It‛s been a long campaign and I thought in my ignorance that eventually the real debate would emerge. But no. It‛s all been about the economy, jobs, the niqab, fractured citizenship, refugees, deficits, terrorists, environment, and other comparative trivialities.
I say “comparative” with good reason and you may well ask, “Compared to what?
Compared to the fate of Parliamentary Democracy, that‛s what.
Unless we have been totally brainwashed by the historians our Parliamentary Democracy evolved over centuries. It was a tumultuous evolution involving, at times, such disparate elements as the Barons at Runnymede (1215) , Wat Tyler and the Peasants Revolt (1381), the beheading of King Charles (1649), and even our own Mackenzie and Papineau rebellions (1837).
Sidebar # 1: Wm. Lyon Mackenzie, who led the armed rebellion in Upper Canada, fled, then returned to be usefully productive in the Legislature, would, under current Bill 24, presumably have been shipped back to Scotland.
The latter events, also known as the Rebellions of Upper and Lower Canada, installed Responsible Government in our system which simply and logically means that the Executive (the cabinet) is answerable to the elected members of the House of Commons who have the power to vote (50%+1) a Government out of office.
Of course other parts of our system have evolved as well. Political Parties which do not even appear in the Constitution Act have increased their presence, number and power. Unfortunately, the electoral system by which their candidates are elected has not evolved. As everyone knows we can wind up with majority governments elected by a minority (as small as 25%) of eligible voters. At the same time the power of the Prime Minister has increased to the point where the Prime Minister‛s Office, the PMO (that now employs approximately 500 people), has in fact become a Department and, unlike all other government departments, it is totally political in that its principal purpose is to keep the PM and his Party in power. It is perhaps no wonder that a Leader with a Party given majority power by as few as 25% of the eligible electorate becomes obsessed with self importance and self protection.
This evolving accumulation of power now in the hands of the current PM and his hired PMO has resulted in:
* ours being the only Government in the Commonwealth ever to be found in contempt of Parliament;
* precedence being violated by the proroguing of Parliament in order to avoid defeat in a Confidence motion (i.e. – to avoid the application of Responsible Government);
* precedence again being violated by the proroguing of Parliament in order to avoid an inquiry into the alleged illegal handling of Afghan detainees;
* our Government being accused by its own Parliamentary Budget Officer of keeping double books (for costs of the F-35 fighter) which, for other institutions, would be considered a crime;
* the flagrant use of Omnibus Bills that are so large and so all-encompassing that few Government members find time to read them before voting approval;
* the passing of the Second Budget Omnibus Bill without accepting any of 163 amendments proposed by the Opposition.
* the issuing of a handbook of instructions detailing how to derail Opposition led committees even though competent committee hearings are vital to ensuring good legislation;
* the impeding of parliamentarians‛ access to information on Government spending by charging even the Parliamentary Budget Officer exorbitant fees for such access, even though control of finances is a major tool for parliamentarians to keep a Government under control;
* the apparent exercising of poor judgement in appointing members to the Senate, then apparently becoming complicit in covering up ensuing misdemeanours and eventually trying to destroy the Upper House by attrition — in violation of the Constitution.
So again I ask – where is the debate on Parliamentary Democracy?
And again I say that the economy, jobs, the niqab, fractured citizenship, refugees, deficits, terrorists, environment, etc., etc., are comparative trivialities. All these so called major issues are cargo on the ship of state, and the ship of state is piloted by Parliament. Destroy Parliament and all is lost.
Sidebar #2: In the 1930s two European leaders preached that the economy and jobs were of primary importance. They rebuilt their economies based on full co-operation with big business, the military, the curbing of civil liberties, and the use of the democratic system to destroy democratic institutions. Their first names were Adolph and Benito but it is considered politically incorrect to invoke their last names in our Canadian context, so I won‛t. And I confine myself strictly to their actions in the 1930s – from which all else followed.