent bloggers who so often say it all so much better than this concerned but unprofessional scribbler.

Northern Reflections
Owen Grey brings us extracts from topical articles on a daily basis and puts thing in perspective from northern Ontario. You will always get a reply to your polite comments.

John Kleins blog has been the go to place for information on robocon details and several other similar issues. Check out his tag cloud for archival posts.

The Disaffected Lib
The Mound of Sound comments upon a wide variety of subjects from environmental issues to world affairs several time daily.

Politics & its Discontents
Lorne regularly gives us “Reflections, Observations, and Analyses Pertaining to the Canadian Political Scene” in particular that of the Harper regime.

These and many others who may be found at Progressive bloggers and elsewhere are aware that democracy requires more than selecting your choice of a person to represent us in the various legislatures but that it takes a daily fight to make sure that we can do so from a position of knowledge, accurate information, the truth about those who are want to form government. That we fight with words rather than fists or more direct means does not make it any less of a war, that the other side is firing bullshit does little to limit the damage for their volume of such ammunition is unlimited and they have no compunction on using it, or using our tax dollars to spread it.