Monday, May 7, 2012

More Harper equals Less Democracy

[Preamble:  I’ve had a number of thoughts running loose in my head and I’ve tried to stitch them together somewhat here.  At the risk of having Godwin’s Law or one of the corollaries tossed at me, I even read about Germany in the 1930’s.  There are parallels… look it up for yourself.
We as Canadians have taken our democracy for granted.  It seems our government was based on the idea that no party would go outside the mostly unwritten rules that have been followed for over 140 years.  Ooops.
Democracy in Canada is at risk, if it still exists today. 
This is a bit of an omnibus rant, a catchall for my thoughts. 
If you have any thoughts to add, please do.  I’d like to hear what other people thinking.  B.C.]

In a recent post, I wondered about the cost of the F-35 JSF program to Canadians.

What I was thinking was Dollars and Cents, but the biggest costs are to Truth, Honesty and Integrity of our government and our system of government.

We live in a Parliamentary Democracy.  Or at least we used to.  The voice of every member of the House is supposed to be equal and every member is supposed to be representing the voice of their constituency.

These members are charged with the responsibility of listening to and taking part in the arguments for and against proposed legislation and policy of our government both at the committee level and as part of the House.

How can this be done without the actual information that backs the proposals made by the government?

This pulls me right back to the F 35 fiasco as well as just about any legislation that the Stephen Harper Party (SHP) puts forward.

How can you realistically decide on what kind of aircraft we can afford when the numbers being provided by the SHP don’t agree with anything outside of the SHP’s little scenarios?

And now we get yet another ominous omnibus bill.

This time it’s a budget bill… 498 pages of budget bill (or so I’ve read) which contains over 100 pages of changes to the way environmental assessments are performed in the future.  Basically, the Harper Party doesn’t want interlopers like the Sierra Club or Greenpeace from having a say in any assessments, only those who are directly involved.  So if they want to run a pipeline through Your community, you can say something, your neighbours can too… then the corporate lawyers representing the corporate interests get their say.

Who will have a better argument?  I’ll bet on the lawyers.

And if some organization wants to stick up for you?  They’re not directly involved, they don’t get to speak.

And then there are changes for EI in this “budget bill” as well, such as moving changes in EI rules from legislation to regulation.

Meaning what?  That now the changes to EI will be decided behind closed doors by Ministers rather than being debated and voted on in the House.

Oh yes, they’ve limited debate on this bill as well.

Is this what the Reformers wanted?  I thought Reform was all about grass roots democracy, more say for the people.

What we are getting is less debate, more decisions behind closed doors and no say for the people.  Less democracy.

What we are getting are omnibus bills with limited debate and whole provisions added with no formal announcements or explanations from the government.  Again, less democracy.

For the first time in history we’ve have a Prime Minister who was found to be in contempt of the House of Commons for failure to provide information requested by the House.  We have Bev not Oda who lied to the House and earned a charge of contempt as well.  A government who privately boast of doing “God’s work” in promoting the Tar Sands… the list just goes on and on.

Whenever things got bad in the House for Lord Stephen in a minority, he locked the doors.  In a childish tantrum he picked up the ball and went home…  Well actually he ran to the Governor General and hid behind her skirt… twice.

Now that he has a majority, he no longer needs to run away, he just yells “Shut Up!” and limits debate and then we go to the Marionette Theatre once again.

Look, this old cat has been around long enough to see his share nonsense floating around in Ottawa.

I just want an honest and open debate about why they are doing what they are doing… without invoking closure or limiting debate.

That is democracy Stephen.  If you don’t like it, take your Party and leave.

On an aside, I wonder if instead of calling them the Stephen Harper Party (SHP) I should have called them the Stephen Harper Team?

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