Canada Elects Another Dictatorship For Four Years
steffanileman | May 4, 2011 at 12:44 pmby
342 views | 3 Recommendations | 9 comments
Reform Alliance receives absolute power, but where are the reforms?
Conservative Party swept to a majority government yesterday in spite of Quebecers that voted against it as a block and 60-percent of the electorate across Canada that had other preferences. Nobody was more stunned with the result than young voters and those voting for the first time, who kept Twitter abuzz about the results. One young voter tweeted “What do you mean majority? With 39-percent of the vote? I don’t understand.”
39-percent of eligible voters didn’t bother to go to the polls. One of my friends, a waitress, said “What difference is it going to make?” a sentiment apparently shared by many. A self-employed friend thought he should vote for the NDP for his family’s sake, but then decided it wouldn’t make any difference. Another friend, a retired executive in Ontario, told me he must vote Conservative for his grandchildren’s sake. “NDP will bankrupt the country” he said.
The centrist Liberal Party was decimated, polarising the country into the Left and Right, similar to the political landscape in British Columbia. With Jack Layton’s personal attacks against Michael Ignatieff, and his rising popularity in Quebec, strategic voting went out the window. Layton traded NDP’s real power in a minority government with personal glory as the powerless leader of the Official Opposition. It remains to be seen if NDP can reinvent itself to be a viable contender in federal politics.
This election was especially significant for the country’s future, since the Conservative Party is the reincarnation of the western Reform Alliance, the people that were supposed to reform Canada’s dysfunctional political system, such as the unelected senate. For the uninitiated, Reform Alliance, or the Canadian Alliance, was born in reaction to Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Mulroney’s dictatorial 9-year regime that eventually destroyed the party.
So far we haven’t seen any reform initiatives from the born-again Conservatives and reformist PM Stephen Harper to bring real democracy to Canada. Unless we see a transformed Stephen Harper within the next few months, it appears that this election was in fact a vindication and victory for Brian Mulroney over his detractors, and Mr. Harper is merely taking over where he’d left off.
People voted in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt. Democracy takes more than being able to cast a vote. It requires checks and balances, executive accountability, access to justice, and people’s participation in decisions that materially affect their lives. First of all, it implies majority rule with respect for minorities, not a dictatorship of the minority over the majority as what they have in Third World countries such as Syria. When we apply the tests and analogies, and what happened in this election, Canada fails as a genuine democracy. It fails not because of the personalities or the choices involved, but because of an archaic and dysfunctional system that corrupts the political process.
Canada’s prime ministers have more power than presidents of the United States. As the chief executive, chief legislator and the appointer of judges, and in the absence of any effective opposition within or without his party or an elected upper house, the PM’s power is absolute. The only difference between Canada and a Third World dictatorship, or an absolute monarchy, is the term, and that is not what democracy is about.
Most Recommended Comment
"thirty-aught-six" (not verified)
PiobarThese members have powered this story: