Don't take what we have for granted. We must be vigilant in defense of our democratic rights and our freedoms. With the Federal election coming this October 19th we urge all to get out and vote. For specific insights you may want to check out LEAD NOW.
CCEC is rooted in community development and democratic ideals. We believe that ordinary people, collectively, can ensure themselves a better future. We also know that our democracy is bigger than periodic elections, it is built upon traditions and has many components. When you vote, understand that there are efforts underway to undermine our democracy and your vote is one way to counter them.
Elections represent the people's voice. Recently riding maps were redrawn to add new seats, yet still the average population in a riding in BC is @150% the size of one in Atlantic Canada, making our votes less important. Voter eligibility rules were also changed, with new demands for identification; likely making it harder for first nations and immigrants to vote. Is the game rigged? And should proportional representation be used in parliamentary elections?
Parliament is where the people's representatives approve legislation and hold the government to account. Increasingly, members of parliament are told what to do by the prime minister, rather than the other way around. Should we not expect more from our MPs?
Cabinet is the inner circle of MPs that direct government. Over the last twenty years the role of these ministers has been eroded and greater control has been centralized in the prime minister's office ("PMO").
The Senate is the second house of law making, where reasonable people are to give proposed laws one last good look. Now it has been turned into a partisan den that simply does the bidding of the PMO.
The civil service provides expert administrative resources, scientists, and diplomats that serve the broader public interest with consistency over the long term. Yet the recent past has seen these people characterized as the enemy (of the esteemed leader) and severely cut back, at least in part resulting new risks to the public in rail safety, food safety, environmental protection, and elsewhere.
The courts are the arbiter of disputes and the means to seeking criminal justice, as directed by the Constitution and the law. The Supreme Court and lower courts have been under unprecedented attacks because they insist that the Constitution be respected. The emerging single-mindedness of the PMO seems to find this offensive, and it should not.
The media are the means by which the electorate learn about our government actions and may hold government accountable. The lack of transparency of our government, the insistence on careful messaging, and the failure to respect freedom of information requests has left mainstream and alternative news sources unable to play their role. The CBC is severely cut back. Government advertising purchases distort the editorial perspective of private operators and gloss over the failures of government programs.
Civil society is the way people organize to pursue larger public goals in social, arts and environmental realms. Non-governmental organizations are fundamental to modern societies. Yet our government has labelled advocates as 'terrorists' and pursued exceptional efforts to revoke charitable status from many groups.
International trade agreements effectively out-source law making to international tribunals, usually denying democratically elected governments the power to withdraw from or re-open agreements for extended periods of time. These pacts are among the most insidious tactic used to limit the power of popular movements and to restrict debate.
The subversion of our democratic institutions and traditions is real. When you vote, choose to support those who will enhance our democratic system of governance. VOTE!