Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Democracy Under Fire

Seats won by each party in the 2005 German fed...
Seats won by each party in the 2005 German federal election, an example of a proportional voting system. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Representative Democracy
Representative Democracy (Photo credit: Travis S.)
A pro-MMP poster from the 1993 referendum camp...
A pro-MMP poster from the 1993 referendum campaign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
centre
centre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Elizabeth May speaking at National Da...
English: Elizabeth May speaking at National Day of Action for Electoral Reform rally in Ottawa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Democracy Under Fire 

 

Electoral Reform – Personal Perspective

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 2 days ago
After more than 5 years of writing about our declining democracy and having several times reviewed the options open to us should we ever get a government in power willing to put the issue of voting reform before the people I am now going to try and spell out my own wishes in this regard. Such wishes must be tempered by some practical considerations, wishing for things that simply are never going to happen is an exercise in futility – perhaps this whole series on Electoral Reform should be filed under that heading! I will start by reiterating that I do not support Proportional Repr... more »

Electoral Reform – The Parties Position

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 week ago
Its sometimes hard to see where the parties stand on any particular issue given the hype, bafflegab and spin that issues from almost all of them at times and the ever changing positions taken depending upon their position in the polls or whether they are in power or not. As far as I can tell the following is their current position on Electoral Reform. *Trudeau* is a supporter of a preferential ballot, having made it a plank of his leadership platform. Liberals say they will launch all-party consultations on reform. The party passed a resolution at its convention earlier this year th... more »

Electoral Reform – Voting Systems

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 2 weeks ago
I have said that simply calling for PR (Proportional Voting) is not sufficient but that we must understand the various systems that are generally promoted as 'proportional', and the alternatives. I wrote about the various systems some *3 years ago* and will simply re-post part of that article with some updates and additional thoughts here in this series on Electoral Reform. First however I must point out that non of the systems thus far proposed can be compared with what is often touted as the outcome from FPTP in so far as 'the popular vote'. We currently vote for an individual wh... more »

Electoral Reform – Proportional Representation

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 3 weeks ago
Proportional Representation or PR for short has become the buzz word for those who are advocating for Electoral Reform (and that group includes myself) but what exactly do we mean when we say we want PR? The broad definition is “a method of voting by which political parties are given legislative representation in proportion to their popular vote.” , in Canada we have to add “within the limits set by our constitution” as some provinces have a minimum representative threshold. We must also add “as close as possible within practical limits” after all we cannot put fractions of MPs in t... more »

Electoral Reform Needed!

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 4 weeks ago
In the recent Ontario Election out of every 100 (eligible) citizens approximately 52 voted and one or two of those either declined or (deliberately?) spoiled their ballots We have no means of knowing how many tried to vote but were turned away due to being at the wrong poll or not having proper ID but judging from the feedback I have received it is probably in the thousands rather than the hundreds. “*Unofficial results released by Elections Ontario on Wednesday showed 31,399 voters chose to decline their ballots, the highest since 1975, there were 22,687 rejected ballots and 12,059... more »

Election Stories

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 5 weeks ago
With the Ontario election now history and a slight uptick in the voter turn out I will relate a few of the problems various voters have encountered whilst trying to vote in an effort to make both the voters and those that run the system aware of impediments to voting during said election. Most of these stories are specific to rural areas and related to poll location and rural addressing issues, it may be that in urban areas such things are not such a problem and it would seem that Elections Ontario either is unaware of such problems or considers rural voters as less important than th... more »

Elections Ontario Struggling......

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 month ago
Elections Ontario is struggling to find enough staff to fill the positions required to process your vote, this is not a particular surprise to those who have worked the polls before, it always tough to find responsible folks available for a one day 12 to 14hr shift with no breaks! I am not sure how Elections Canada gets away with it but poll clerks and others who work the polls are expected to be at their station the entire time that the polls are open and then some must remain to count ballots or forfill other duties related to closing the polls and clean up. Still its a chance for ... more »

Its Silly Season in Ontario

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 month ago
With advanced polls opening for the Ontario Election today its definitely silly season in Ontario, we are inundated with totally meaningless TV ads from 3 of the Partys telling us how bad the other guys are and failing to give us any real idea of what their plan is. There is Andrea of the NDP who forced the election by turning down the most NDP friendly budget proposed in years, there is Kathleen of the Liberals who continues to wear the cynical decision of the previous premier to move a power pant to gain votes, then there is little Timmy of the Conservatives who’s kinder-garden ma... more »

Ontario Election = Identification & Vouching

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 month ago
With all the publicity around the Federal 'Fair' Elections Act and the issue of vouching it is important to know that for the Ontario Provincial Election VOUCHING IS NOT PERMITTED. You must have proper identification in order to vote, if you are not on the voters list, do not receive a registration card indicating the poll location or do not have identification with your name and municipal address on it you may have a problem. If you DO have the registration card you just need the *card that was mailed to you* with your name and address on it *and one piece of identification with ... more »

Election Act, Election Ont, Election Incentives

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 2 months ago
So the flawed “fair” Elections Act has now *passed final reading *with a few amendments that public pressure made the Cons include but without the dozens of amendments proposed by the opposition and without even considering the 75 amendments that the Greens were not permitted to table. *The Speaker upheld the decision of the House committee **tasked with studying Bill C-23 to deny the Green Leader the right to present her amendments.* “*I am profoundly disappointed by today’s ruling,” said the MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “This decision undermines the ability of MPs from smaller ... more »

Garbage in, Garbage out?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 2 months ago
Having publicly available information on the well-being of our local communities and national numbers on employment, business viability, population etc etc is essential not only to keep the government 'honest' but to make local and governmental decisions affecting these things. At first glance then it would seem that the ongoing project to make such government data more readily available is a good thing, is it as Tony Clement would have us believe “proof of the governments openness and transparency”. Or, is it proof of the Harper Regimes inability to do anything right and a further ... more »

This and That – Distractions and Obfuscations

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 2 months ago
*The ongoing Elections act cluster fk *has successfully distracted from the latest omnibus budget from the Harper Regime, hardy a word has been seen about the 350 page *“Harper Government Creating Jobs & Growth While Returning to Balanced Budgets With Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1.”*. Yep, we are back to that H*&^%$# Government thing again to describe our Canada Government as run by the Harper Oligarchy and hardly a word about all the hidden things about food safety, rail safety, the appointment of judges and altering military ranks, and other stuff which has nothing to do wi... more »

Ignorance is Bliss?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 2 months ago
Its old news that the Harper Regime eliminated the long form Census thus also eliminating reliable information on the economic and social status of various areas and communities across the country. Nor should it be news that like many other departments (with the notable exception of the PMO) their budget has beencut. Statscan’s budget has fallen by $29.3-million in the past two years, and its staffing has fallen by 767 people, or 18.5 per cent, in the same period, excluding the census and surveys paid for by outside clients. Its been hard enough in the past to get up to date stats o... more »

Meaningful Changes or Lipstick on the Pig?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 3 months ago
In the unholy rush to jam their Unfair Elections Act through before the majority of Canadians realise just how bad and self-serving piece of legislation it is the Harper regieme has asked the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee to “pre-study” it. In short order the Conservative-dominated committee has come back with a number of changes that it would like to see, remember this is just a “pre-study” not full hearings and that the House of Commons has yet to finish its initial study of this bill. The House Affairs Committee studying the bill will conduct one more day of h... more »

Prerequisites for Democratic Legitimacy

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 3 months ago
Anita Vandenbeld author of an article called *‘Imposing Legitimacy: The Dilemma of International Democratic Development’*for LawNow magazine and former director of parliamentary affairs for Jacques Saada, the first minister of Democratic Reform in 2004, recently wrote an article on the legitimacy of bill C23. In it, in contrast to her previous article where she raised the question of how democratic institutions become legitimate in the eyes of a population, she now asks how do democratic institutions *lose*their legitimacy? Here are some extracts, *read the whole thing at Ipolitics... more »

Winning at All Costs.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 3 months ago
I think we are all sick of the win at all cost mentality of our political parties and their leaders, this mentality is not restricted to just the Harper Regime, although it is certainly most prevalent with that group of oligarchs, but can be seen with very few exceptions in all parties and both provincial and federal politics. I recently came across *a piece from Scott,* a recent graduate of the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in Political Studies who puts it like this:- *"* *Almost all of the political parties in today's system seem to be more concerned with winning ... more »

Citizens Protest Unfair Election Act

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 3 months ago
Many of my reader will be aware that last Tuesday a number of citizens gathered in front of Conservative MP's Offices across the country to show their opposition to the Unfair Elections Act that is being railroaded through the legislative process by the Harper Regime. One such non partisan gathering sponsored by*LeadNow *took place in front of my local MP's office, that of Larry Miller, where folks from several opposition parties and local non partisan groups spoke to the crowd. Kimberly Love of the Liberals and Karen Gventer of the NDP spoke of the injustices - the removal of votin... more »

Electoral Integrity of Act Questioned.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 3 months ago
When 19 international Scholars from six democracy’s across the world add their voice to the over 150 Canadian scholars and almost universal condemnation of the Harper Regime's attempt to introduce partisan bias into our election rules and to reduce the powers of the world respected Elections Canada then you know something is very wrong with the proposed legislation. Here is their open letter which clearly sets out SOME of the problems with this Bill:- *We, the undersigned, international scholars and political scientists, are concerned that Canada’s international reputation as one of... more »

Undemocratic Democratic Reform

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 4 months ago
Are changes to an electoral system in a democracy valid if they are brought in by a less than democratic process, are they in fact valid if the very 'independent' body charged with overseeing said electoral system is excluded from the process? Are they valid if recommendations from said body are ignored, debate within our parliamentary system on such measures is curtailed, concerns by parliamentarians and democracy experts across a broad range of political and non partisan stripes fall upon deaf ears? Are they in fact actually antidemocratic if they are not generally accepted by tho... more »

Harpers Orwellian Regime

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 4 months ago
Arising from *George Orwells* novel *Nineteen Eighty-Four* published in 1949 the adjective *Orwellian*describes a totalitarian dystopia characterised by government control and subjugation of the people. Orwell's invented language, *Newspeak*, satirises hypocrisy and evasion by the state: for example,the *Ministry of Truth* oversees propaganda and historical revisionism. When writing this Orwell believed that British democracy as it existed before 1939 would not survive the war, the question being "Would it end via Fascist *coup d'état* (from above) or via Socialist revolution (from ... more »

Five Years of Frustration

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 4 months ago
Five years ago this week I started Democracy Under Fire due to concern of the way in which the new Conservative Government was ignoring democratic and parliamentary conventions. This was just after their reelection as a result of the lowest *voter turnout* in Canadian electoral history, with only 22% of eligible Canadian voters casting a vote and prior to their most glaring abuse, which being the proroguing of parliament to avoid a vote of non confidence in Sept of 2009. During the the first few months I took the time to examine and more fully understand our system as it was intended... more »

Political Participation and Perception

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 4 months ago
In their latest report *“By Invitation Only:Canadians’ Perceptions of Political Parties”*Samara, the measuring democracy people, identified six key roles of political parties’ functions in three main areas. In a survey concentrating upon the areas of Elections, Engagement & Policy they asked their respondents to rate the performance of Canadian political parties on each of them. The results indicate that political parties are not doing well in any of these areas. 1. Recruiting candidates and competing in elections - 43% grade 2. Encouraging people to vote – 46% grade 3. Hear... more »

The Undemocratic Election Act

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 5 months ago
“*The things in it that are good could have been so much better, but the things that are bad are unforgivable in a democracy.”* Recently Green Party Leader Elizabeth May had an opportunity to speak to the Commons Committee considering Bill C23, The 'Fair' Elections Act. What follows are some extracts from that presentation, for a full transcript and audio of that speech *please go the her MPs website.* Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to be able to speak to Bill C-23 today. I want to pause and say that when we have these rushed processes with closure on debate and an abbreviat... more »

The (UN)Fair Elections Act

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 5 months ago
As is usual with so many of the Bills proposed by the Harper Regime the 'Fair' Elections Act has so many changes buried in the fine print that it is almost impossible for all but the most dedicated and knowledgeable researchers to really understand the implications of it all. Whilst there is little doubt that some changes were needed (in particular in view of the robocall issue) I must question that our election Act was so problematic that it needed a 247 page rewrite, and that just for the CHANGES to it! I intended to read the whole thing as I was, and still am, very suspicious of ... more »

The Fair Elections Act

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 5 months ago
The Conservative government will introduce changes to the Elections Act this week that caucus members expect to restructure the office in charge of investigating violations. “It’s the Fair Elections Act,” Poilievre said. Given the Conservatives penchant for naming bills in an Orwellian fashion we had best keep an eye on this one. I suspect it will be more of a “Government Control of Election Investigations Act”. It has been reported that* “The bill would remove the Commissioner of Canada Elections, where the investigators work, from Elections Canada and set it up as separate office” ... more »

An Independent Senate – We can but hope!

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 5 months ago
*“I call upon the Prime Minister to publicly commit, as I have today, to be guided in all future Senate appointments by an open, transparent, non-partisan process, and once appointed, have senators sit independent from the political parties that serve in in the House of Commons.* *Justin Trudeou Jan 29 2014* By now you all know that in a surprising and brave move the Liberal leader has released all the former Liberal Senators from any connection from the Liberal Caucus saying that “only elected Members of the House of Commons will serve as members of the Liberal Caucus. “ Whilst this... more »

The War on Information Continues.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 5 months ago
It has been revealed that in addition to the*'consolidation' *of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries, where reports say that despite assurances that much of the material would be digitized a large number of books and papers have been destroyed without such backup, the Libraries of Heath Canada are now under attack. *The CBC reports that Health Canada scientists *are so concerned about losing access to their research library that some are squirrelling away journals and books in their garages for colleagues to consult. This after a report calling for the libraries to NO... more »

Best of Both Worlds

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 5 months ago
A guest article by Jared Milne. Politically, 2013 wasn’t much different than previous years. In Toronto, Rob Ford accused his opponents of wanting to keep the “gravy train” going, while his opponents accused him of hypocrisy and failing to live up to his promises. In Ottawa, the Conservative government accused the opposition parties of wanting to drastically raise taxes to pay for their political promises, while the official Opposition accused the Conservatives of slashing essential services and transfers to Canadians. In St. Albert, critics of the city government’s current directio... more »

Response to Minister of Democratic Reform

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 6 months ago
Just two days before Christmas the GPC received a letter requesting a response on their ideas for electoral reform to be received before Jan 4th. The timing of the letter and the requested response makes the genuineness of the request suspect. We wonder who else was or will be invited to respond and what their response was or will be. Despite the almost impossible time line Elizabeth May of the Greens did reply with several much needed suggestions. Here is her response in full:- *Dear Mr. Minister,The President of the Green Party of Canada, Paul Estrin, received a scanned lett... more »

Ministry of Propaganda and Disinformation

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 6 months ago
On Thursday the Prime Minister’s Office posted Thursday episode 1 of what it calls “24 Seven” — a weekly roundup of Harper’s events and announcements, and those of his government. And which I will NOT post a link to! This appears to be another effort by the Conservative government to bypass the mainstream media and communicate its “message” directly to Canadians thus further avoiding those pesky reporters who keep trying to ask questions. Expect the access to the PM to decrease from only in tightly controlled rabid supporter filled rooms to never, and the use of Harper spokesclown... more »

Silence of the Labs

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 6 months ago
Silence of the Labs is the title given to the Fifth Estate presentation coming up on CBC this Friday which anyone concerned with the future of Canadian scientific research, indeed the very future of Canada, should make a point of watching. Whilst I do not know what their investigative reporting will reveal their brief description gives us a good idea. “*In the past few years, the federal government has cut funding to hundreds of renowned research institutes and programs. Ottawa has dismissed more than 2,000 federal scientists and researchers and has drastically cut or ended progr... more »

2014 – The year we 'loose' our democracy?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 6 months ago
Whilst some say that it is already gone and that we are being subject to an Oligarchy well on its way to a Dictatorship, a view that I find it hard to argue against, there is still hope. The recent push back by a small number of Conservative MP's gives me a little hope, Michael Chong’s introduction of a private members bill to limit leaders’ powers is one such small step, Bruce Hyer's brave & principled step to quit the NDP caucus due to being forced to vote as dictated by the party whip and more recently to join the Greens (the only party to truly respect and promote true democracy)... more »

Quantity not Quality

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 6 months ago
Quantity not Quality is apparently the Harper regimes measure of 'success' Mr. Van Loan recently extolled the virtues of the 34-day fall session, which started late because of prorogation and was adjourned early. He said 2013 was the most productive year on record, with 40 bills receiving Royal Assent. “ “That’s something we can all be proud of. It shows how Parliament is working better than ever right now,” he said. So it seems that passing bills that have had debate curtailed or where the Harper regime has dictated that “their” MP's shall vote for it regardless of their constitue... more »

A Gift of Democracy for Christmas

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 7 months ago
*For those who may not know Leadnowis “an independent advocacy organization that brings generations of Canadians together to achieve progress through democracy.” They are particularly focused upon building “a stronger democracy that protects our environment, creates economic opportunity while increasing equality”* *Leadnow has become THE organization for those concerned with these things, and who cannot be, to support and become involved with and their “plan' is outlined below as distributed with their latest fund raising appeal. It is an unfortunate reality that it is going to take ... more »

Santa is Canadian & Harper is an idiot?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 7 months ago
We know that our Government scientists and bureaucrats are not able to make any public statements without being 'approved' by the Harper regimes spin machine in the PMO so we will probably never know if the study and collection of data for the Arctic claim was indeed complete two years ago or the victim of another of Harper’s antiscience cuts. What we do know is that he said two years ago that the data collection was complete and that just a few days before the ensuing submission was due to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf Harper suddenly said *the... more »

Backbenchers Grow a Backbone?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 7 months ago
Many of us have been sounding the alarm bell for some time about the amount of power and control the Prime Minister and the PMO have over both the daily working of parliament and more particularly the amount of control exercised over MPs and senators elected or appointed under the Conservative banner. Now it would seem a few backbenchers have finally become tired of following orders and want to do what they were elected to do, represent their constituents without having to rigidly follow the scrip provided by the PMO. “*Tired of being a $160,200-a-yearvoting machines, the group of ... more »

A Created Crisis?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 8 months ago
The whole debate about the reform or abolition of the senate would not be getting the attention it is currently getting were it not for the somewhat overblown concern about just three senators expense claims and Harpers request to the courts to find out if he can do away or substantially change the upper chamber without broad agreement from the provinces and Canadian taxpayers. Is this much like the “dysfunctional parliament” that said 'leader' referred to when trying to justify his decision to shut down parliament a few years ago? Is the 'crisis', as with much of the ongoing infigh... more »

Information is Power

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 8 months ago
The senate expense investigation and who knew what along with the PMs efforts to rid himself of these now disgraced conservative senators that he appointed has all but eliminated other news from the headlines. There was however some mention a couple of weeks ago of Canada's information watchdog Suzanne Legault's recent report and remarks wherein she points out that the freedom-of-information becoming “a system in crisis, where departments are unable to fulfil even their most basic obligations under the act”. It is interesting to note that, if I remember correctly, the whole Duffy-Wa... more »

An Insidious Sickness

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 8 months ago
Canadian Democracy is sick. It has been showing alarming symptoms for some time now, they range from the inability of a large portion of our MPs to speak out without first consulting the PMO and a failure to listen to those with opposing or alternate opinions, to totally ignoring the rules and conventions built up over years of parliamentary debate and development, and a total lack of ethics and honesty. A *new symptom appearing just this week* is the removal of independent and small party MP's right to intervene at the report stage of proposed legislation and at the Con convention t... more »

Rules and Conventions, Lies and Punishment

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 8 months ago
I will not dwell in great length upon the ongoing soap opera that is the 'Senate Scandal', there is quite enough commentary out there without my adding to it. I will instead examine how and why such thing are even possible in a 'democracy' and I contend that it is, at least in part because the 'rules' are not clear, documented for all to see, and that no clear penalties exist for those ignoring the rules and conventions that do exist. Be it what does or does not constitute a legitimate expense for a senator, or an MP for that matter, and whether partisan content in a speech makes ... more »

TV or Democracy

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 9 months ago
With the next set of promises recently presented in the House after several days of targeted leaks of some of the content which highlighted 'more choice of cable & satellite TV channels' I wonder if Canadians are really as shallow as the Harper Regime seems to think. Can we really be bought by a promise to give us more choice in selecting TV channels and similar meaningless goodies, is this such an important thing that it needs to be in the throne speech and have legislation brought forward to force the companies concerned to open up more choice, a move that will cost taxpayers noth... more »

Voting for a New Voting System.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 9 months ago
Of late there seems to be an increased interest in bringing forward a new way of electing our 'representatives' in the House of Commons no doubt brought on by the possibility of the Harper regime winning another majority with a minority vote in 2015. Given their expertise in spinning the truth, using taxpayers money to beat their own drum and fool most of the people most of the time this is a real possibility. There is little doubt that both electoral and *parliamentary reform *is needed and that the debate about what is needed and how to accomplish it will be difficult and divisiv... more »

Save Democracy from Politics

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 9 months ago
The title says it all, our very democracy is in danger of being totally subverted by partisan actions which are aimed at keeping or gaining power with little regard to the well being of Canadian peoples or our country. Elizabeth May is correct when she says there is no consensus on how to achieve the replacement of the flawed and highly biased first past the post electoral system. I fully support the Green party in their long held view that the system is broken and requires a major reform and applaud Ms May's efforts to leave partisan politics behind and seek common ground in moving ... more »

Dysfunctional Legislatures

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 10 months ago
Is there any such thing as a fully “functional” legislature in Canada? I am starting to wonder. I do not follow all the various provincial maneuverings but it seems to me that many of our governing institutions across the country are in disarray. Certainly the only time our federal government can be called somewhat functional is when the legislature is not sitting, which situation appears to be the *preferred option of the Harper regime* and *now the BC government.* I cant speak to the rest of the provinces but it seems to me that they will take note that if they can effectively sile... more »

Prorogued Again........

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 11 months ago
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he intends to prorogue Parliament, which means the House of Commons will not resume in September as planned. Harper, who is currently on a week-long swing through northern Canada, says a speech from the throne will likely be delivered in October, kicking off a new parliamentary session. The prime minister says most of the promises the Conservatives made in the last election have been fulfilled........ He promised we would not recognize Canada and in that regard he has fulfilled his promise. Naturally the fact that many of the Conservative Senators e... more »

Standing Up for Nature and Democracy

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 11 months ago
This week Forest Ethics Advocacy, *launched a constitutional challenge* to new requirements in the *National Energy Board Act* that have the effect of silencing citizens concerned about tar sands pipelines. As pointed out by West Coast Environmental the severe restrictions placed upon public comment by Bill C-38 whereby any citizen wishing to comment upon such projects, even those directly affected, are effectively prevented from doing so. Whilst SOME restrictions MAY be necessary in the interests of such hearing not going on forever, the restrictions now in place are clearly undemoc... more »

What Jeff Said.......

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 11 months ago
Even if it could, Senate reform shouldn’t proceed without the provinces – or the people To the surprise of everyone in the Ottawa bubble, Her Majesty’s Minister of State for Democratic Reform, Pierre Poilievre, held a press availability Wednesday not to slam the Liberals for some alleged sins, but to actually speak to an issue of policy substance: the government’s Supreme Court reference on Senate reform. The minister discussed the factum the government has presented to the court outlining its position, marking the first time the words “Pierre Poilievre” and “factum” have appeared ... more »

Be Careful What You Wish For!

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Abolish the Senate? Be careful what you wish for, we all know that it has become highly partisan and some of those appointed feel they are entitled to their entitlements and take even more, reform is needed but do away with it entirely? I maintain that it is not the institution that is the problem but the people who are appointed to it and the manner of appointment, despite his appointment of many undeserving and unprincipled conservative flacks to ensure that he can jam questionable legislation through Mr Harper would like nothing better than to remove this impediment to his plans. ... more »

Electoral Fraud Occurred!

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
But no results overturned......... *Just hours ago the long-awaited Federal Court ruling on election fraud was released...* *In a clear and bold statement, **Judge Richard Mosley wrote: "I find that electoral fraud occurred during the 41st General Election* *."While his ruling stopped short of annulling election results, this is a powerful victory for **Kay Burkhart**, **Ken Ferance**, **Yvonne Kafka**, **Bill Kerr**, **Sandra McEwing**, **Tom Parlee**, **Jeff Reid**and **Peggy Walsh Craig* * – the eight brave Canadian voters who launched their legal challenges and the thousands ... more »

Summer Sabbatical

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
After closely following the decline of our democracy for more more than 4 years and posting over 200 articles at Democracy Under Fire detailing just a few of the ways in which the Harper Regime and others continuously demean and diminish the democratic systems built up over many years I am frustrated and tired of beating my head against the wall. I am finding it increasingly hard to discuss or comment upon such issues in a calm and rational manner and am taking a summer sabbatical from that effort whilst I regroup and recharge, how I do this without totally withdrawing from watchin... more »

The Good' The Bad and The Ugly!

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Its been a roller coaster ride this week on the political scene, between the Conservative attack ads and the response to them, the speakers ruling on the right of MPs to be heard in the house and the Liberals voting with the Conservatives on a bill to delay the signing of the china trade deal its been hard to keep up. I will try and bring a little light to these and a few other issues this week. First up a couple of bits of good news, not wonderful but in these days of nothing but negative news at least something a little positive. The court has ruled upon former PBO Kevin Page's r... more »

The Good' The Bad and The Ugly!

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Its been a roller coaster ride this week on the political scene, between the Conservative attack ads and the response to them, the speakers ruling on the right of MPs to be heard in the house and the Liberals voting with the Conservatives on a bill to delay the signing of the china trade deal its been hard to keep up. I will try and bring a little light to these and a few other issues this week. First up a couple of bits of good news, not wonderful but in these days of nothing but negative news at least something a little positive. The court has ruled upon former PBO Kevin Page's re... more »

Take Your Shirt Off for Democracy.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
I am not sure that any of the major political parties gets it, but Harper definitely does not, attacking the leader of a party as if he and he alone is responsible for decisions of policy or as if he alone would be responsible for proposing or passing legislation is ridiculous. Effective perhaps, but totally without merit. True the Harper Regime is VERY centralized and VERY autocratic but even they must surely come to some kind of consensus within their inner caucus and thus we must criticize the “Harper Regime” not just Harper.. There are two extremes of leadership 'style' Autocrat... more »

Hydro Line Workers

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
I have done my share of bitching about hydro prices and in particular the “delivery charge” portion of my bill which exceeds the 'cost of hydro' delivered, but given that this 'extra' on our bill pays for maintenance and repair and the current number of lines down due to the recent ice storm I must reconsider my stance. These front line high voltage linesmen have my greatest respect, they are by all accounts called out in the most miserable weather to work on potentially very dangerous high voltage lines often suspended in a bucket 50 feet above the ground in high winds, pissing rain... more »

What Price Our International Reputation.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Cost of supporting the United NationsConvention to Combat Drought and Desertification (UNCCD) and not becoming the only country in the world to confirm to the international community that Canada cared nothing for climate action, nor for the fate of Africa. $290,000/year. Cost of those 'Economic Action Plan'Ads $21,000,000 Enough said!

This is Democracy?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
As per Bill C-38 – last springs omnibus budget bill.... Members of the public who want to send a letter with comments to the NEB about a pipeline project must first apply for permission to participate – by filling out a 10-page form that includes a request for a resume and references. Under the new rules, any Ontario resident who lives along the 639-km pipeline route who wants to send in a letter about their concerns must first apply to the NEB for permission to send in a letter. *As of today, the public will have just two weeks to fill out a 10-page form* which asks for a resume a... more »

An exercise in futility?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that my efforts in these pages to shed some light upon the various attacks upon our democracy, the ever increasing centralization of power in the hands of a few, our right to details of government spending and decisions, and our right to express our opinion upon those decisions both publicly and at the voting booth is an exercise in futility. I am fairly certain that the majority of those that read this blog are already well aware of such antidemocratic moves by governments and whilst the Harper Regime leads in such malfeasance it is by no ... more »

Kevin Page Reflects upon the Past 5 years.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
A must read published in the Star. “ *I took the job when it was agreed that a few amazing and fearless public servants would join — namely, Mostafa Askari and Sahir Khan. We signed in proverbial blood. We vowed to give Canada a true legislative budget office. Nothing less. I chose career suicide. It was a very small price to pay. After all, I had lost a son; I was “out of range.” * “*Our institutions of accountability are in trouble. Parliament does not get the information and analysis it needs to hold the executive (the prime minister and cabinet) to account.” * “*What’s in it for... more »

Is Politics a Team Sport?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Recently a Conservative MP became the first MP in more than a decade to *raise a point of privilege against his own government*in questioning why he was denied an opportunity to speak by his own party whip during question period. Whilst the item that he wished to speak about (selective abortion) is rater controversial it was the Government Whip Gordon O'Connor response that was the most revealing. *He told House Speaker Andrew Scheer that such matters (deciding who may speak to the house) are the exclusive purview of the parties*, and, as such, firmly outside his jurisdiction as guar... more »

The Silence is Deafening

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
As our hero Kevin Page is *replaced as the Parliamentary Budget Officer by the Parliamentary Librarian*'temporarily' whilst a 'process' takes place to perhaps replace him with a less open and honest individual more amenable to the Harper Regimes obsession to control the message *we learn that Librarian staff have been silenced.* “*Federal librarians and archivists who set foot in classrooms, attend conferences or speak up at public meetings on their own time are engaging in “high risk” activities, according to the new code of conduct at Library and Archives Canada. Given the dangers... more »

Is “Judicial Activism” a Problem?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
A guest article by Jared Milne. For years, conservative writers have been complaining about what they call “judicial activism”. Writers like Ted Morton, Rainier Knopff and Robert Martin sharply criticize judges whose rulings, based the Charter of Rights, make social policy that elected politicians are reluctant to challenge. Social activists use the courts to try and impose changes on society that are difficul, if not impossible to overturn. Issues that would normally be debated by elected officials are now seen as being beyond discussion. Martin claims that this activism undermines... more »

Government Web Sites to be Reduced or Eliminated

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Recent leaked documents have confirmed that Tony 'Gazebo' Clements has been asked by King Harper to drastically cut the number of government websites available to Canadians. Initially, the number of sites will be slashed to six, with the ultimate goal of consolidating all online Government of Canada information into one big website. *The Huffington Post reports *that a PowerPoint presentation that outlines the federal government's Web Renewal Action! Plan is available in two parts *here*and *here*). Scheduled to roll out at the end of this month, the plan will bring about some major ... more »

PBO Position Finally Advertised

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Just a few days before Kevin Page's contract expires the Conservative government is *advertising for a mid-level executive *to fill the spot meanwhile the Parliamentary Librarian will take over as interim budget officer. *The lengthy job description suggests the government is clearly looking for a more compliant budget watchdog* than Page, who has been a thorn in the government’s side with his financial analysis and reports since the day he was hired to set up the country’s first parliamentary budget office.....the posting clearly wants a negotiator and a consensus builder who can b... more »

Political Stereotypes

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
A guest article by Jared Milne. Right-wing Conservatives are hardworking entrepreneurs who stop at Tim Horton’s for a double-double on their way to work, get up early on Saturday to take their kids to hockey practice, and maintain their homes and their cars themselves. Either that, or they’re greedy corporate monsters who cheerfully destroy the planet and oppress the poor in order to line their own pockets. Left-wing Liberals, NDPers and Greens are compassionate and interested only in helping the poor and caring for the environment and fighting for social justice. Either that, or t... more »

Ohh Canada!

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
*The following short excerpts from some news and opinion this week need very little further comment!* It’s this simple. If you don’t have money to maintain our Coast Guard stations and our fisheries monitors, you don’t have money to squander on an Office of Religious Freedoms. ...................... Do you remember when Canada was seen as a friendly, socially progressive country? Well, perhaps not, but I will bet that your parents do. We have lost ground and are now a reactionary anti-science- pro military, right wing led and controlled country. ........................... In the ... more »

Will our 'watchkeepers' be watching in the future?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
As the frustration level builds with the ongoing lack of accountability and response to concerns about various watchdog departments and officers the number of articles condemning this 'governments' approach to these things increases. Its getting so hard to keep up that once again I will simply post a few clips from a few that have caught my eye. You will have read my concerns about the renewal of the Parliamentary Budget Officers mandate and perhaps were aware that the NDP brought a motion before the house to extend Mr Pages tern untill such time as a new officer was appointed. Natu... more »

The Senate is not the problem

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Its not the institution, its the self serving and partisan people appointed to it.... Recent events *have once again brought calls* for the senate to be *abolished or reformed *and whilst the latter is no doubt needed, the former is not IMHO on the cards if for no other reason than it takes time for *the process to take place.* There is nothing in the constitution that forces the Prime Minister to appoint conservative hacks to warm the seats, there is nothing to stop the Prime Minister from asking the provinces for their 'recommendations' as to new appointees to represent that provi... more »

Let the Games Begin ...... Again!

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
With our Federal MP's now back in the House and the Ontario Legislature about to resume under a new leader I am not optimistic that we will see any change in the political gamesmanship and constant efforts of each party to trample each other in the blind rush for power. We here in Ontario just saw a particularly fine example of this from one Tim HarperHudak and his provincial Cons....... Within hours of her victory on Saturday evening, Ontario premier-designate Kathleen Wynne was the target of two new Progressive Conservative attack ads that labelled her “*another McGuinty Liberal O... more »

PBO contract expires soon.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
The Library of Parliament who are responsible for filling the position when Mr Page's contract expires in just two months has only now “*issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking the services of an executive search firm** to assist with the recruitment and selection of candidates for the PBO position.” *they then propose to “* issue a contract to a supplier who will then prepare the recruitment strategy and detailed work plan, including a list of activities and timeline.”. *Given the speed with which government typically moves on such issues it is clear that this position will re... more »

Sunday Morning Reading

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
I have been struggling lately to organize my thoughts enough to write my regular Sunday morning commentary, not because there is no enough to write about on the democracy front but because there is too much. Fortunately there are many others who are more than capable of filling the gap and this week I will simply refer you to a few of their recent posts. *First up Norm Farell quotes George Monbiot* *Northern Insight: The smartest guys in the room got it wrong* “the richest 100 people now hold wealth near equivalent to the United Kingdom's GDP. “ *Then Owen Grey is well worth reading*... more »

Democracy 'Satisfaction' dropped 20%

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Its been a while since I gave Samara the democracy measurement folks a plug but a recent visit to their web site encouraged me to have another look around and you should too. Their most recent report titled'Who's the Boss?' once again reinforces what many of us firmly believe in that the ,satisfaction' with our democracy has dropped from 75% in 2004 to 55% now. The only surprise to me is that its that high but then there are still a lot of citizens not taking notice. Their various surveys also reveal that Canadians “feel that their MPs’ work representing constituents is falling shor... more »

Getting their attention...

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Much has been written about the Idle No More movement in recent weeks and I will not attempt to define it here for like the Occupy Movement before it the focus of the protests is becoming increasingly unclear. For Chief Spence it seems to be about conditions in her, and other, first nations community’s, for others it is about bill C45 removing many rivers from the Navigable water act, and for many, particularly the non native supporters, it is simply about the total disdain with which the Harper regime is treating Canadian citizens. Whatever the central aim of these protests it is c... more »

Stand on Guard

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
At this time of year as we look back over the previous year and forward to the coming year is also a good time to look at the broader picture of where we are both personally and as a country. When compared with so many other countries around the world that are in conflict or struck by famine, drought, floods, earthquakes and other disasters man made or natural we here in Canada must count ourselves fortunate. Some areas of our country have had a taste of some of those things but generally speaking we have the resources and systems in place to deal with such things in a speedy and or... more »

Unwrap this for Christmas!

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
I wish I could present you with some uplifting and exciting presents on the democracy front at this time of year but I fear it is not to be, there may be hidden amongst the lumps of coal and crushed remains of our parliamentary democracy a few items that you may be able to salvage but I am sad to say that they are few and far between. Here then are a few of the things that fill your stocking ready for you to rummage through them..... *At the top is a book, but not one that gives one a warm and fuzzy feeling.* Asreviewed by Frances Russell at ipolotics and written by political scien... more »

Cooperation between Political Partys

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
There has been much talk of'cooperation' between partys since the close results in recent byelections and whilst I have in these pages urged such 'cooperation not confrontation' in the HoC I wonder exactly how long such common sense will last and what form it will take in a practical sense. I was pleased this week to see that my own local riding associations had banded together to send a common message to the incumbent Conservative MP one Larry Miller. The local paper reports that “Kimberley Love of the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound federal Liberal association, Scott Maxted of the local Gre... more »

Oh Canada!

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Many years ago I stood proudly with other newcomers to Canada and became a Canadian Citizen, of late I have not been so proud to be Canadian. The Canada that I became part of was, I thought, an open and accepting and diverse country governed as a parliamentary democracy and open to new citizens and new ideas. I begin to question where those Canadian values have gone, not that the people have changes significantly except perhaps being even more diverse, but our “leaders” be they be federal or provincial, union or business, city or corporate with a few notable exceptions seem to have ... more »

Elections Canada slow to investigate robocalls.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Perhaps that should read `Elections Canada fails to protect our voting system` or better yet EC protects wrong doers! Either way its pretty clear by now that they have been completely ineffective in investigating the many complaints from across the country regarding the 2011 election both before and after that date. We wonder if it were not for the Council of Canadians and the citizens who are perusing the alleged interference with the voting process within a few riding’s in the courts if in fact anything would be done at all. It now appears that they are only just now attempting to... more »

Elizabeth May: Parliamentarian of the Year.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
When it comes to choosing MP's who have earned special recognition for their contributions in the House the choices, in my opinion, are somewhat limited however that *Elisabeth May has been voted Parliamentarian of the Year*by her peers clearly indicates her commitment to serving her constituents and Canada as a whole in a respectful and effective manner. Shortly after I started this blog back in 2009 I had the pleasure of hearing Elizabeth talk to the issue of democracy and it was her depth of knowledge and passionate defence of our parliamentary democracy that encouraged me to bec... more »

Democracy, the Charter and Ontario Teachers

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Here in Ontario there is currently a 'dispute' between the teachers and the government as to what the teachers unions want and what the taxpayers can afford, the government has passed legislation freezing wage levels for the next couple of years of teachers for the next couple of years. In response to this the teachers unions have been very vocal in their condemnation of this action with numerous radio and newspaper ad's. At least two such ad's say that this restriction on wages and benefits “undermines the guarantees made to all Canadians under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms” an... more »

A Western Point of View

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
*A guest post by Jared Milne.* When the federal Liberals governed Canada, Albertans were often frustrated by what they saw as pork-barrelling, a lack of transparency in government, few checks on the prime minister’s powers, and the demonizing of people with dissenting views. That’s why many Albertans were so thrilled in 2006 when the federal Conservatives took power under Stephen Harper. It was an opportunity to clean up Ottawa, to introduce long-overdue changes, and run things transparently. Since taking office, the Harper Conservatives have done very good work in a number of areas... more »

Municipal Councils Follow Harpers Lead

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
I dont often comment upon the actions of lower levels of government here but make no mistake that such proceeding are carried out in an open and accountable democratic way is just as important as it is at Provincial and Federal levels. In his recent annual report Ontario ombudsman André Marin pointed out that numerous municipal councils are breaking the municipal act by holding 'in camera' meetings for many issues that should be help in public. Indeed I am aware of several councils in my area that do so regularly and have been aware of some that have at times held unofficial “meetin... more »

A Week of Unaccountability

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
I make no effort in these pages to opinionate on things as they happen, even when limited to just attacks upon democracy it would be more than a full time job, I do try and shed some light upon such issues after the fact and highlight areas where future actions may impact upon our ability as citizens to keep government in check. This week has been full of such issues, the China trade deal that restricts our ability to enact laws to protect our environment if they impact upon profits, the Auditor Generals report that parliamentarians are not getting the information they need from the... more »

Pro-rogue – In favor of - unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
I don’t often write about the Provincial government for two reasons:- 1) there is enough anti democratic stuff going on at the federal level to keep me and a truck load of scribes employed full time just keeping up. 2) In comparison the Ontario legislature until recently has been relatively benign and generally within the normal bounds of parliamentary rules. However this week as we now all know Mr McGinty *prorogued the Ontario Legislature* for an unspecified time to “to allow these discussions with our labour partners and the opposition parties to occur in an atmosphere that is fr... more »

Democratic Decline: Death by a Thousand Cuts.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
This week the text of *Allen Gregg's speech at Carleton University* went viral, in it he outlines many of the concerns that a lot of bloggers, myself included, and some journalists have been expressing for some time. He says his concern was first piqued in July 2010, when the federal cabinet announced its decision to cut the mandatory long form census and replace it with a voluntary one, my concern and that of many others was brought about *much earlier *when the Harper regime prorogued parliament in 2008 to avoid a vote of no confidence. Late or not the stir that it has caused is mo... more »

The Gish Gallop

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
The Gish Gallop, named after creationist Duane Gish, is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer every falsehood in real time. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education. A Gish Gallop involves spewing so much bullsh*t in such a short span on that your opponent can’t address let alone counter all of it. To make matters worse a Gish Gallop will often have one or more 'talking points' that has a tiny core of truth to it, making the pers... more »

Maintaining Trust and Engagement in Canadian Elections

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
*Extracts from a Speech of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada at the the Economic Club of Canada on September 25, 2012 (my bold)* According to any international democracy index you look at, Canada's democracy is consistently ranked among the top 10 in the world. On standard indicators of democratic health –such as the protection of civil liberties, control of corruption, or a free and accessible electoral process– Canadian democracy scores very high. By all comparative standards, Canada has an enviable record of good governance. That being said, *we cannot be complacent. In my vi... more »

'Democracy no longer enters into it'

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
This week I will let a few other commentators speak to the condition of our democracy and the Harper regimes ongoing disdain for opposing views, parliamentary process, the taxpayers, and that promised open and accountable thing!. First up *Rick Mercer regarding the probability of yet another Omnibus budget bill*on its way:- “ *One of the most elegant pleas ever made against omnibus bills was made not that long ago in the House of Commons by a handsome young man by the name of Stephen Harper. He said it, omnibus bills are anti-democratic, they’re a slap in the face to MPs and voter... more »

Harper, champion of Democracy..... NOT!

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
With great fanfare, an international organization has announced it is honouring Stephen Harper as its World Statesman of the Year for his work as a “champion of democracy, freedom and human rights.” It is of course a pure coincidence that this 'award' is from an organization founded by a Rabbi and in Harpers eyes Israel can do no wrong, however as Bob Hepburn of the Star points out “the foundation either blatantly ignored or didn’t know that Harper is arguably the worst prime minister in history when it comes to defending democracy and human rights in Canada.” Indeed the blatant... more »

Participative Democracy in Canada

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
*A few weeks ago I became aware* of the Online Party of Canada, a new political party which attempts to introduce *'Participative Democracy'*.to Canada. Their mission is “to create a viable alternative to the traditional political system, using internet technology. Online Voting, Participative Democracy, Competence, Transparency and Accountability”, by “re-posting daily all the Bills being discussed in the Parliament along with the positions expressed by other political parties on every Bill. Then we allow you, the Canadian voter, to express your opinions and vote as if you were an ... more »

Rural Internet Survey

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
Democracy requires dialog and part of that dialog should come from my fellow rural citizens however for some that is more difficult than their urban counterparts. Attending a townhall meeting or a rally at the local MPs office can mean a 1 or 2 hour drive, often those living away from sizable communities can become isolated from both their local community and even the ever changing political world. The salvation for me is the internet, however even now after increasing my connection speed 5 fold over my previous dial up I have limitations on volume with incurring extra costs. With... more »

Compare and Decide where the problem lies..

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
The latest story regarding robotic phone calls during the last federal election is that in one riding the Liberal candidates team made an error and failed to identify themselves in a number of calls where they passed on (totally correct) information about an opposing candidate. They have been fined $4,900 by the CRTC for breaking telemarketing rules. Once the error was pointed out the candidate cooperated fully with the investigation and apologized on behalf of his staff for the error and is seeking to make the rules clearer for both his own future election team and that of others. ... more »

In Search of Heroes

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
I am a little rushed this week an so will simply republish this article by Elizabeth May who is far better qualified to speak about such matters than I. On Wednesday, June 13th, just after Question Period and before the tabling of amendments to the Omnibus Budget Bill C-38, a rally took place outside Parliament. The on-line advocacy group *leadnow.com*had called for people, at the very last minute, to support the opposition amendments. Taking their theme from the *YouTube of Conservative MP David Wilks* speaking candidly with his constituents, the rally called for Conservative MPs... more »

Election Fraud Case Further Delayed.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
In the ongoing court case brought by Council of Canadians challenging the legitimacy of seven particular ridings election results, RMG the company that worked for the Conservatives is now claiming *'we did not do it' *despite compelling information to the contrary. The Conservatives them selves are of course *making concerted attempts to have the case thrown out*before it comes before the courts, invoking every legal loophole they can find. Thus far they have not succeeded the court having ruled that “the applications raise serious issues about the integrity of the democratic process... more »

Democracy in Decline

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
A study into the state of democracy in Britain over the last decade warns it is in "long-term terminal decline" as the power of corporations keeps growing, politicians become less representative of their constituencies and disillusioned citizens stop voting or even discussing current affairs. The report by *Democratic Audit *shared *exclusively with the Guardian *notes there have been many positive advances over the last 10 years: stronger select committees of MPs holding ministers and civil servants to account; devolution of power to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and public... more »

Scrutinizing government Expenditures.

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 1 year ago
*Members of Parliament receive conflicting, outdated information about how billions of tax dollars are being spent each year, and get little opportunity to review fiscal plans. Those are some of the findings in a Commons report released without fanfare recently, even as opposition MPs railed against the Harper government for ramming through its omnibus budget bill without proper study.* *The recent report **STRENGTHENING PARLIAMENTARY SCRUTINY OF ESTIMATES AND SUPPLY,* *from the all-party government operations committee**, chaired by New Democrat MP Pat Martin, is a non-partisan ack... more »

A tale of two rulings........

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 2 years ago
*The Federal Court has rejected* a bid by the Conservatives to prevent federal election results in a handful of tightly contested ridings from being overturned. "Far from being frivolous or vexatious, or an obvious abuse, the applications raise serious issues about the integrity of the democratic process in Canada," Federal Court Justice Martha Milczynski wrote in her decision. The applicants identified "practices that if proven, point to a campaign of activities that would seek to deny eligible voters their right to vote and/or manipulate or interfere with that right being exercise... more »

We get mail.....

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 2 years ago
One of the disadvantages of providing an email address to readers is getting an increasing amount of unsolicited Email from 'media consultants' much of it from U.S. 'marketing companies' and relating to their upcoming presidential election campaigns. Most is sent directly to the electronic garbage bin however once in a while I get some interesting stuff, from Canadian sources.I welcome the updates from *Lead Now “a group of young Canadians taking action together for the fair, responsible and democratic Canada that we believe in.”*Their latest projects are detailed below and I enco... more »

Is Cooperation Necessary or Possible?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 2 years ago
There has been *much talk of late* about *cooperation*between the *left leaning *political partys with a view to *stopping the dismantling of Canada* by the Harper regime beyond 2015 by *electing a different government* at that time. What form that may take if it materializes is up for debate but there is little doubt in my mind that if you care for this country and want that “*open and accountable government*” that these secretive and dishonest ideologues promised when they first came to power then we must seriously consider such 'cooperation' in order to rid ourselves of this reg... more »

Happy Canada Day ......Eh!

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 2 years ago
I truly hope that each and every one of my readers has something to celebrate on this day when we look inwards at the good things that Canada has to offer. Please remember that our freedoms, our environment, our access to information, our social services, our parliamentary systems and indeed our very democracy itself are all very fragile and need constant support. Those that have been systematically dismantling these systems will no doubt take the opportunity to make stirring speeches telling us how good we have it and how only they are capable of taking the country forward, and ho... more »

PMO v PBO, who will be next?

Rural at Democracy Under Fire - 2 years ago
We all realize by now that nobody really knows what the financial and social impacts of the Harper regimes omnibus Buget and departmental cuts are going to be, and that includes King Harper and his retinue of script readers. For some time now our fearless Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page has been trying to figure out at least the financial ramifications of all these changes, originally so that our MPs would have some idea as to what they were voting upon (not that it would have made any difference to the 164 Con yes men) and now simply so that we all know where all this is t... more »

 

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