Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Democracy at Risk?

It is always interesting to hear the political parties talk about the ideologies of left and right politics. It is often reported that the left leaning liberals in Canada are aligned with the left leaning US democrats and that the right leaning conservatives in Canada are aligned with the right leaning US republicans. There is little truth, if any, to these reports. The liberals and the conservatives in Canada are both fighting for the middle ground where most Canadian voters sit. That’s right, right in the middle and that’s as right as it gets in Canada. The reality is that both liberals and conservatives in Canada are somewhere left of the democrats and republicans in the US.

Elections and resulting changes as to whom governs us sadly results in little change. It is generally argued that we are ruled by the elite and have been for some time. What governments do is most often done for their own interests and not the interests of the general public. Governments make decisions with little or no consultation with the general public. Our voices only count during an election and that most often changes nothing.

It has increasingly become difficult to get any politician to respond to the simplest of questions and near impossible to get a meeting with them or their staff. Further, returning phone calls is not high on their agenda. My experience has found that getting responses to email may take up to two or three months and that is if they respond at all. They are either in a meeting, away from their desk, on another line, out of the office, on holidays or simply not available at this time. Local governments are far more accessible and it only gets worse as you move up to provincial and federal governments.

We have lost control of our politicians and our governments over the last few decades. They say anything they want on the issues and we generally just move on and wait for their next move. Democracy is a fragile system of government and when the people fail to fight for their right to be involved is when they may evolve to a place they don’t want to go regardless of left or right ideologies. So, is democracy at risk?