Why We Should Be Worried About Democracy

I came across this blog posting a couple of days ago, where an NDP candidate reflected upon his campaign in the recent election: http://glenpearson.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/transitions-brutal-in-their-despondency/

This is strikes to the heart of what worried me the most about the election. From Harper’s reluctance to face the public and field questions, to pre-election smear campaigns run via tv commercials, to manufacturing public fears about crime and economic doomsday. The Conservatives have almost perfected campaigning in the 21st Century, where simple sound bites sent through the TV at a frequency that only money can buy creates an environment that overpowers the politician that tries to engage the public in a more honest type of debate.

I find it appalling that the Conservatives were spreading innuendo and falsities about Glen Pearson via a call center, all while Pearson was actually out in the community trying to meet and engage people. In my mind, this is American style Fox-News politics in the making, where all it takes is a bunch of $$, airtime and a loud mouth to make any ridiculous accusation become true.

I can accept that a majority of Canadians do not currently share my opinion of who’s budget is better, or exactly on what public spending should be targeted. What really bugs me is dishonest marketing used to sway people’s opinions, coupled with opportunistic policies that feed off of emotions like GST reductions and building prisons. The GST reduction was particlarly troublesome, as nearly every economist agreed that it was bad policy. Yet the Conservatives, who trump themselves as being the kingpins of economic policy, lowered the GST anyways because they knew it would get them votes. I guess that’s hold news now, but it speaks volumes to the principles the Conservatives hold.

Locally here in Vancouver this disturbing trend is replicating. Christy Clark, having seen the success of the Conservatives, has taken a page out their playbook. She is avoiding all public debates for her upcoming byelection. Let’s all hope she loses, if for no other reason than because of this.

4 comments on “Why We Should Be Worried About Democracy

  1. Good post Doug. Two points: I think the idea that we still live in a proper, functioning democracy is a bit laughable, unfortunately. That ship sailed a while ago. Second, people get the kind of government they deserve. If they can’t be bothered to hold government/politicians accountable or to reform the system so it actually functions for their interests, then this slide towards American neo-fascism you noted above seems inevitable. 

  2. Holmes, I agree with both of your points.  I’m not sure when Canada was truly Democratic but certainly it has shifted away from democracy in the last few years.  It is one thing to have corrupt government officials or bureaucrats, and quite another when the government itself blatantly defies democracy.  Keep in mind that while it’s true that we decry the actions of Harper, but the other parties have partisan gamesmanship that isn’t necessarily super-duper either.

    Yesterday was another slap in the face for democracy.  How would you like to have been the community member that rejected a Conservative MP, only to have them gifted into the Senate afterwards?  And while it seems that Harper is the only one audacious enough to do such a thing, the Liberals didn’t exactly try to reform the Senate either.

    In the end we get what we deserve, as you say.  Eventually this nonsense will lead to a new discrepant event, which will ultimately be the impetus for another change.  Hopefully it will be a change for the good!

  3. Holmes, I agree with both of your points.  I’m not sure when Canada was truly Democratic but certainly it has shifted away from democracy in the last few years.  It is one thing to have corrupt government officials or bureaucrats, and quite another when the government itself blatantly defies democracy.  Keep in mind that while it’s true that we decry the actions of Harper, but the other parties have partisan gamesmanship that isn’t necessarily super-duper either.

    Yesterday was another slap in the face for democracy.  How would you like to have been the community member that rejected a Conservative MP, only to have them gifted into the Senate afterwards?  And while it seems that Harper is the only one audacious enough to do such a thing, the Liberals didn’t exactly try to reform the Senate either.

    In the end we get what we deserve, as you say.  Eventually this nonsense will lead to a new discrepant event, which will ultimately be the impetus for another change.  Hopefully it will be a change for the good!

  4. Holmes, I agree with both of your points.  I’m not sure when Canada was truly Democratic but certainly it has shifted away from democracy in the last few years.  It is one thing to have corrupt government officials or bureaucrats, and quite another when the government itself blatantly defies democracy.  Keep in mind that while it’s true that we decry the actions of Harper, but the other parties have partisan gamesmanship that isn’t necessarily super-duper either.

    Yesterday was another slap in the face for democracy.  How would you like to have been the community member that rejected a Conservative MP, only to have them gifted into the Senate afterwards?  And while it seems that Harper is the only one audacious enough to do such a thing, the Liberals didn’t exactly try to reform the Senate either.

    In the end we get what we deserve, as you say.  Eventually this nonsense will lead to a new discrepant event, which will ultimately be the impetus for another change.  Hopefully it will be a change for the good!

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