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, April 29, 2012

Are Armbands the Answer?

Its been a strange week with so much going on that it has left this old fellow wondering which particular shiny object to focus his attention on. Should it be the defeat of the extreme right in favor of the slightly less extreme right in Alberta, the last minute reprieve from yet another election in Ontario, the visit of Li Changchun the Communist Party of China party’s propaganda chief with Stephen Harper closely followed by the news that our scientists are being 'shadowed' by "media liason staffers"at the International Polar Year Conference in Montreal. Its getting harder and harder to keep up. What with Parliamentary committees wasting time on the Vickieleaks affair whist at the same time trying to block examination of key players in the F35 fiasco, the ongoing attacks on any one who opposes the Harper agenda, the gutting of environmental regulations, the legislation to limit the ability of citizen groups to raise funds to fight government policy, its all simply too much. That the very process that we use to elect these 'representatives' has been compromised leaves me not knowing where to turn next.

Its all leaving this old fellow rather confused, I simply know that the direction that things seem to be going in this Canada of ours is not one that gives me much optimism for the future, were I younger I would perhaps do more than just write about these things but the more I read of these political machinations the tireder I get. I begin to despair for my kids.

As The Mound of Sound said in a comment regarding his post 'Look, I'm Only Trying to Start a Revolution' “Look, to everyone reading this - the future of your grandkids is being written today - in indelible ink. Deal with that - or not.”

In said post he says “I want you to rise up in revolt against Stephen Harper's malignant regime.  I want you to stand up - in public - and tell everyone around you that he's crossed the line.   I want you to proclaim that Canada won't be governed - or perverted - by  Stephen Harper.” and goes on to suggest that “All I want you to do is wear an armband, a band of black cloth with an embossed red maple leaf.  I want you to wear that, leaf turned upside down in the international symbol of distress.”

Not a bad plan, I for one am very 'distressed' with our current federal regime, as one commenter pointed out I am not so sure about the connotations that black armbands may have but I wonder if wearing a simple Canadian lapel pin upside down or otherwise displaying the maple leaf symbol in 'distress' mode would suffice. Is this disrespect to our country? I don’t know, what I do know that far too many of those who purport to represent us both federally and provincially show much disrespect to both the electorate and to our democratic rules and traditions. It must stop, it must gain more public attention, our very democracy is Under Fire by the very people that are entrusted with its care.

So if you see an upside down Maple Leaf logo on this or any other site do not assume it is disdain for our country but more disdain for those who are running it!

Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

Sunday, April 22, 2012

One Tyrant & Three Amigos

With last week being the 30th anniversary of the patriation of our Constitution and the adoption of the CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS it seems that it is appropriate for a blog concerned with Democracy to give some attention to this momentous occasion. Perhaps one of the most important moments on Canadian history since Confederation it deserves to be celebrated for it has on numerous occasions served as a tool of last resort for individuals who have been left with no other recourse in protecting their individual freedoms and rights. It serves as a check upon both the courts and our government in that when these institutions get a little too full of themselves and interpret or pass laws such that they impinge upon our basic democratic rights and freedoms there is, for those with sufficient resources at least, this is a final avenue of appeal.
Given the impact that this document has had upon our courts, the government and our interpretation of our laws is is surprising that very little is being said about it by 'our government'. The Harper regime is making a big deal of the 200th anniversary of the 1812 war between the Brit's and the Yank's but the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is good for a simple press release. Said statements seems to highlight the desire of the Harper regime to change said document by including this bit in the very brief text - “The Constitution Act of 1982 empowered our government to amend every part of Canada’s constitution”. We cant help but wonder if this is because it was adopted on former prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s watch or because it places restrictions upon some of the authoritarian laws that said regime seems to want to place upon us. Harper says its too divisive! Whilst most Canadians are probably aware of the Charter I doubt that many have actual read it so without further comment I will post here a few of the more important bits as a reminder of the rights that we all have.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association.
Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.

Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.
Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right to move to and take up residence in any province; and to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
Detention or imprisonment Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.
Arrest or detention

Everyone has the right on arrest or detention to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor; to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.
Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
There is of course much more detail contained in the document including a number of exceptions and much upon our dual language rights and obligations. You may read the whole thing at http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/Charter/

Being a blog about Democracy and Parliamentary Process I cannot leave without highlighting this little bit which gives the various legislatures some wiggle room.

No House of Commons and no legislative assembly shall continue for longer than five years from the date fixed for the return of the writs of a general election of its members.
In time of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection, a House of Commons may be continued by Parliament and a legislative assembly may be continued by the legislature beyond five years if such continuation is not opposed by the votes of more than one-third of the members of the House of Commons or the legislative assembly, as the case may be.
There shall be a sitting of Parliament and of each legislature at least once every twelve months. (No length of sitting is specified!)


This Charter applies to the Parliament and government of Canada in respect of all matters within the authority of Parliament including all matters relating to the Yukon Territory and Northwest
Territories; and to the legislature and government of each province in respect of all matters within the authority of the legislature of each province.
Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or a provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding a provision included in section 2 or sections 7 to 15 of this Charter.
A declaration made under (this) subsection shall cease to have effect five years after it comes into force or on such earlier date as may be specified in the declaration. Parliament or the legislature of a province may re-enact a declaration made under (this) subsection.

We are most grateful that the Charter CANNOT be changed unilaterally by this or any other government but requires varying degrees of consensus from federal and provincial governments depending upon the particular section under consideration.

This week Steve Pakin of TVO's The Agenda sat down with The Three Amigos - Jean Chretien, Roy McMurtry and Roy Romanow – and talked about how the deal that created the Constitution came about and why it is as it is. For the podcast of the fascinating hour long show go to http://theagenda.tvo.org/bcid/1569918740001 of particular interest is their take upon why the current PM is less than enthusiastic about this anniversary in the last few minutes of the show.

Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shooting the Messenger.

We have all by now seen the Harper regimes modus-opandi whereby they attack the organizations that disagree with their view of Canada not by presenting a reasoned and documented argument against such opinions along with alternatives, but by destroying or demeaning the organization itself. The examples are many, some of them very scary, they are clearly ideological choices but are the methods used in keeping with democratic traditions or are they over the top? Most governments make similar choices when in power their favorite causes may get additional resources and other may get less but of late it seems that things are getting totally out of hand, the default position seems to be if you cannot summon a reasonable rebuttal....... shoot the messenger.

There is little doubt that government spending must be held in check and that ways to reduce the deficit must be found but are the choices being made based upon fiscal realities or ideological wishes. Several others have listed some of the cuts and and slights that have occurred since this regime took power, I will jut touch on a few that seem to me to be bordering upon an abuse of power.

From the firing of Linda Keen the nuclear regulator to the shutting down of Rights and Democracy, from cuts to the CBC to budget cuts to Elections Canada, from cut backs at the Food Inspection agency to the demise of the Community Access Program it seems that this government has a habit of closing down or defunding those institutions that do not fit their vision of Canada. This seems to include a Canada where Youth and Women receive little help from Government, even youth emplyment programs have been cut. Canada's student summer employment offices have been chopped by federal government cost-cutting and also by the Ontario Government where youth unemployment is as high as 25%. Their thoughts and actions regarding Environmental organizations and regulations are well documented and need no further comment here.The reaction always seems to be attack the messenger not the message.

It would seem their vision of Canada is much different from mine, I see a democratic society where we share our resources, share our information, help those who are less fortunate, encourage our youth, protect out parliamentary and electoral systems whereas the Harper regime seems to be saying its every man for themselves.

There is little doubt that we all gravitate to things we like and steer away from that with which we disagree but this shoot the messenger bit seems to be getting out of hand, I see folks slamming newspapers because they don’t like the view of one or more columnists, others slam TV stations for their coverage which they claim as biased, some reports are indeed one sided and within a 'news' organization that is troubling, but we now see 'cliques' developing across the internet whereby any given site is limited to one particular particular point of view. There is nothing new about this, you don’t go to a Con site expecting to see Lib views and we here hardly subscribe to the Harper regimes point of view, but it seems to be getting worse, now there are divides developing across those sites that have thus far provided a relatively broad selection of progressive opinions.
At the top of our site we say 'Democracy Requires Dialog' and my guest last week made the call for greater dialog between opposing ideological mind sets, and I have repeatedly called for cooperation rather than confrontation, you don’t always have to agree with the other guy but you do have to both listen to it and present your alternative. As another observer said 'it isn’t just or even politicians whose minds need to be changed - that may never happen under the Harper Regime - but those of our fellow citizens'. Shooting the messenger or building silos of like minded rigid thinkers is not the answer, be it in Parliament, on the internet, or in our lives, we must make an effort to be open to other opinions not shut down or ignore those with whom we disagree.
Democracy Requires Dialog!

Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A New Progressive Narrative

In the spirit of encouraging progressive dialogue Democracy Under Fire is pleased to present this guest article by Jared Milne

In the last couple of years, various Canadian commentators have remarked on the new conservative narrative of Canada that Stephen Harper and the federal Conservatives have been creating. Much of this narrative centres around a new form of patriotism that emphasizes support for the military, the Canadian North, hockey and Tim Horton’s coffee. Now, with the Harper Conservatives having formed a majority government in the 2011 federal election, progressive Canadians like Murray Dobbin, Jim Stanford and Andrew Jackson are calling for a new progressive narrative that provides an alternative to the narrative offered by the Harper Conservatives and the more general political right. Carol Goar has written about an anti-poverty movement that she says is “out of step” with the people it tries to help, and Reilly Yeo talks about the need for innovative thinking in how government can work in a networked and global society.

Unfortunately, there are voices on the left that make this much easier said than done. Prominent American professor and public intellectual Ward Churchill called many of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks “little Eichmanns”, claiming that their deaths were a “befitting penalty” for the corporate oppression they supposedly engaged in. Canadian political writer and poet Robin Mathews called Stephen Harper a “psychopath” and compared him to Adolf Hitler. Noted progressive blogger Robert Day, more popularly known as Canadian Cynic, commonly directs personal attacks and insults against those he disagrees with. In one post, he has referred to the federal Conservatives as the “Stephen Harper Brownshirt Party” and called retired judge Frank Iacobucci a “cheap hooker”. In other posts, Day has referred to various female conservative bloggers and politicians as “cunts”. Members of the Occupy Movement have bragged about the “fun” they can have protesting on private property rather than working to earn a living, made up demonstrably false claims about major historical figures, and caused more general violence and hooliganism.

The problem with what these people have been saying and doing is that they make all progressives look bad by association. Their words and actions are used by critics on the right who try to discredit what progressives are advocating and tar all progressives as being hateful towards anyone who disagrees with them, advocating extreme policies and supporting violence when in many cases progressives do not. Progressives like Dobbin and Stanford are exactly right when they talk about the need for a new narrative that can better meet the realities of today’s politics, but any attempt to construct that narrative is only hindered by the likes of Churchill, Mathews, Day and the more radical members of the Occupy movement.

What could a new progressive narrative look like, if it were to have a broader appeal to Canadians than the words and actions of people like Mathews or Day? Much of the conservative narrative today centres around individual freedom, and its opposition to the government “control” that progressives supposedly want to exercise on individuals through government taxes and programs. In many respects, however, government intervention and social programs have actually increased the freedom enjoyed by the vast majority of Canadians.

It’s one thing to for someone to lose his or her job through incompetence, but quite another to lose it because of shifts in the economy or the company needing to downsize through the ineptitude of its management. In the latter case, Employment Insurance can help those unemployed people to pay their bills and participate in the economy while they are looking for work. Socialized medicine has freed many Canadian families from having to pay the incredibly high sums of money that their American counterparts must pay to that country’s private system.

Public education has allowed a greater number of people to better exercise their full talents and increased their career choices. Minimum wage laws have increased the purchasing power of the poorest people in society and allowed them to better participate in the economy. Workplace safety laws have decreased the injuries workers have suffered, allowing them to be more productive for their employers and earn more money for their own use. Environmental regulations can support tourist and fisheries industries and the people who work in them. A judicious combination of publicly available daycare spaces and tax credits for those parents who prefer alternate means of childcare can provide support to more parents than either initiative could alone, thereby allowing a greater number of parents overall to enter the workforce while their children are cared for.

In that way, the social safety net has in fact provided support to Canadians in many ways, providing them with more resources to exercise their talents and individual efforts. However, a new progressive narrative would also need to recognize that government action cannot and should not be the only solution to a problem, and can in fact make things worse if it’s not well implemented. Mel Hurtig and John Ralston Saul have both sharply criticized the conventional wisdom of free trade agreements, tax cuts and privatization. However, Hurtig has also derided the National Energy Program launched by the Trudeau government in the late 1970s as having been “poorly conceived, poorly explained and poorly defended.” Saul has also criticized the slowness, bureaucracy and lack of clarity of the Foreign Investment Review Agency, implemented in the 1970s to review the foreign purchases of Canadian companies.

Rather, it could be said that society functions best through a combination of individual initiative and collective action, through the participation of both governments and markets, each complementing one another’s strengths and compensating for one another’s weaknesses. Private charitable donations and government programs can, at the best of times, combine to support a greater number of those in need than either one could on their own. Private citizens with their own sources of power and wealth, independent of any government, can act against the type of government encroachment seen in Communist Russia or China, while government programs and laws, when they’re properly implemented, can support the liberty of the less powerful.

A progressive narrative can offer a strong criticism of the current market-based consensus that has led to marked increases in poverty among Canadians and that by and large has not had the “trickle down” effect that its advocates have promised. However, a new progressive narrative can and should acknowledge also the good that comes of individual effort, independent of government action.

A new progressive narrative can also offer a number of strong rebuttals to the Conservative claim that their party is best suited to managing the economy. It is worth remembering, for instance, that it was the Opposition parties who forced the Harper government to implement the stimulus package that would become Canada’s Economic Action Plan that helped stimulate the economy and create jobs. Many of the sound regulations that have kept Canadian banks from suffering the fate of their American counterparts were not put in place by Harper, but by previous governments.

On the other hand, Stephen Harper claimed during the 2008 election campaign that, if there was going to be a recession, it would have happened by now. The Harper government has broken its promise not to tax income trusts and drastically increased the national debt and made the tax system more complicated to the point where even Finance Minister Jim Flaherty admits that the tax system is more complicated than it used to be. Many of the tax credits introduced by the Conservatives are harshly criticized by conservative pundits and think tanks, who do not believe that these credits are achieving their goals. Various conservative pundits and bloggers are also becoming increasingly frustrated with Harper’s fiscal mismanagement.

A new progressive narrative would also need to address some of the criticisms directed towards it by the political right. Condemning all capitalists and businesspeople as cruel and uncaring of others is just as unfair and untrue as condemning all progressives and leftists as destructive Black Bloc types. After all, people who own organic grocery stores, occult or bong shops and vegan restaurants may not be known for holding conservative views, but they are risking their own money and capital in setting up businesses that they own and from which they make their living and provide jobs to others. Many Liberal and NDP candidates over the years have been business owners themselves. Vive Le Canada founder Susan Thompson, for example, previously founded and owned Hell N’ Back Welding and later ran for the federal NDP in Alberta. Rather than adhering to the stereotype of the latte-sipping elitist that’s commonly associated with the NDP, Thompson was an entrepreneur who founded her own blue collar company.

These people are, in a sense, capitalists just as much as any business executive who works in a Calgary or Toronto office tower, albeit on a smaller scale. In turn, many of those business executives also donate both their time and their money to any number of worthy causes, their own private initiatives complementing the government’s efforts. Think of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, or the work of someone like Melcor president and CEO Ralph Young. Lumping such people in with less ethical and less compassionate businesspeople doesn’t help anyone. Even the likes of Jonathan Kay, managing editor of the conservative National Post newspaper, talked about how reasonable he found many of the solutions advocated by Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks in their book The Trouble With Billionaires. His problem was not so much with what McQuaig and Brooks were advocating, but rather the general disdain they seemed to hold for rich people as a whole.

Similarly, blanket condemnations of industries like the Alberta oilpatch will not win support for a progressive cause. Most people in the oil industry are no different than anyone else in that their main goal is simply to earn a living. When it comes to changing the way energy is developed in Canada, many people working in the oil industry would want to know how any changes proposed by progressives would avoid damaging or costing them their livelihoods. This perception among many people in Western Canada that progressive parties do not support their regional interests is one of the major reasons they have tended to support conservative parties at the federal level, such as with the rise of the Reform Party under Preston Manning.

Another issue a new progressive narrative would have to address would be specific issues that the political right has managed to claim as its own and which still matter very much to Canadians. Carol Goar has pointed out that the Conservative justice reforms have a lot of appeal to lower-income Canadians who feel threatened by drug dealers and violent young offenders. While it is true that overall crime rates are falling, it is still a sickening state of affairs when sexual offenders are sentenced to house arrest and probation for sexual assault or time served for possession of child pornography. Many Canadians remain unconvinced of progressive approaches to justice, and a new progressive narrative would need to provide more details on how it would deal with violent and sexual offenders.

Perhaps most of all, however, a new progressive narrative would have to avoid, as much as possible, the type of insulting language used by the likes of Churchill, Mathews and Day cited earlier in this essay. This is in fact an area where open-minded progressives and conservatives could come together in establishing a more constructive dialogue between all parts of the political spectrum. This new dialogue would also work against the more radical elements on both sides whose interest is in demonizing or destroying one another, rather than providing sound governance that benefits all Canadians. It is one thing to have a legitimate political disagreement with someone, but quite another entirely to want to demonize them for having different views, or hating them simply because of their general political allegiance.

There is, however, a more positive dialogue that many of us who have a strong interest in politics frequently overlook. It’s the dialogue between many everyday Canadians who live, work and volunteer together, even when their beliefs cross partisan lines. They support the same hockey teams, they volunteer for the same organizations, and attend the same churches, all in spite of whatever political differences they may have.

In talking to many of my fellow Canadians, I’ve noticed how many of them defy the stereotypes one would expect. Self-made entrepreneurs and rural farmers have voted for or even run for the New Democratic and Liberal parties. Conservative supporters have voiced their support of the handgun registry even as they decry the long gun registry, and have voiced support for banning smoking in bars and a fully public health system. University professors and civil servants can support the Conservatives just as readily as the Liberals or the NDP. Political advocacy organizations have had executives made up of Liberals, NDPers, Red Tories and Blue Tories who work together for a common goal. Municipal candidates who are card-carrying members of the federal Conservative party have been supported by lifelong Liberals and NDPers who admire the candidate’s competency. In all these cases, they respect one another’s beliefs and don’t hold the other person’s political beliefs against them.

A new progressive narrative, one that speaks up strongly for itself but that avoids the stereotyping and demonization so common in Canadian politics these days, can make an invaluable contribution to building the new dialogue that is needed and in trying to build common ground among Canadians. It’s important to remember that many people vote for their chosen parties simply because they feel these parties are best suited to managing the country. People who vote Conservative can and frequently do show compassion for the poor and care for the environment, while people who vote Liberal, NDP or Green can and frequently do put in long hours of hard work and show entrepreneurial spirit.

Stereotyping people based on the parties they support doesn’t contribute at all to establishing any kind of a positive dialogue, and in many respects these stereotypes aren’t even true to begin with. From everything I’ve seen, those ordinary, hardworking Canadians who stop at Tim Horton’s for a coffee on their way to work or get up early on Saturday morning to take their children to hockey practice are just as inclined to vote Liberal, Conservative, NDP or Green depending on their individual beliefs. Indeed, a 2010 study by the Globe and Mail specifically found that drinking Tim Horton’s coffee doesn’t necessarily make you a Liberal, an NDPer or a Conservative-it simply makes you a Canadian.

Helping us to remember this is the greatest service a new progressive narrative could do for Canada and for all Canadians, whatever their political views.

Sources Cited:

Mel Hurtig, The Vanishing Country: Is It Too Late To Save Canada? Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2002. Page 112.

John Ralston Saul, A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada. Toronto, Ontario: Viking Canada, 2008. Page 215.

Jared Milne is a writer, researcher and public servant living in St. Albert, Alberta. His major interests including Canadian unity, nationalism and history, particularly regarding how Canada’s incredibly rich past has affected the present we live in today.

Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Electoral and Parliamentary Reform (Final)


Over the last 5 weeks I have outlined some of the possibilities and challenges surrounding changes to our Electoral system and briefly touched upon some of the issues surrounding Parliamentary and Senate rules and modernization. It seems to me that Canada is dragging its heels in this regard when compared with several other commonwealth democracy’s, the oft cited New Zealand's new proportional system has been in place for some years now and even Great Britain, the home of our parliamentary system, recently had a (failed) referendum to change to the AV way of voting. Such changes, or calls for change, however seem to be brought about where there are coalition or minority government situations where the ruling party must cooperate with minority partys to retain power. I believe the same situation exists here in Canada and only in such situations will any effort to consider reform move forward. As has been seen if the regime in power is fundamentally opposed to any move that may reduce their chances of bending the rules to their own advantage and the opposition is not convinced that a majority of the public are in favor of such a possibility it will not happen even then.

Much the same goes for Parliamentary reform, whilst the opposition may cry and whine about the government of the day bending the rules, hiding information, suspending parliament for political advantage, limiting debate and forcing partisan voting they do little to propose changes that would limit these actions. Not only did many of those previously in power do nothing when they had the opportunity, but should they regain power all the promises for change will evaporate in favor of the status quot. Only immense and ongoing public pressure will bring about change and far too many of our citizens either are unaware of the diminishment of democracy taking place that only an upgrading of our voting and parliamentary rules will stop, or they just dont care and believe the daily spin from the current regime that 'all is well, there are no problems'.

Perhaps the only good thing that may arise out of the successful attempt to steal our last election and the belated but ongoing investigation is that more citizens will wake up to what is going on and become advocates for change. If nothing else Elections Canada should be given additional powers and resources to ensure that our electoral system is as free as possible from corruption, however they too have had their budget cut in the recent rather selective move to reduce the increasing expenditures.

Andrew Irvine has an interesting piece in the Ottawa Citizen this morning about why “quick fixes” like electronic voting or proportional representation aren’t likely to improve the sorry state of Canadian democracy. In linking to Andrews column the Sixth Estate makes the point that “The first problem at this point is enforcement. There is no point encouraging greater participation in a system where what few laws exist go routinely unenforced.”

Bottom line, if you are waiting for ANY move towards Electoral or Parliamentary reform to actually take place don’t hold your breath, I see little hope of ANY substantial movement on this front for many years....... unless the public become so pissed off that political partys are forced to include such issues in their platforms and then actually follow through on them. Add to that the very valid points that the above articles make and its hardy an optimistic outlook for democracy in Canada.
Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers