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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Why We Should Worry that Warren Is Right

It's an absolute truth, this; Question Period is viewed as a sporting event that few people are into.  It's like cricket, that way - at least to Canadians.
At the same time, average Canadians don't think much of Parliament, either.  Whatever the truth is (and it's not far off the assumption) Canadians assume that it's an echo chamber, lots of sound and fury that matters not to their daily lives.
What happens in Parliament expect partisans taking partisan shots at each other in ways scripted by partisan operatives?  Parliament rarely expresses the views of every-day Canadians, seldom talks about the accomplishments of every-day Canadians and even less frequently has anything to do with the creation of solutions for every-day Canadians.
That stuff doesn't even happen in Committee.  Solutions (such as they are) get hashed out in backrooms by unelected staff, who feed messages to elected officials to spout for the camera.  It's a closed loop.
On those rare occasions where a community does get raised, or a specific constituent issue is brought up, then you might get people tuning in to see themselves (or friends, or family) mentioned in the House - but that's an increasingly rare occurrence. 
There is no room for actual constituents in the House of Commons. 
Countless studies have been written about the atrophying of Canadian democracy; they all collect dust.  MPs have been interviewed and books have been written about our Tragedy of the Commons - yet who is reading, and who is trying to implement?
We are hearing, more and more, about how even our own elected officials feel like they are hamstrung by a system that favours Parties and leaders over individual MPs, with the balance of power once again in the hands of unelected, unaccountable advisors.
Parties have become the new Privy Council.
Senior staff have become the new Cabinet.
And the PM with a majority has become the new Monarch.
Should we worry when we're told we fundamentally don't care about what happens in Parliament?  Should we be concerned when we're told only one leader can maintain a strong, stable, secure society?
When we choose not to see, not to listen, not to care because we aren't interested in being responsible, we are abandoning our democracy all together.
Guaranteed, if you don't like the messy, time-consuming nature of civic engagement, you'll like the opposite even worse.
That's something we should all be very worried about.

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