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.
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

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 is when the legislature is not sitting, which situation appears to be the preferred option of the Harper regime and now the BC government. I cant speak to the rest of the provinces but it seems to me that they will take note that if they can effectively silence the opposition, eliminate debate and rule by executive order many 'leaders' will prefer that option. Democratic debate, cooperation, sharing ideas and seeking a consensus on proposed legislation is all but a thing of the past, its now 'my way or the highway' with not even a pretence of trying to work together for the betterment of our population.

Even those legislatures that are back to work with the government leader saying the right thing and calling for cooperation are in disarray due to to political posturing, it is after all far more important to make political points in an attempt to get that much valued majority during the next election rather than get on with the job you were elected to do. Others would restrict freedom of expression be it in whatever language or personal choice. No matter which side is to blame our legislatures are increasingly all about getting elected, individual or party power, forcing their ideas on the public with little regard to opposing ideas and blocking any alternative amendments simply because they are not 'our' ideas. It has always been thus but it seems to me that the harper era has brought in an increased disdain for the democratic process not only within the House of Commons but in other legislatures across the country. There even seems to be an increase of this affliction in municipal government which in previous times was largely apolitical but now sees an increasing right left split and political posturing rather than simply working together for the benefit of the municipality being managed.

With the advent of deciding upon actions based upon political ideology rather than factual needs the few individuals who try to make decisions based upon facts & needs are now seriously hampered by the lack on reliable data. That decision the the harperites to do away with the long form census is now coming home to roost with Census Canada not only saying that much of the data released from the 2011 census is less than reliable but that in many cases it is so unreliable due to low participation that the data will not even be published. This is not just a federal problem, provincial governments, municipalities, social support organizations and even small business need reliable data on the communities they serve to make informed decisions. How does one decide where to build a new school (or close an old one), expand a hospital, decide upon future municipal services etc if one does not have reliable population data. How does one decide upon the need for food banks, public transportation, housing needs etc if one does not have reliable income level information on you local or regional population. Quite simply without such information you cannot make an informed decision but must make an unsupported guess, which unfortunately no one can oppose with factual information because it is not available.....which of course is what those who govern by ideology want.

Dysfunctional Government indeed, and if anyone thinks changing the incumbent in any legislature is going to change much they are far more optimistic than I.

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