“It’s now entirely obvious that many powerful forces are engaged in our politics that are diametrically opposed to those men and women of goodwill who wish for a more equitable Canada, a more peaceful world. And the problem for the average politician is that they can’t get there from here – the powers of polarization far outmatch their individual abilities to truly represent their communities and the greater good. And since their parties don’t permit them to work together to counteract such alienating forces, they have little choice to conform to the politics of the age, realizing that they are being personally diminished in the process.” Glen Pearson http://www.glenpearson.ca/
“Realistically, government was about winning aggressively, not governing judiciously. People were ultimately voters who could also donate money to keep the machinery going.”
Just a couple of quotations which quite accurately sum up the state of democracy in Canada. One thing is obviously very clear; the work of reforming Parliament into the democratic, fair debate, honest deliberation, judicial enactments of law for the betterment of all, the House of Governance, Parliament is supposed to be, cannot be left to those whom the people elect. Change can not and will not happen. It is not in their political parties’ interest even though back bench MPs suffer under the yoke of party discipline and a neutered system of parliamentary oversight of the executive.
“Although we like to think of ourselves as living in a mature democracy, we live, instead, in something little better than a benign dictatorship,” Stephen Harper wrote in 2006, referring to Chretien’s Liberals.
Every Prime Ministerial reign since Trudeau, and many before, has promised the electorate to reform Parliament and make it less partisan and more equitable and impartial, less polarized and factional and more congenial and open.
- Pierre Trudeau espoused participatory democracy as a means of making Canada a “Just Society”. Introduced procedural reforms to Parliament.
- Joe Clark introduced the Freedom of Information Act, which would establish the right of access to government records.
- John Turner attacked patronage appointments and vowed changes to the legal system. His term as PM was too short to accomplish much.
- Brian Mulroney threatened to abolish the Senate and introduced the ill fated Meech Lake Accord. Brian Mulroney came to power in 1984 and promised major parliamentary reform. Jim McGrath, a veteran Tory MP, headed a committee that recommended fundamental changes: free votes, effective committees and measures to allow private members to create law.
- Kim Campbell had too short a term as PM to carry through with any meaningful legislation. Has been said it was her frank honesty that ultimately caused her defeat.
- Jean Chrétien pioneered the Clarity Act and focused on reform of the justice system rather than reform Parliament. Under Chrétien, answers in the Commons question period were reduced to just 35 seconds, providing great sound bites for TV, but wholly lacking in substance.
- Paul Martin vowed a “6 point Plan” to reform the house, “restore the individual member of parliament as the link between his or her constituents and government in Canada in a meaningful way”.
- Stephan Harper vowed to reform Canada’s “archaic” upper house of Parliament, the Senate?
As we see by the lack of Parliamentary Democracy and the ever increasing Parliamentary Dictatorship, reforms to Parliament are not coming through Parliament. It is time for citizens, the voting public to take matters into their own hands via the only option left open to us, a riding association committee controlled “Election Contract”.
A contract between the citizens of the riding and the elected candidate to conduct themselves conclusive to open, free, consultative government responsible first and primarily to the constituents who elected him/her.