04 April 2009

Star Columnist Laments Canada's Eroding Democracy

... yet nowhere in his otherwise excellent piece does James Travers mention electoral reform.
Without meaningful engagement, participatory democracy is an oxymoron. Why vote if the winning candidate then switches sides? Why be a member of a powerless Parliament? Why be a minister in a cabinet without influence or a mandarin in a politically polluted bureaucracy? Why join a party to be spectator?

Responses can be found in the record low turnout of the last election. Or the dwindling number who consider federal politics relevant to real life or bother to join parties.

Fortunately, there are fixes.... [T]he combination of motivated citizens and enabling technology is extraordinary.

If mad-as-hell voters can take back a riding, as they did in Vancouver by rejecting Emerson's adopted party, then surely MPs can recapture control of Parliament. It's possible, too, that ministers, bureaucrats and police officers can be forcefully reminded that their public duty is to the people, not to politicians. Even prime ministers can be told they are not monarchs.

Appealing as it sounds, advocacy requires effort.... If war is too serious to leave to generals, then surely democracy is too important to delegate to politicians.

And surely democracy is too important to allow it to be shaped by media outlets which try to block citizen movements, such as those advocating proportional representation.

The Star is a case in point. While it positions itself as a progressive, left-of-centre paper, it stubbornly, unaccountably and steadfastly argues against a voting system which would distribute fair choice and representation to all voters, not just to members and supporters of the powerful elite.

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