Political parties can’t fix democracy

Photo by The Canadian Press/Postmedia News

By Michael Den Tandt, Postmedia News, the Montreal Gazette, 25 October 2012

Is Canadian democracy sick? Anyone who watches Question Period daily would have to say it is. Democracy is on the canvas, laid low by the one-two punch of abusive prorogations and omnibus bills. The cretinous din of what passes for debate today in the House of Commons is a constant reminder that this is so.  (There are exceptions: more on that later). (…)

Conservative MPs would like to have more sway within the Harper government. In unguarded moments some will grouse aloud (but off the record) about the whippersnappers in the PMO, barely out of short pants. Cabinet ministers can’t much like the fact that, through the Privy Council, this PMO wields influence directly on the senior bureaucracy. Ministers today are spokesmen and women for the government – not decision makers. (…)

That leads to this conclusion: Political parties can’t fix what ails them – not on their own. They have a conflict of interest. Only popular will can drive reform. But before that happens, Main Street – the so-called ‘Tim Hortons’ crowd whose somnolence the Harper government has long taken for granted – must first stop accepting the drip-drip-drip of violations. (…)

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Photo by The Canadian Press/Postmedia News.