Essential Knowledge Needed to Grow a Democracy part 12
Most People Assume that Canada has a Democracy
Most people assume that Canada has a democracy because we have elections. While politicians act like we have democracy during election, most politicians are not the most honest characters anyways. If elections in themselves were proof of democracy then we have ample proof that China and Cuba are also democracies.
If we were asked what democracy is most people would quote Abraham, “democracy is the power of the people, by the people and for the people”. Although Canadians forget it, the power does belong to the people. But this is where it starts to get difficult. It is hard to see how many of our representatives are a reflection of our communities, and it is near impossible to see how Parliament is an instrument of democracy. I am not arguing for either side of the Long Gun Registry vote; I bring it to your attention to point to the fact that both the Federal Conservatives and the Liberals forced their party members to vote the party line. Yes, these parties forced representatives, whom are paid by their constituents, to vote against the constituents’ will. Again, the phrase is “for the people”. Then who is the power being used for?
A little recent history perhaps will bring a little clarity. Back in the early 1990’s, the Canadian voters were angry that the Mulroney Government had bought in the GST, and also we as voters did not feel that Canada got a good deal in NAFTA. In the 1993 election Jean Chretien promised to scrap the GST and to renegotiate the NAFTA deal. Chretien’s Liberals won the election. Right after the election Chretien told Canadians that he couldn’t scrap the GST. And instead of scraping the GST, he only tried to get the provinces on board to produce an even more hated tax, the HST. Further, he not only did not renegotiate the NAFTA deal, in December of the following year Chretien attended a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) summit and signed Canada into a new trade agreement with South American countries. Few remember that he had not mentioned the deal at all during the 1993 election. So who benefitted from Chretien getting into power? Certainly not the Canadian people.
The GST replaced the Manufacturers Sale Tax which was a sales tax to manufacturers. The tax was taken off the manufacturers and the people got the GST put on them. The NAFTA and the FTAA deal also benefitted the manufacturers.
Why aren’t Canadians furious at politicians are not representing their interests?
An EU Free Trade Deal by Stealth
During the 2008 election, Steven Harper campaigned but there was no real mention of the Harper Government being in negotiates with the EU for another free trade deal. Meanwhile Canadians were forced to go into another election in 2011, and surprise, surprise, their Harper government was still in negotiations with the EU for the free trade deal, and still no real mention in the media. Two elections were fought over free trade deals, why do we allow this to not be important? Why are Canadians not livid when they find out they have been misinformed?.
Billions to Bankers
From Global Research we read, “in Canada, the granting of 75 billion dollars to Canada’s chartered banks was implemented at the height of an election campaign(2002), without duly informing the Canadian public.
Canada’s media and financial press bears a responsibility in this regard. The matter was barely mentioned. It passed virtually unnoticed a few days before a federal election.
Media coverage was minimal. There was no parliamentary debate. No discussion, no debate as one would have expected from the opposition parties at the height of an election campaign as well as in its aftermath”.
Who stood up for the Canadian people; the Harper Government? The Liberal or NDP opposition? The system failed Canadians.
A perspective on the economic collapse: http://www.sonyclassics.com/insidejob/
Tax Cuts to Corporations
Add to this in the 2011 budget the Harper Conservatives proposed a cut to corporate taxes. On Jan. 7, on CBC News, Harper is quoted as saying “We are gaining more revenue from the business sector by having low rates than we were by having high rates,” Harper also said. “This is in the interest of everybody and it’s the direction we’ll continue to go.”
From the Maclean’s magazine we read “But an analysis of Statistics Canada figures by The
Globe and Mail reveals that the rate of investment in machinery and equipment has declined in lockstep with falling corporate tax rates over the past decade. At the same time, the analysis shows, businesses have added $83-billion to their cash reserves since the onset of the recession in 2008.
( http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/04/06/corporate-tax-cut-questions/ )
From the Sympatico News we read “from 2005 to 2010, those companies grew their employment by five per cent, less than the six per cent average for the entire economy.
Sympatico News continued, “The decade also saw a decline in the rate of corporate investment in machinery and equipment, another reason the government argues taxes should be reduced.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, an Ottawa-based think-tank.tracked the job creation record of 198 of Canada’s top companies from 2000 to 2009. During the period studied, the 198 companies reduced their tax bill by $12 billion a year by the end of the period, but mostly pocketed the cash. During that time they reported a 50 per cent increase in profits and paid 20 per cent less in taxes.
Canada’s Debt Grows
Meanwhile, at the same time as Harper proposes giving away billions in corporate tax cuts, Canada still owes hundreds of billions of dollars in debt. As of March 31, 2011, Canada’s federal debt is projected $564.5 billion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_public_debt It seems that ths is debt of which our Federal Conservatives are happy to foist on the backs of the Canadian public, while billions are lavished on banks and corporations. Can we not now understand why the rich are getting richer, the poor poorer, and the middle class is shrinking? Can we expect our Government to suddenly change its spots and protect Canadians, or will corporations continue to be protected at the expense of the Canadian taxpayers? There is no accountability afforded to us by our system of government.
With America’s credit rating going down, Canada cannot live by the “same old”.
Canadians’ criteria for voting is first, second, and third, who will manage the economy best. That is why the Harper Government is allowed to assault democracy and get away with it. Canadians value their pocketbooks far more than Morals.
To return to my original question, do Canadians really have a democracy? You answer after reading the foregoing, do Canadians have a government for the people? My answer, if we have a democracy it is as thin as veneer, it’s as thin as a leader’s photo op and the next lie to the people.
Where Do We Go From Here?
First and foremost, you must determine if you will be part of the solution, or whether you will continue to be part of the problem?
We may have a poor democracy, but we do have a vote. Become informed. In some ridings a swing of 5% of informed electorate will make a vote result difference.
Canadians must forsake their ignorance of democracy. For too long we have relied on politicians to think for us, and they have been happy to dictate the rules of democracy. We are responsible to be the stewards of our democracy. Democracy is like being on a river in a boat, if we are not paddling upstream toward a better democracy, the stream of power will drag us backward to the loss of freedom.
The most important thing for Canadians to know about democracy is, that although the leaders would have you believe that democracy revolves around voting for them, it doesn’t. Forget about the leaders, they are a distraction from and an impediment to democracy. While the leaders are saying “look at me – vote for me” the voters are taking their eyes off the real source of democracy, the representative at the constituency level. Does the leader take your constituency’s unique interests to Ottawa? Does the leader go to Ottawa and say, London, or Windsor, or wherever, needs jobs. No, the leader must balance the whole Country’s interest.
At the constituency level, does the candidate (or sitting member) think like the an ancient Greek representative. In other words, does that person go to Ottawa to represent and to reflect the consensus of your constituency’s will and feelings? In our modern Parliamentary System, representatives think that they are to go to think for the people, or worse, to do what the party tell them to do. Will your member be grounded in his/her beliefs of serving the people sufficiently? Will the person be able to resist the extremely undemocratic pressure their party subjects them to, to conform to the party line. Never, never, never forget, the vast majority of party leaders are there to pull power to themselves. Yours. That is why, if you get a good representative, he or she will need your support to withstand the pressures of the Party Whip. Your representative will need the constituents input, so he or she will not have to guess what the constituents want. The constituencies’ will strongly expressed will give the support the representative needs to withstand the Party. But wouldn’t it be wonderful, the input of the constituents being welcomed by the representative, and the representative taking the constituents’ will and directives to government. It would be like having a democracy that we never had.