Thursday, May 24, 2012

Canada's Sad "Democracy"

Conservative MP David Wilks comments have provided fodder for government opponents, but underlying his concerns about the budget bill, a candid confirmation of the lowly existence most our elected representatives enjoy.  In reality, Wilks serves as a depressing testament to just how tortured our Canadian expression of democracy.  The exclamation point "kicker", you will ALSO never hear another "off the cuff" word from David Wilks, rest assured.

It's a story of a MP, not privy to anything in his government's budget, given ceremonial face time but having full knowledge "they've made up their minds" already, going through the motions is a kind characterization.  Wilks paints a picture of a cabinet, an inner circle, making all decisions then presenting those measures to what amounts to the majority of elected MP's.  And, this reality is just the government benches, never mind all the opposition MP's.  In other words, Wilks gives frank admission that his role in Ottawa is that of rubber stamp drone, devoid of true impact, sadly useless and obviously not representing ANYONE effectively. 

What is particularly depressing is the fatalism Wilks has already adopted, a rookie MP beaten and submissive, there is nothing he can do, admitting himself powerless.  "One person is not going to make a difference — one MP, one MP is not going to make a difference" laments Wilks.   In fact, one person does make a difference, we see it every single day outside Ottawa.  The fact an MP can but his principled objections on the back burner, in the name of  math, there is a cold realization that plagues the entire House of Commons.  Wilks can very much make a statement, on a number of fronts, should he choose to formally voice concern, in fact that's his job in the idealist sense.  Instead, the defeatist attitude reigns supreme and Wilks will support a budget he tells his constituents is flawed.  How that reality translates to representative democracy escapes me.

Take Wilks to the logical conclusion.  All MP's outside of cabinet in a majority situation should resign immediately, in the name of austerity and practical relevance.  If this mass epiphany was to occur absolutely nothing would change in Ottawa, therein lies the true reality of how centralized and authoritarian our system has become.  Wilks, by his own admission, is useless and he is clearly not alone, so why perpetuate the farce that is our House of Commons.

Instead of cowering in the face of logistics, Wilks should make a stand, vote against the budget.  Yes the budget will pass anyways, yes his one vote is inconsequential, but in the end, should he stand up for his constituents, shed light on a disturbing bill, and in turn give renewed focus to a ailing democracy, THEN he very much could "make a difference".   Instead, the end game to this sad commentary, Wilks will not only fail to stand up, he will MUZZLED in the future, and that is present day democracy in Canada, dressed up in its full regalia.  No wonder nobody cares.


thwap said...

Obviously, the harpercons aren't the first to invent the concept of a powerless backbench MP. Although harper has pushed the concept to its farthest limits thus far.

But in the end, ... if MPs are disgusted with their lowly status in Parliament, they have four-year terms in which to do something.

Meet with other disgruntled MPs. Rebel against the strangle-hold of the leadership and their whips.

Take a stand for the idea of representing your constituents.

Try for the love o' god!

JimBobby said...

The speed with which Wilks flip-flopped speaks of the absolute power of the PMO... or his absolute lack of backbone.

When one switches position with such ease, the strength of their convictions must extremely weak. Could it have been a wishy-washy MP telling some constituents exactly what he thought they wanted to hear? Then, telling the CPC exactly what they wanted to hear?

When he said that one MP cannot make a difference, I immediately thought of Elijah Harper. Someone else brought up Chuck Cadman. One MP can make a difference, but not if their position is subject to wind direction. Principles matter and Wilks, like many other MPs of all stripes, has shown his principles to be subject to the situation in which he finds himself.

Not all backbenchers are useless. Wilks is.

thwap said...

I note that he does offer to run as an independent if that's what they want.

bigcitylib said...

Remember there's no such thing as a bad job.

Lorne said...

I do believe that this whole sordid and sad tale speaks to the lack of integrity of the people who are attracted to public office. Until that changes, nothing else will.

Perhaps part of the solution might lie in having term limits for politicians as a way of discouraging those candidates for office who are more motivated by self-aggrandizement than honest representation of their potential constituents.

Anonymous said...

Harper is a dictator and a control freak. I see no ethics or morals in Harper, what-so-ever. Anyone opposing him, will lose their jobs. Harper isn't called spiteful Stevie for nothing. Just ask the people of BC. Ask other country's, who can't stand his bullying and his hissy fits, when he doesn't get his own way.

The U.N. refused him a seat. The New Pacific Trade Group, don't want Harper either. At every meeting of the nations, Harper is the trouble maker every time. He always manages to anger and insult, every country attending.

Now Harper is trying to quash the robo-call investigation. That is of no surprise to Canadians. Over half of Canadians did not want Harper as P.M....he knew it, he cheated. Now, 2/3 of Canadians and counting, still don't want Harper as P.M. Seems one of the people who did the robo-calls, is using the Nuremburg defense. We were ordered to do it.

Harper is also appointing two new Conservative judges. Canadians are waiting to see, if one of his judges will hear his appeal, of the Etioboke Center election, declared null and void.

Jerry Prager said...

Small numbers of people have done more to change Canada than any other sized group: during the American Revolutionary War for example, 35 people left Halifax in the middle of the night to intercept a larger American invasion force. They routed the republicans and Nova Scotia remained British-Canadian.