Saturday, September 13, 2008

Destroying Democracy

The real tragedy of the Harper government is not the recession that they have brought upon the country and the incredible tax breaks and subsidies they have given large corporations, ensuring that the government cannot buffer the country against the deepening economic crisis. (People should now realize that the Conservatives are not nearly as fiscally responsible as they claim) The real tragedy is that the Harper government has systematically taken the government out of the hands of the people, centralized it and made it significantly less accountable. Besides giving ministers greater powers, and outlining specifically how committee chairs can disrupt the democratic process, the government has made specific moves to ensure that government can function with greater secrecy without citizen access. One significant move that Harper and his cronies made was to end the Constitutional Challenge program, ensuring that governments can institute almost any policy without fear that their efforts will be overturned by the supreme court. Another move that will significantly impact how governments function in the future is Harper’s total failure to enact a meaningful accountability act. The pitiful Accountability act that the government did bring in was nothing but a smokescreen to create the appearance of accountability. Judge John Gomery specifically said that Harper’s effort to centralize the PMO is a ‘danger to democracy.’ To paraphrase Gomery – just because you call something an accountability act doesn’t mean is intended to create accountability! Other things that the government has done to destroy democracy include making freedom of information significantly more difficult, undermined organizations that work to protect women’s and minority rights, and, perhaps most tragically, destroyed almost all government funded adult literacy programs. In a democracy knowledge is power, keeping a population in ignorance has always been one of the favored ways for right-wing governments to undermine the democratic process. Even going back to men like William Pitt and Edmund Burke, Tories have done everything they could to undermine the spread of knowledge and education to ensure their continuing power. In two years of Harper’s leadership democracy has suffered a terrible blow, a Harper majority will debilitate democracy in Canada, perhaps irretrievably.

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