Happy International Day of Democracy

September 15th was designated International Day of Democracy by the United Nations in 2007. In 2011 Fair Vote Canada adopted Democracy Day, as well as expanding activities to fill its companion “Democracy Week,” which starts today.

“…democracy

is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.
Universal Declaration on Democracy

picket sign at a demonstration

Although Canada is considered a democratic nation, we’ve had very little actual democracy of late thanks to our antiquated “winner-take-all” electoral system. Our federal government is currently ruled by a Conservative Party majority, which essentially means that they can do anything they want, regardless of what citizens want.

This is why the “Black Mark” budget, which threw out Canada’s environmental protections and replaced it with business friendly legislation.

This is why Bill C-11, the “Copyright Modernization Act” was passed to appease the Americans, after more than a decade of opposition from Canadians all across the board.

11. Democracy is founded on the right of everyone to take part in the management of public affairs; it therefore requires the existence of representative institutions at all levels and, in particular, a Parliament in which all components of society are represented and which has the requisite powers and means to express the will of the people by legislating and overseeing government action.

Universal Declaration on Democracy

Casseroles protest sign

The province of Quebec just turfed the Liberal Government, led by Jean Charest, a man singularly unresponsive to citizens on education.  Now that province will enjoy a little democracy with their newly minted minority government.

Ontario narrowly missed another Liberal Government majority in the 2011 election, and we just survived a byelection which might have restored the majority the Liberal Party had enjoyed since 2001. Ontario is fortunate that the NDP’s Catherine Fife was elected to fill the Kitchener-Waterloo seat vacated by Elizabeth Witmer, because we are lucky to retain minority rule.

Under our 18th century electoral system, the only time Canadians get to enjoy democracy is when we have a minority.

Provincially, we can thank an earlier minority government for our universal health care.

I recommend reading the entire Universal Declaration on Democracy if you want an idea of just how undemocratic Canada actually is.

But today is Democracy Day.

Although I have grave reservations about the Co-operate For Canada movement, I am planning on attending their information night.

7:00pm Sat, September 15, 7pm – 9pm

Adult Recreation Centre
175 King St. South, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Exploring Why and How the Liberal, NDP and Green Parties Should Work Together to Replace the Harper Conservatives with a Majority Government that Reflects the Shared Vision of the Majority of Canadians, with an Immediate Commitment to Electoral Reform

Speakers to be followed by Q+A and Town Hall Style Discussion.
Featuring:

Liberal David Merner, prospective Liberal Party of Canada cooperation leadership candidate, former President of the B.C. Liberal Party

NDP James Gordon, past provincial Guelph NDP candidate, well known singer-songwriter, entrepreneur and community activist

Green Cathy Maclellan, Energy Critic for the Green Party of Canada, past Green Party federal candidate for Kitchener-Waterloo

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but we all need to come together to find them.

That’s democracy.

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