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, May 22, 2011

Democracy Under Fire Surrenders!

After a a few weeks reflection I have concluded that the fight to protect our democracy must continue without my weekly posts for a while. As have many others, I have found recent events both depressing and disconcerting and must take some time to absorb the ramifications of the Harper regimes majority. I therefore will be only posting an occasional article here in the coming months whilst we all see if our fears come true. In my previous post I made some predictions which turned out to be mostly wrong, in the hope that I will this time be totally wrong here then are my predictions for for Canadian politics in the next few years.

The 'New' Harper Regime will increasingly restrict access to information and control what and when Ministers, MPs and Civil Servants can say to the press and the public. The Parliamentary Budget Office will, with the non renewal of Kevin Page's contract, turn into a mouthpiece for the governments latest budget spin, the existing staff will all resign. Numerous reports and inquiries will simply die a slow and quiet death in committee having been blocked by the conservative majority, the few that make it through will be so gutted as to be meaningless. Election financing will, as promised, go through major changes, the per vote funding will be gone, corporate donations will be reinstated and limits for individuals will be raised, the taxpayers will continue to 'subsidize' both individual and corporate funding to partys far in excess of the amount previously designated to the per vote funding. We will all be subject to mail-outs, television advertising and newspaper articles telling us how great the Harper regime is doing on an ongoing and regular basis all paid for out of general revenue, the conservative party war fund will be built to the point that during the next election they can 'buy' enough publicity to totally overwhelm any other partys attempt to get their point of view before the public.

In there efforts to ensure that they, and only they, will be heard rules will be put in place for future debates which will eliminate all but the largest partys by seat count from such public discussions. Harper will build his new media center, will not answer questions either there or in the HoC lobby, or anywhere else for that matter, but simply issue pre recorded propaganda from his control center. The press will continue to print or broadcast this spin for lack of any other information available. The PMOs budget and staff will continue to expand whist all other departments will see drastic cuts, watchdog departments and committees will be particularly hard hit. Auditor-General Sheila Fraser's replacement will not be nearly as open & outspoken and will take most of the next 4 years struggling to get accurate information and fighting for authority to investigate various government agencys.

Harper will be returned for a second majority before enough of the voting public wake up to get out and vote him out. Electoral reform choices will NOT be put before the public in 2015 despite an ever increasing call for such a referendum by both the public and most political partys. It will be at least a decade before such changes take place.

There – 100% wrong, I really hope so, but I fear all too many of these things will come to pass and there is NOTHING we can do to stop it short of taking to the streets, which of course will give Mr Harper the excuse to bring in more draconian police powers and justify his expanded U.S. Style prison system.

And that my friends is why I will be ceasing to produce further articles on this blog for the foreseeable future, I simply see no point in flogging a dead horse. I may pop back from time to time to point out a particularly egregious hit against our democracy but there are a number of bloggers far more active and informed than I doing a fine job of doing that, I hope that, unlike I, they have the fortitude to continue to use the internet to spread the word ....until that too becomes 'government' controlled!

Thank you for your time, I'm done for now.
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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Predictable Chaos

Just one day before probably the most important election in Canadian history we have no idea where things are going to end up, it appears the threat of a conservative majority has been headed off but just as scary is a conservative minority. The fact that the Harper regime has NO respect for parliamentary convention and has clearly said that they WILL NOT work with others should they return with a minority means that IF such a thing happens we are doomed to yet another constitutional crisis brought on by their inability to recognize that our parliament IS a coalition in which MPs elected from all partys and all parts of the country are charged with working together for the benefit of us all.

Whilst I really hope for an NDP or Lib minority government, supported by a few Greens I am not optimistic that enough voters are aware of what will happen if the Harper regime gets back in. With that in mind here is my prediction, which I truly hope does not happen but fear it will.

The Conservatives will form government with a reduced number of seats, they will promptly table a budget with a number of measures that the majority of MPs cannot support, one of these measures will be the elimination of the per vote subsidy that allows the smaller party's to remain viable, they will not however eliminate the subsidy for donations directly to the party and may well increase the upper limit so that their corporate friends can further bribe them to not tax their enormous profits. No discussion or amendments will be considered, it will be a take or leave it challenge to parliamentarians.

After much blathering and backstabbing the House will defeat the budget thus sending harper back to the governor general where he will ask for ANOTHER election, this request will be refused as the GG has little choice but to ask the opposition (no matter who they are) if they can get the confidence of parliament. Having repeatedly rejected the idea of a coalition government the opposition will attempt to form a government on an informal, day to day basis. Mr Harper will be screaming from the house tops 'I told you so, I told you so' and repeating his lies about the constitutionality of 'coalition' governments and proceed to totally ignore convention and parliamentary rules in his bid to retain power thus finally proving for once and all that he is a power hungry lier and totally amoral.

The outcome will be such that the parliamentarians must work together, as they should do anyway, in order to minimize the crisis that will be hovering on the parliamentary doorstep for days and months, they will not do this very well.... but a hell of a lot better than under a Harper dictatorship. The newly appointed conservative senators will under the direction of deposed King Harper do everything in their power to further disrupt the parliamentary process, question period will become so loud and personal that the speaker is unable to control it, however few if any MPs will be ejected from the chamber.

All of the above will not take place should either the Libs or NDP squeak through with a minority government, although the House will still need to be a lot more cooperative than is currently the norm, and Mr Harpers bleating will have a reduced effect, except to show how he is NOT a team player unless he is the “Leader”, and that the senate conservative majority will still block much good legislation out of spite! SOME parliamentarians may even learn to work together after watching the newly elected Greens in action.....

Parliamentary and electoral reform will not feature in any proposed legislation in the ensuing months or years despite the clear need for such demonstrated by this ongoing “crisis'.

The only really good thing coming out of all this is a Green MP in the House and that both Mr Harper and Mr Ignatieff will be replaced as leaders within 6 months.

One final prediction. This writer will become so disgusted with the whole thing that he will cease to follow and write about the decline of our democracy, retire to his rural enclave and go back to nature. He will not however cease to worry that Canadian democracy is going down the toilet.

Vote – Vote – Vote – Vote – Vote – Vote - Vote
Vote ABC

Thank you for your time and goodnight.
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