Essential Knowledge Needed to Grow a Democracy part 10
Democracy Does Exist in Canada
By common beliefs, Canada is a democracy. I would argue that this is not true in the pure sense of the word, if you use democracy is the power of the people, for the people and by the people as a criteria. Because politicians are in the very least sense “held accountable” for their actions and policies in their term of office, it kills the very idea that it is the power of, and by the people. And for anyone that thinks that what your Member does is for the people, I have a piece of land that you might be interested in buying from me.
Where we get into trouble is that we think democracy is synonymous with elections. That is the proof politicians refer to us of us having a democracy, isn’t it? But anyone that knows simple math can do the calculation, the people of China, Zimbabwe, and nations of similar ilk give their people a vote ( a form of voter pacifier), but where is their democracy? No one would for a second think that they have anything approaching democracy. So why do we fool ourselves with our own political shell game.
Perhaps, more confusion is that we do differ in rights and freedoms, which go a long way to look like democracy, along with the vote for a self serving party system member. The mere fact that we have the freedom to speak does not guarantee us a say with our politicians any more me than talking to my boss will guarantee that he will even consider my thoughts. Accountability is the true measure of whether or not you have democracy.
For us to have true democracy we the people have to have a say “between elections” and for politicians to be accountable to the people, between elections, or there is no “of, and for, and by the people”. To set ourselves on a correct path we need to stop thinking of democracy as a destination already arrived at, and start thinking of it as a verb; actions that maintains our democratic health, by the people.
In my opinion, democracy does live in Canada; there is only one group of people that do have democracy right now, they being the people involved in FightHST, in British Columbia. The people of BC are angry, and rightfully so, because their provincial Liberals forced the HST tax on them, disregarding the wishes of a healthy majority of voters who are opposed to the tax. But luckily for the folks of BC, the former BC Premier, Bill vander Zalm left them a democratic mechanism, a gift of Recall, before he departed politics. This Recall mechanism is allowing voters to collect names on a petition that will, if they get enough names, kick the offending Member out of the Legislature. The Member that succeeds in winning in the riding will be a humbler and more attentive Member, one that is worthy of the title of “public servant” and “Representative” . The Recall mechanism is meant to be a more mature, a kinder and gentler way of grabbing the lousy member by the scruff of the neck and turfing the bum in the street. There is no violence, but none-the-less the bum lands in the dust of the street and democracy is found as a verb.
Sadly, by contrast, I the writer, am looking in the BC window from Ontario, where we, woefully at the same time, had the HST foisted on us by our Liberal Government. Like in BC, the majority of Ontarians were angry, but here we have no Recall mechanism, we have no real democracy, no real say, no justice; only accountability on our politicians terms – the next election almost a year away. Where is power of the people of the people here? How did things get so far out of whack?