4.05.2011

which canada will you vote for? in words and pictures

Here are two excellent election-related pieces, both lists of a sort - lists about what Stephen Harper has done to Canada.

"Canada watches its democracy erode" by Ramesh Thakur, who teaches political science at University of Waterloo

and

"Which Canada will You vote for?", a graphic essay by Michael Nabert.

The Thakur essay ran in the The Australian and in various internet venues, you'll find people claiming that "the Aussies" know more about Canada than Canadians do. I'll grant you that many Canadians live in a bubble of ignorance, but this essay is not proof of anything except why you should not vote Conservative.
Edmund Burke noted that all that was necessary for evil to triumph was for good men to do nothing. Canadians are certainly good and worthy folks, but they suffer an excess of civil obedience, politeness and lack of civic rage that could be harnessed to combat political atrophy. At a time when Arabs risk life and limb for political freedoms, Canadians seem largely apathetic about the erosion of their democracy.

The centralisation of power in the hands of the prime minister and political staffers - with the resulting diminution of the role and status of cabinet, parliaments and parliamentarians - is common to Anglo-Saxon democracies in Australia, Britain, Canada and the US, but the extent to which constitutional conventions, parliamentary etiquette and civil institutions of good governance have been worn away in Canada is cause for concern.

A minister told parliament she did not know who had altered a document that cut funding to a foreign aid group. Later, she admitted to ordering the changes, but did not know who had carried out the order. Lying to parliament, a cardinal sin of Westminster-style democracy, has become a political tactic.

Following rulings by Speaker Peter Milliken, for the first time in Canadian history, the government and a minister have been found to be in contempt of parliament for withholding information and misleading the house.

The Integrity Commissioner was so inept that she failed to uphold a single one of more than 200 whistle-blowing complaints.

Forced out of office by the ensuing public outcry, she was awarded a $C500,000 severance package on condition that neither she nor the government talk about it.

That is, a public servant paid by the taxpayer was financially gagged by yet more taxpayer money to stop taxpayers finding out what was going on.

When a foreign service officer blew the whistle on the Canadian military handing over detainees to Afghan security forces, in likely violation of international humanitarian law, the government tried to destroy him and refused to give documents to a parliamentary inquiry. The Speaker reminded the government parliament controlled cabinet, not the other way round.
Michael Nabert's can't be adequately quoted here; you've got to click through.

Thanks to James for both of these!

1 comment:

M@ said...

That comic by Nabert is excellent. I've buzzed it and posted it on reddit, and when I get home it's going up on my Facebook page.

Thanks for posting it!