Accidental Activist

Fixing Our Broken Democracy

Our current democracy is nowhere near 'good enough'. Our democracy isn't working and it's high time we got it fixed.

By Ben Bull
Published November 08, 2007

I was arguing about the merits, or rather the de-merits, of Canada's democracy the other day, with an Italian friend. My friend was explaining how he pays 'way less taxes' in this country and how impressed he is with Canada's 'low levels of corruption'.

"You're expectations are too low," I lambasted him. "Our democracy is shit."

The conversation reminded me of the oft-cited excuse for voter apathy and low election turnouts.

"New immigrants come to Canada," someone explained it to me once, "and they are happy to be just left alone. There's no fighting, no notable corruption, no limitations on their freedom - is it any wonder they don't vote?"

I have a theory about our democracy: it doesn't work.

The Way Our 'Democracy' Works

When I first became involved in activism a few years ago, I honestly felt that I could make a difference - and with just a moderate amount of effort too! A few well-placed letters here and there, and maybe the odd phone call to my MP and things would start to happen. Or so I thought.

But after several years, dozens of emails, letters, blogs and RTH articles up the ying-yang, I've realized that this is not the way our democracy goes.

Instead, it goes like this:

  1. Business people lobby politicians.
  2. Politicians listen, and set policy accordingly.
  3. Business people back the politicians who favour their agenda.
  4. Politicians get elected.
  5. Governments continue to listen to the business folks who backed them.

So it goes. The only tip of the hat to the 'ordinary citizen' is whatever scraps of policy the government feels it must add into the mix to give the impression they are dealing with the myriad of issues the pollsters tell them we all care about.

Getting Elected

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat. Politics is about one thing and one thing only: getting elected. Anyone who can help get a politician elected is going to have their ear.

Why is it, do you think, that developers and other high profile business leaders are able to get municipal, provincial and federal politicians to do their bidding, even amidst the outcries of 'ordinary citizens'?

Why have towns like Hamilton, and cities all across Canada and the world, been covered in concrete and costly-to-manage single-family dwellings? Just take a look at the campaign records. Business people fund politicians' campaigns, and well-funded campaigns win elections.

Campaign financiers, in turn, are duly rewarded.

Conversely, why is it that little people like you and me have to try so hard to make ourselves heard? Because we don't matter. We don't fund campaigns and we can't exert any kind of consequence or influence on our elected officials. We're at the bottom of the pile.

Are You Well Represented?

Anti-MMP folks argued, prior to the recent Proportional Representation ballot in the last provincial election, that this new electoral system would create a slate of unaccountable politicians with no ridings to represent.

But how well represented are you now? (I'm generalizing here, of course; I know many politicians are serious about helping out their constituents in important matters, but this help is almost always limited to matters which don't conflict with their core values, or the policies of their party.)

Try contacting your local representative with a request to increase funding for transit, or, God-forbid, go against one of their campaign financers' proposed policies, and I guarantee you'll get a blank look in response.

Little people don't set policies, business leaders do.

As a little-guy, it's very difficult to influence government policy. At the municipal level, where there are no political parties (overtly) in play, you are up against two things:

  1. The councillor's core values, and
  2. The policies proposed by the councillor's backers.

At the provincial and federal level you are up against the heavy hand of the party leadership, and we all know how much independent thinking our Prime Minister allows in his caucus - right?

Quite simply, unless you start a major corporation and fund a campaign, you are not going to hold any sway when it comes to setting out a path.

Party Politics Problems

Proponents of our current system argue that everything is fine because 'we vote for the party with the policies we like,' and, if they win, 'we get our policies implemented.'

But there is a big problem with this. The policies proposed by the major parties are - apart from being crafted at the behest of their major backers and always-iffy poll results - deliberately vague and narrow, and they have a tendency to change or be ignored once the party gets elected.

How then, to get your issue - be it affordable housing, an acceptable minimum wage or specific measures to preserve the environment, whatever - onto the agenda?

Well, that's not so easy. When I first set out to be an activist I remember comparing activism, the individual or modest group effort to get something changed, to pushing a rock uphill. I have yet to think of a better analogy.

The problem - the key, if you like - is that politicians, like all people, respond to consequences and rewards. As we have already mentioned, most of the 'rewards' associated with political office relate to the business of getting elected, something on which the ordinary citizen has little effect.

What Consequences?

What then, about consequences? Well, here's another problem with our democracy: there are no consequences!

There is currently a dearth of inventiveness and energy exerted by our national and local media to uncover political misgivings, and there is almost no effort by the political parties themselves to lay open their books and let the public take a peek inside.

As a result it is virtually impossible to uncover any wrongdoings.

There can only be consequences, after all, when you set yourself an objective to fail against, or allow yourself to get caught. Is it any wonder that our elected officials never set clear, measurable targets or offer themselves up to scrutiny?

Better to muddle along in the murky waters of political obfuscation and avoid awkward questions than face the consequences of your actions.

Status Quo is Not Good Enough

I am not advocating a 'perfect' political system. I know no such thing exists. And I understand the so-called 'merits' of the status quo. Some folks might even argue that if we had no business funded election financing and too much transparency in our system, the existing political machinery would break down altogether.

Other people might say my opinion is all doom and gloom, that most politicians are honest folks who work very hard to make things better; that what we have is 'good enough'.

But that's not how it looks to me. That's not how it looks from the outside. When you contemplate our rapidly escalating rates of poverty, the squeezing out of the middle-classes (who pay for everything), the declining availability of affordable housing, the worsening state of road congestion, air pollution, water pollution and our dwindling contributions to our fiscal debt and foreign aid - you realize just how little progress we are making towards any meaningful goals. In the face of this, it's hard to be positive about the current state of play.

I don't know what our new democracy should look like. MMP would probably have been a good step in the right direction, but there's more to tweak than that. There's no easy solution. I do know we have to do a damn sight better than we are doing today. Our current democracy is nowhere near 'good enough'. Our democracy isn't working and it's high time we got it fixed.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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By Synopdsis of crimes committed by the Mul (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2007 at 02:02:30

I am posting a synopsis of the crimes committed on me by the Mulroney Government.


My case is simple, similar to Arar’s but with recorded evidence popping up in every place. I was tortured in Cameroon in a different manner than the torture of Arar in Syria, but who can tell which one was the cruelest and most damaging?

ITEM 1.- In Cameroon. The political appointee Ambassador– during the coup d’etat in 1985 – refused to let me take shelter in the Embassy (Canadian territory) by denying my citizenship rights, calling me a damned, stupid immigrant. My wife – a Spaniard Canadian received assistance as a Canadian citizen. That Ambassador was a chum of Mulroney, not a career diplomat.

ITEM 2.- I was detained by the Army of Cameroon that took control of the country during the coup d’etat. The Embassy refused to help me in any manner. I remained placed for about 5 days, in a sort of cattle compound. There was a rustic roof of palm branches covering a ground divided by barb wire. Snakes and other animals could roam among the detainees and we had not hygienic facilities and we had to release ourselves in the ground, which was filthy and stinky, what prevented us to rest or to sleep. Cameroonian colleagues, professors of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Yaoundé, obtained my release at National Security proving that I was a Canadian Citizen, not a French member of the Secret Services of France who had bribed the republican guard (protectors of President Paul Biya) to assassinate him. I was free under their recognition, but the confiscation of all my belongings, including my contract with the Government of Cameroon as a permanent professor of Engineering was not lifted. I remained in Cameroon nearly three years prevented to work in Cameroonian engineering or construction firms as well as Canadian Engineering firms because I was marked by the refusal of the chum of Mulroney to recognize me as a Canadian Citizen, although my passport was enough to prove him wrong. I survived thanks to the family of my concubine until my son in 1988 send me the tickets to return to Canada. I obtained the exit visa thank to my lover who bribed appropriate officers to have my passport stamped with that visa. These events are well recorded in the Consular Services log.

ITEM 3.- Back in Canada I took my time to recover from the stress and depression. I only started to write protest letter to the Secretariat of Mulroney against the political appointee that was Ambassador in Cameroon sometime in 1990. I received a terse reply from Mulroney’s first secretary refusing my grievances and exhorting me not to write anymore to that Office. I persisted frustrated, indignant and with offensive language to soon find out that a policeman from CSIS was visiting my friends and business contacts, warning them that I was a derailed individual that was sending letters to Mulroney menacing to kill him. The employer of my son was visited by this CSIS cop to warn him that my son could be my accomplice. Fortunately, his employer knew me and my son and respected both of us. The defamer went to Social Services and – apparently – transferred a message from the first secretary of Mulroney to ensure that all supplements based on lack of income should be suppressed to me. There is no record of this action of the cop but friendly civil servants let me guess about his visits to the Superintended of Human Resources and Social Services in Moncton. The result of this action was that the supplements were retained since 1990 until 1995 and from then on, until 2006, when an honest, low graded civil servant noticed this omission in my Old Age Pension. This correction of my pension was withdrawn two months later by Mr. John Rath-Wilson, Director General of HR and SS but had to restore it again when I protested to Minister Solberg, with copy to notable politicians in the Opposition. In 1993, at a date that I do not remember, I was detained by the cop, and went to prison. There were two or three appearances in court where the prosecutor was stating that I was mentally derailed and had to be evaluated by psychiatrists to assess if I could be tried for menacing to kill Mulroney. When declared capable to sustain trial the Judge had me signing a peace bond and ordered me to surrender to the psychiatric ward of the Moncton hospital, where a Nigerian doctor named Alatechi, tormented me with the assistance of a male nurse.

ITEM 4.- The perjurer CSIS cop defamed me in the Association of Professional Engineers of NB. This led to my blacklisting and incapacity to earn my living in my profession. On 2001 I managed to get a job with BBM and later with Minacs, until 2006, when I retired. Because of the recent admission of Mulroney to have declared to the Revenue Office the $300,000.00 bribe of Shriver, I intend to publish several articles in controversial magazines such as FRANK, with which I’ll negotiate an ongoing contract. Will publish a tell-all, whistleblower book and sue the government of Canada for damages. The law suit will be started the day Harper calls the next election. As soon as Frank publishes my first article I will retain an agent to obtain interviews in the CBC and the CTV to hammer at Mulroney’s corruption.

The articles in FRANK could be written in collaboration with one of the senior journalists there. It is time to strike back at Mulroney vulnerability and I have the education, the evidence and the guts to spread his dirt all over Harper’s electoral efforts to conquer power in 2008.

Jorge Torrealba, B. Math, B. Sc, Civil Eng, Diploma on Executive Management,
Retired Civil Engineer,
23-5236 South St.
Halifax NS B3J 1A4.

cc: To my agent, who will contact magazines, publishers, Canadian TV chains and will contract a lawyer. Upon the advise of my agent, copies of this planning may be sent to Minister Solberg, as an accomplice of the robber John Rath-Wilson, Pensions Department, and to the Commissioner Elliott, who is well aware like many Opposition MPs, about the facts I am presenting in this synopsis. I expect the lawyer will prepare criminal charges against the robber, Rath-Wilson and the defamer-perjurer, CSIS cop. Min. Solberg and Commissioner Elliott will have to distance themselves from Rath-Wilson and the CSIS defamer-perjurer cop who will prove to be one of the perjurers that fabricated lies against Arar, and knowingly, sent Arar to be tortured by Syria. I know by experience that this criminal cop enjoys abusing Canadians, particularly if these Canadians are new Canadians. I became Canadian Citizen in 1962, to become the target of bigots like the so-called Ambassador and this police-agent of Prime Ministers.

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By yahtzee (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2007 at 08:05:55

You spelled "synopsis" three different ways in the first three sentences. That's a crime against the English language!

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By Wayne Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2007 at 08:58:22

Under the current system, most of us vote for people who don't get elected, so most of our votes have absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election. That's why we end up with a government that most of us voted against. Small wonder that we are so angry and frustrated with polticians.

MMP was designed to give voters the power to hold political parties accountable by giving every voter a party vote that would actually help to elect someone, every time.

If politicians are not accountable to the voters, and the government is not accountable to Parliament, then they will be accountable to someone else. Guess who?

Wayne Smith

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By appalbarry (registered) - website | Posted November 09, 2007 at 10:00:08

I'm one of those people who doubts that MMP would have made any real difference, but otherwise Ben you have precisely described my feelings as I approached the polls in the last election.

What's really lacking is either Leadership or Integrity in politics. The amounts of money needed to get elected are such that principles get set aside in favour of expediency.

I can't recall the last time that I heard a politician that spoke in absolutes, that actually stood for something concrete. All that we get from the Liberals, NDP, Tories, or even Greens is vague platitudes intended to offend the smallest possible group of voters.

I long for a party and leader that would state without qualification that they will support healthcare, and education, and worker's rights, and the environment - the things that I believe in - and who would REALLY believe those promises and deliver on them.

Just before the Ontario election the Globe and Mail referenced a poll that said that some %65 of voters assumed that politicians wouldn't keep their promises. Is it any wonder that voter turnout is at an all time low?

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By ventrems (registered) | Posted November 09, 2007 at 19:05:44

Gonna be Devil's Ad again, Ben, just because it's fun.

First off, good article. You've pointed out many of the flaws in our democracy that most of us reading RTH are probably deeply concerned about. However, I've got to challenge you on the remark that our democracy is nowhere near "good enough." The fact is, look around. MOST people in this country are living "good enough." The vast majority of us have jobs, we have universal health care that works "good enough." It really does. Children have free education until the end of high school, and University tuition (despite complaints by people like me) is reasonably affordable, and is definitely worth the investment in the long run. We are not threatened daily by suicide bombers, disease, starvation, natural disasters, pollution (arguably...), forced imprisonment. We have even elininated much of the discrimination in our society, so that IN GENERAL, anyone of any race, gender, size, age can feel free to do anything they want.

The point is, our country is indeed "good enough," and I think this is why most people are not as passionate about government as they used to be.

Unfortunately, as good as things are, there are still many issues worth fighting for (as you've eloquently pointed out). Poverty, the environment, electoral reform are all important issues and are holding us back from being an even better place to live. The goal should be to improve our country (and our world) at every opportunity. Sadly, most people do not think collectively in this society. Once we have our car, our house, and our HiDef TV, we are content with life. It seems like we all just want a piece of the pie (bigger than everyone else's, of course) rather than focusing on making the pie tastier, or bigger so that we can all eat more.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Keep demanding...

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2007 at 21:46:15

The system works fine.People get the government they deserve.

BTW to the guy blathering about Mulroney, your article was torturing to read..

You are the reason I vote for Harper...yet another in the endless supply of professional victims blaming others for circumstances in life.I see when you started off your Fouth of July speech you were not even a Canadian citizen but demanded to be treated like one.

I see you have an axe to grind with someone.I suggest you do like the rest of us Citizens and take them to court.

other than that..piss off.

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By USATomorrow? (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2007 at 02:53:54

I got involved in some activism over the last few years, & I feel that much of what Ben says is correct. It's either business or politicians pandering to the right group/lobby on the right topic that gets politicians elected.

One surprising thing among some of the activist leaders (Canadian) was their affinity to U.S. politics of the Right Wing variety, esp. since this was a topic that apart from opposing the party that brought in the legislation, there was no real "right or left" to the issue.

I was told that we 'have no democracy' in Canada... as opposed to the U.S.-? The fact of our having multiple political parties seemed to be a problem for them too. (I would think more parties heard from = more representation of more viewpoints?)

It was truly scary to hear people that are supposed to be about a Canadian issue, (at least as it happened in Canada) getting all wired-out about the greatness of U.S. democracy, & why our Righty political types are not nearly Righty enough for them.

IMHO, these people used a politically neutral issue to polarize people who opposed that legislation to the Right. It was a huge betrayal of the original protest, & most of the people that it affected.

It's not just the moronic aspects U.S. culture (bad films & pop. media) that we have to worry about spreading like a virus. Now it's the U.S. style 2 party only system, Church=State, guns=freedom,& paranoia as a way of life political agenda.

I think that Fear Mongering is becoming a real source of power & influence over voters, instead of actual platforms with real ideas, both in the U.S. & Canada. (Heck, it worked for Hitler, Stalin, & Mao.) It's so much more simple & cost effective than actually doing anything about problems. You just blame somebody else, while lining your pockets, if possible & bringing in more 'sheep' to the fold.

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2007 at 09:58:13


You are looking for a system that is not Democratic..believe me..democracy is overrated, but as Churchill said (para)compared to the alternatives, its the best.
Dont underestimated what I said before.People DO get the government they DESERVE.

Politicians have no choice but to pander to powerful interest, either a Business Lobby, Environmental Group,Ethnic group,..basically whomever hold the power to remove them.

Take taxes.Governments do not get elected to increase taxes on the people even if that tax goes to a common good or to help a cause.We are still way to immature as a people to handle REAL Democracy.IF real Democracy took place a politician could raise taxes by 30% to "eliminate" poverty and the people would vote for them for the common good.As a result, the people are lied to(as Dion is now again doing).They must be lied to in order to give them what they want then not deliver and blame the previous government.An end to Poverty with no tax increase..which obviously cant be done.

Even the Liberal governments at all 3 levels who deceptivly campain on the left then govern on the right are getting found out.They are getting squeezed by the Right and the true left NDP.Dion is now promising to eliminate poverty in his party which has been in power for half my life, yet managers to blame the Harper government in minority power for 18 months for poverty.If the people vote the Liberals back in they deserve it.

Sometimes I think it is better to live in a more authoritarion society like Singapore where I stayed for a while... or be run by a "Philosopher King".

People get the Governmnet..and the results they deserve.Dont blame politicians for pandering to whomever gets them elected and does thir bidding.Thats how democracy works.

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By To Yatzee (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2007 at 16:01:03

My applause to this bright comment.

The subjet - I believe - is grave and serious for Canada and Canadians. Mulroney initiate the betrayal of Canada by imposing the Free Trade fraud and by his GST that initiated the corporate welfare in Canada, with yearly amounst in the score of Millions.

Yatzee attention to spelling (which is not available in this wesite) puts forward his disrespect for Canada and Canadians.

Jorge Torrealba.

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By To Yatzee (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2007 at 16:13:10

HIs comment is worthy of the intelligence of Canadians. We all wish for a political party that will present serious programs of social development "accompanied by a plan of implementation" by Parliament, with commitments of resigning if such implementation is betrayed.

Governments in Democracy are managers of progress, mainly social progress of all the citizens, like in Venezuela today. The fascist regime of Washington has wasted about half acentury to assault the people of Cuba just because of its fear that democracy, social democracy, could be contagious in the region. Well, the Corporate fascism of Washington has failed: Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador are now irrevocable masters of their lands because they have defeated the cororate oligarchy in their nations.

Now in Canada Dion, our only hope of a serious government has capitulated and is in coalision with Harper to continue giving Canadians a rotten government.

Permanlink understand this new betrayal of Canada. Congratulations.


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By USATomorrow? (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2007 at 17:42:09

Quote: "Now in Canada Dion, our only hope of a serious government has capitulated and is in coalision with Harper to continue giving Canadians a rotten government. "

This is becoming Business as Usual on all levels of government in Canada. Either we get used to it or change it.

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2007 at 17:51:22


Please do not misuse terms like "fascism" simply because you hate the US.It makes debating rationally very exhaustive.

Chavez is a leftist fascist by any sense of the word.Suspending TV critical of him and trying to pull a Robert Mugabe to keep himself in office longer.Chavez and Mugabe are friends as are the circle of North Koreans,Chinese, Iranians elite leaders as about a Sterotype of despots.

Funny how Washington "assaults" Cuba but Castro lets Democracy keep him in power.One name on the ballot..for 50 years.. his own.Once Castro finally pushes up the daisies the nightmare for the good people of Cuba will be over.

run along now..

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2007 at 17:57:17

"In a first-past-the-post system, a party can win a majority government with less than half the popular vote. That's not democratic, and it's not the government the voters deserve.

I am not necessarily against MMP, but I do fear the inevitable power brokering that goes on after the election. Irael and Italy come to mind.Do those governments work.I suppose so to a degree.but the voter is still left out of the decision of who governs in power once the deals are done.

I would like to see someting in the MMP but not what was passed this time around.

I really dont know why we have to change things.Both Canada and the USA Britain and many European Countries ( arguably the best places to live on the planet) are goverened like this.IT is usually those who do not win at the ballot box who wish to re- jig the system in thier favour.

I dread a Jack Layton type having any power at all.He is downright dengerous with his naive policies.ITs why they have never governed.

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By To Gehgis (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2007 at 19:21:10

don't be patronizing.

the corprate brianwasing at the international scales is exactly what is being spout from your mouth. Of course, it is disrespectfull among privileged oligarchs to admired the visible progress of social democracy since Castro until Chavez, whick in this century is feeding the poor and giving free medicare to all.

Unfortunately, since Mulroney Canada is getting full of filthy rich oligarchsof the breed of Mulroney and the little guy does not notice the robbery of his rights because some like you are enancing the propaganda machine of the demented Bush.

Does not matter. Layton and all the left is not that bright, but they are honest and people sense their credibility in spite of your propaganda.

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2007 at 12:25:31

" the little guy does not notice the robbery of his rights"?

What rights would those be?The right to have things given to you instead of working hard for them?

"the visible social democracy since Castro??
What democracy would that be.You are either uneducated in Geo-politics in general or a hard left blind Bush hater..or self loathing Westerner.

Chavez certainly play the people well.Nothing is "free".He is in a position to poke the US in the eye and act like the petty dictator he is.There is resistance in VEnezuela to his regime.He handles them like Robert Mugabe handles the MDC in Zimbabe.shuts them down.
Face it you want what you cant win be democracy, so you whinge and complain and protest like a child until you get your way.

You must be on the wind up mate..

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By tono-bungay (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2007 at 02:29:28

Well, we voted not to have MMP and we didn't get it. In this small way democracy works. Your friend from Italy might fill you in: twice, over 80% of Italians voted to get rid of proportional representation, but Italian political parties decided to keep it anyway. New Zealanders also voted to change their electoral system but parties didn't do it.

I've worked on both municipal and provincial campaigns and people are complacent. It you donate money to a campaign, you get most of it back. You donation is multiplied by a factor of 3 or 4. Convince a hundred people to donate the cost of a tank of gas toward the campaign of a councillor and your group has given that candidate more than all the developers can legally give. Get a hundred people to volunteer and the candidate will have a bigger team than all the opponents. Any candidate that can get a hundred people to back them is immune to external pressures and is an almost guaranteed winner. It's a tragedy that even though this type of solid support from 1% of the population is enough, that hardly ever happens.

And then when an issue comes up, don't just send letters, ask for an appointment with your MP and prepare a well-reasoned, simple, factual set of arguments of the type that would convince your aunt. Get to know their core values and appeal to them.

I have had reasonable adult conversations with local members of parliament and ministers, which influenced their votes and became laws. I never made any 3-digit donations, but being a volunteer with community organizations and speaking to MPS and councillors with respect gets you a lot more attention from politicians than a $1000 cheque.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted November 12, 2007 at 23:45:34

Democracy is not broken, but it has been hijacked by the business-as-religion model.

Running a city or country is a complex problem that requires complex, practical thinking. The business model offers only simple solutions. It also shields politicians from responsibility and corporations from negative consequences.

As a mathematical model free market economics is an exceptionally poor approximation of reality. This is the concept that guys like Genghis don't understand. In minds like his everything seems to make sense, the only problem is that he does not understand the problem.

The problems of government and solutions from business are largely incompatible so inevitably there will be crap generated and it falls on everyone, but hits hardest on the poor.

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2007 at 17:59:21

Sorry Ted;

It makes pefect sense because it IS reality.The alternative State government systems that tried to bring it down the West economies failed miserably.

In the former Soviet Union"Government" tried to create an economy of the State..Disaster.tried to keep up dollar for dollar in military spending with no supply side economics and went bust.

In the West"Business" created an economy out of Capital and personal ownership of assets.As a result both had poor and poverty.In the East the entire nations were bankrupt and poor.The reality is the West Business model succeeded where the governments failed.

The Communist states designed to keep all equal had poverty 100 times worse than any Western nation.After the false mask was lifted in Romania, Bulgaria or any Eastern block it was horrible.

Look at Zimbabwe in more modern socio economic policies.Farms are run by White Farmers in a free market, but controlled environment.Zimbabwe was a net exporter of goods.Mugabe takes the farms away from industrial farmers employing poor people( but ultimatly giving them a living) and gives it to the poor to farm.Result= hyperinflation,mass refugees fleeing to neighboring countries,starvation.Yup. Governments certainly solve poverty dont they?Tell me again who doesnt understand how crap falls to the laps of the poor.. and makes them even poorer?

I am not saying free markets are ultimatly humane,or even the best but they do not bullshit the was the leftists do.

I am also not ultimatly defending how good free markets are.. I am saying how bad the Communist/Leftist states are and still are compared to the West

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted November 14, 2007 at 23:58:52

Genghis, as the king of Spain said to another loudmouth just like you, you need to shut up.

Better yet, stay on topic - this blog is about Canadian democracy, not using this website as a platform for painfully superficial political analysis and counterproductive mudslinging.

Canada generally does well because it is centrist. It could do a lot better if there was more participatory democracy.

Comparing broad political systems, you can look at statistics relevant to quality of life, such as life expectancy, infant mortality, etc. Divide by GDP then rank. Take the highest ranking countries and observe what kind of government they have.

Center or slightly left.

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted November 15, 2007 at 19:36:14

Yes, ted..sorry your absolutly right..the debate has turned in to "shut up" I see.It is on topic.follow the thread.I repsonded to someone else who went off topic

I never asked for your opinion.If you dont have a response"shut up" wont cut it.Better to keep quiet yourself.BTW,This entire blog and website is painfully full superficial political analysis.. generated from the extreme left..again with answers long on idealism and short on practicality.Take a wonder through the Geopolitics forum.No Wonder leftists dont run countires well

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted November 16, 2007 at 12:23:55

It would be instructive to search the articles and comments on this site for all entries that are superficial, i.e. lacking a substantive argument, "long on idealism and short on practicality".

At the top of the list will be Genghis.

I don't have a response on Zimbabwe because I am not informed of the situation and cannot imagine how it is relevant to a debate on Canadian democracy. It appears to be a poorly constructed straw man attempt. Can you point to where RTH contributors are advocating communism because I missed that completely.

Communism and free market capitalism meet in that they remove power and freedom from the masses, the first by many means, the second by economic slavery and subtle media thought control (which evidently works well on guys like Genghis) that has redefined the political spectrum to describe the center as the "extreme left" to better facilitate the trasfer of wealth from workers and taxpayers to massive multinationals.

The evidence for this is the indisputable growing wealth disparity that exists almost everywhere as a consequence of the last 40 years of aggressively pushing free market ideology. Canada, by sticking close to center, has weathered this better than most.

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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted November 16, 2007 at 16:23:53

Thats better..

Zimbabwe.. fair enough that was meant to define extreme in the case of how the poor get dumped on.

"the trasfer of wealth from workers and taxpayers to massive multinationals."

Why oh why do we have do use these worn out slogans that mean ABSOLUTLY nothing.This stuff is right from daily Kos kids

Lets reverse your logic here and see if a benefit falls out..

A massive "multinational" EMPLOYS workers.
A Worker gets PAID by a "multinational"
A worker invests in the things he needs to live and enjoy his life within his means.A worker can also invest in those multinationals to recoup what he is""slaving for".

Now those at the "Poverty line" is where I think we both agree at least.Who is poor and who is not.I feel poor living in the GTA but I am not

Canada is not much different than in the US save :

Gun control

Canada has built up this image of not letting people fall through the safety net and into poverty on the world stage.We all know that is a dirty little secret.The Liberals have dominated the Federal goverment over the past 100 years and we still have the centre left Liberals like Dion "eradicating poverty" while it has steadily climbed.left of centre parties ALWAYS campaign from the left and inevitably govern from the right.Paul MArtin talked a good talk but his policies were Conservative in action.

Who has been taken in by subtle media thought control again?

Lets drop this topic for now.It is getting tiresome I think for both.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted November 16, 2007 at 18:21:35

Since the power of multinationals now exceeds that of governments, deomcracy cannot prevent multinationals from taking far more than their fair share away from those that produce the goods - both labour and intellectual effort. They also steer the agenda of politics in a way which undermines democracy.

Hence you have widening wealth disparity everywhere. This is not defensible except by free market ideologues. It laughs at the concept of ability and meritocracy.

And Canada does do better at wealth disparity than the US.

This is the problem at hand, not whether Liberals speak left and govern right, like duh, we all see through that old story.

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By Straight Shooter (anonymous) | Posted September 10, 2008 at 18:08:08

One way to improve the voting system in Canada would be to rank candidates on the ballot. This way, if 70% of Canadians disapproved of a candidate, but were divided amongst themselves over their #1 choice.. the dis-liked candidate wouldn't win.

As it stands, this exact situation can occur, where a candidate or party hated by 70% of the population gains power.

For example:
PC - 30%
Liberal - 25%
NDP - 25%
Green - 20%

Ranking is a simple solution to achieve higher levels of democracy!

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 10, 2008 at 20:21:40

I say it's time for online voting.

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