Dalton McGuinty says: Thanks for the cheque…. Oct. 15, 2007

As with the Mike Harris regime, Ontarians are going to have to learn the hard way – AGAIN – about giving a corporate party a blank cheque to do whatever they want to do in a second term.

 Really, that’s fine with me. Let’s just be honest about it shall we? We don’t live in a democracy, we live in a managed oligarchy and most Ontarians just don’t care.

As for the MMP proportional representation referendum…….well, Ontarians stayed with the devil they knew because there wasn’t enough done to properly explain the concept and why it was needed. Here’s two reasons why for anyone listening: Mike Harris and Dalton McGuinty. We better wake up real soon because Harper has a plan and we better stop him before he pasts any posts.

Here is a copy of a letter I wrote yesterday to the Toronto Star about Ian Urquhart’s column:

 Dear Editor,

Yes, Ian Urquhart, let’s hope we never discuss democracy again either. In fact, let’s just get honest with ourselves: we don’t live in a democracy; we live in a managed oligarchy which in turn is served by a fawning press. Look, electoral reform is not an academic exercise and it will NOT go away. It is meant to improve participatory democracy so social problems like poor funding for schools, poverty and draconian labour laws are addressed in ways other than to suit the profit motive. In short, to restore the very concept of participatory government.

Urquhart says that proponents of MMP are zealots. Like Mike Harris and Steven Harper? Harris would never have been able to wreak the havoc he did if we had proportional representation – he would never have had a majority and would have had to bring in Liberals and New Democrats to form a government. Let us all pray (and vote) that Harper never gets past the post.

Nor was MMP a sharp break from the existing system – it was a limited form of proportional representation, with elements of both first past the post and mixed member proportional. The measure didn’t pass because there was no real effort in papers like the Toronto Star to explain why we need it and how it would work. People will stick with the devil they know in uncertain times. As well, one can not compare the Charlottetown and Meech accords with electoral reform. The accords were put together by political elites and suffered a predictable defeat. It involved constitutional reform regarding Quebec. Every Canadian knows this is a political minefield and were not prepared to trust the political elites on this. Why were these measures defeated? Because of the incredible amount of media coverage of it all. Citizens had enough information with which to make up their own minds. The coverage in comparison to the MMP issue was paltry. MMP is simply an electoral procedure in use by ALL major democracies except Britain, the US and Canada – not a fundamental alteration of the constitution.

Urquhart says Ontario should follow the federal government lead in banning corporate and union political donations. Leaving aside the fact these two issues cannot be compared and lumped together either; what is the point of publicly funding an election process that doesn’t function for the working class? Proportional representation, public funding and full, regular enumeration for a complete voters list are all part of what those of us who support a change to PR want. If that makes me a zealot, well, perhaps I don’t know what a zealot is.

 Why would conservatives or liberals bother to change anything? The status quo works for them. October 10th was a sad day for democracy in Ontario and Canada, and the media bears a great responsibility for this.


1 Comment

Filed under Ian Urquhart, MMP, Paul Chislett, Toronto Star

One response to “Dalton McGuinty says: Thanks for the cheque…. Oct. 15, 2007

  1. Wilf Day

    I agree with every word.

    What about the northern perspective here?

    Even though voters everywhere suffered from the fact that there wasn’t enough done to properly explain the concept and why the Citizens’ Assembly chose it, Northern voters gave it only 29% support, 8% less than southern voters. What should be done to address that?

    How many people knew the NDP would hold a northern nomination for candidates for at-large seats? And similar regional nominations in five or eight southern regions? And then fold the regional lists into one provincial list? Exactly as the New Zealand Labour Party does it, which the Citizens’ Assembly report actually mentions. Did anyone even mention this? Would it have made a difference if they had?

    Do Northerners trust parties to give the North its fair share of list positions (every tenth name)?

    Or should the Citizens’ Assembly have prescribed German-style rules for democratic nominations within parties?

    Or should the Citizens’ Assembly have guaranteed the North full representation by designing a regional MMP system modelled on Scotland’s rather than the New Zealand model?

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