Sunday, January 24, 2010

Canada's weak democracy. . . .

I am very tired of right-wing nut jobs who are so insanely desperate to see Stephen Harper stay in power that they would say or do just about anything. For the past year or more one of the things these drooling dunderheads have been constantly telling anyone who will listen that any suggestion of replacing the minority government with any kind or coalition (formal or informal) would amount to some kind of coup. Never mind that their own mindless, power-hungry little dictator,  attempt the same thing himself. And never mind that I heard talk from the right-wing all through the 90s when the right-wing was split about doing almost anything to bring the right to power including formal agreements. None of that matters to the power hungry right wingers. Now that they are in government there is some kind of sacred status to a minority governments and the idea of coalition governments are tantamount to the total destruction of democracy. Any kind of coalition would be "overriding the duly elected government and thwarting the will of the people" I have heard people on the right say it over and over like a mantra of fear and dishonesty. BUT IT IS A LIE!

Here is a news flash everyone. . . MINORITY GOVERNMENTS DON'T REPRESENT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE - THEY REPRESENT THE WILL OF THE MINORITY! It is not complicated. The Majority of people in the country didn't vote for the government, ergo they don't represent the general will. And this situation is almost unique to Canada and Britain. In almost every other country in the world you cannot form a government without the majority of duly elected representatives. Which makes our system one of the weakest and least representative of all the world's democracies. This was the real point of the now famous article in the Economist. Could you imagine how crazy the right-wing would be if by some quirk of geography and constituency organization Jack Layton was elected Prime Minister in the next election with 30 percent of the vote? Andrew Coyne would have an epileptic fit right on the next broadcast of The National. Suddenly the right-wing would never tire of telling us that the government doesn't represent the will of the majority. 

It is about time for Canada's democracy to catch up with the rest of the world and institute reforms that would guarantee that future governments in Canada do actually represent the will of the majority, that the executive cannot rule more or less by decree, and that smaller groups of elected representatives have some sway in the legislative process. It is about time that we started taking some steps to ensure that our own political system is actually moving toward the ideal of democracy rather than away from it. 

1 comment:

Skinny Dipper said...

As a next step, we supporters of democracy need to design some "Declaration of Democracy" which includes some basic elements such as fair voting and supremacy of parliament. I'm sure there are other elements.

My guess is that Harper will ask the governor-general to call an election for April. Current polls do not matter; potential momentum does. Harper may propose fiscal restraint and accountability by stating that he needs a "strong Conservative government." On the democratic front, we need to hold all the political parties accountable to improving Canada's democracy.