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Is Canada (still) a democracy?


myata

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The title of the topic had to be updated. This pandemic situation brought and continues to bring revelations and in my honest and personal view they can no longer be discounted as isolated and unrelated events. To me it looks very much as a pattern.

Just when we thought that we heard it all (and I'll save everybody repeating) here it comes. Direct from Ontario Chief of vaccine task force Ret. Gen.

Seriously, could it have been formulated more succinctly and informatively?

The governments of the United States and the UK gave their citizens exact target dates of completion of the national vaccination. No, not the beginning of booking with unknown wait times that consumers of public health have grown used to. Israel is over half way to completion. And Ontario?

Asked when the general population under 60 will be able to book their vaccinations, the answer was, and I quote: "A great question WE don't need to answer it right now. Early summer is when WE MIGHT be able to discuss THAT issue" (highlight M.).

Here, an instant history. Should go in the books, and I sincerely hope that it will.

How could it be said more clearly? WE decide what we need to answer and when, and who do you think you are here? Yes you have only one right here: to keep those taxes coming for our salaries and our pensions. Did you think it was some kind of democracy? Seriously?

The general stated that it will take one month to vaccinate those between ages of 65 and 70, and the same for 60 to 65. Statistics tell us that each category counts less than one million of Ontario citizens. The US vaccinates 1.4 million DAILY.

But the task still looks too fierce and must be for that reason that the task force intends to make full use of private help. Who will ensure fairness of distribution in this case? That scarce resource won't go to CEO and member of the board with the remote family? That it wouldn't be shipped overseas at 100x the price, courtesy of Canadian taxpayers? Don't worry. The same famous bureaucracy that proudly promises to do less in a month than others do in a day will make it happen. Just watch it.

Honestly, I was concerned when we'll be getting here. But looks like we already arrived. And the only question I'd like to ask is, how we would have found out, if it weren't for this epidemics? Would we even care, to know?

 

Edited by myata
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  • myata changed the title to Is Canada (still) a democracy?

And another news that leaves me struggling what to think. Ottawa (city) announced start of public vaccination for over 80 years of age.

One would think, given the lightening "speed" of the provincial rollout, it's a good news. But in the light of the above I cannot be so sure. Where in the country is the highest density of public CEO and members of the board? And what will happen to the precious doses that were left over and desperately need to be rescued, etc and all the other necessary (in this "democracy" - M.) exclusions and exceptions?

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As to your title question? We vote for our government so the answer is YES we are a democracy. But since we vote every 4 or so years we have to put up with what we get for that vote. It sucks sometimes but it is our system.

As for the promises made by our leader(s) we again have to decide at the end of the term if we want more of the same, or change the messenger and their party.

No government has made good on all their promises.

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25 minutes ago, Johnny said:

As to your title question? We vote for our government so the answer is YES we are a democracy. But since we vote every 4 or so years we have to put up with what we get for that vote. It sucks sometimes but it is our system.

I take an exception to that. In my view, a functional and working democracy has to be much more than a formal act of voting once in so many years.

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1 hour ago, Michael Hardner said:

You should have titled this thread "Is Canada a democracy by my personal defintion ?"

No, it is not so. There's an objective definition of a democracy, in the word itself: "people-power". Say people decided that $2M for a golden parachute to a "public" CEO is not acceptable; say people thought that billions for a bungled payroll system is not good enough; say people were offended and wouldn't take "we don't have to answer it now" from a bureaucrat who presumed himself a minor monarch who owns the vaccines along with the public. So what could people do about it?

There are only two possibilities: either people have the power to do something about it; or they don't. And changing a face in the window every so many years does not necessarily translate to the power to effect real change.

Also, looking and feeling nice about it is not the same as a democracy. There are absolute monarchies where (majority) of citizens feel good or good enough. And every respecting itself dictatorship would run an election some time. See, none of this means a democracy.

And if and when a group, a class, an elite feel entitled to a larger slice of the public wealth just because they deserve it, because they are better than the others, little people around (as seen in the growing number of episodes); and when the entitlement is repeatedly and persistently reflected and implemented in the reality, where is the line between still a democracy and already some of an aristocracy?

Edited by myata
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The problem with the entitlement culture in the public and democratic administration is of course, that it can develop only in one direction, not limited by any checks or realities. $17 juice and why not if my buddy CEO can afford it and shouldn't we be entitled to it for all the hard labors for the public. Inquiries, reports are worse than slaps on the wrist - in the absence of real change they serve only as acknowledgement of the culture and its validity. A tiny and innocent nook of entitlement will develop, with time and unchecked bureaucratic care into a formidable tree impossible to control or change and very hard to unroot. And by the looks, we may already be here.

A clean and effective public service must by design and in principle be immune and averse to any form of entitlement. Modest, humble, open and fully transparent. And that is almost exact opposite of the culture that had developed. Good luck to us in this century.

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This pandemics is such an eye opener. It's almost like we needed, and desperately in some sad way as the last chance wake up call. If not this then I guess nothing could, and will.

I had no idea how bad it was, that is, is. Someone told me two years ago how it would turn out, I'd laugh at them. Wow.

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3 minutes ago, myata said:

This pandemics is such an eye opener. It's almost like we needed, and desperately in some sad way as the last chance wake up call. If not this then I guess nothing could, and will.

Wake up call to what ?  The economy died and the government burned money.  

At the end of it, everyone may decide that big spending is a wonderful thing.  Opening your eyes and being able to see isn't much of an advantage if you are still too dumb to walk straight.  But I am not saying I know either way.

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Good news. Hurray. Health Canada has approved the third vaccine: Astro-Zeneca.

The efficacy of Phizer's and Moderna is over 94%.

That of Astra-Zeneca: 62%.

Both paid for out of the public budget.

Now, who's going to get which, in Canada? Which one will get the MP, the CEO, with members of the board and family and which, a regular, little citizen?

I'm afraid to guess. If CEO can get millions of public money to get ultraspeed Internet to the cottage.... 

Unfortunately yes, we have to ask these questions here, in Canada not in Lebanon. Looks like it's here. We have arrived.

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Canada is still a democracy but to a limited degree.  It is run by a small borg of elite located in the Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto triangle and is to some degree an oligarchy.  True democracy would reject a leader who has had repeated ethics violations.  In Canada ethics doesn't seem to carry much weight.  The morally deficient masses still vote them in.  Charisma, name, and where they're from  has more weight.

Edited by blackbird
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45 minutes ago, blackbird said:

Canada is still a democracy but to a limited degree.

Well said, and Lebanon is a democracy to some limited degree and maybe Russia too. Now we need a good, accurate gauge to tell the difference. It isn't that obvious (anymore), on the first look.

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  • 3 weeks later...

And so, with a number of developments in part due to the epidemics situation one can find the answer to the question, already with a certain level of confidence: no. No, Canada cannot be viewed as a fully functional contemporary democracy in this, 21st century.

A functional democracy in this century is more than a tradition (and / or routine) of pushing a button every so often and dressing governors in democratic robes. It must also include: accurate, objective and independent sources of information; responsible to the citizens and transparent government, at all levels; and the ability of the citizens to effect necessary and meaningful changes. By these factors, as has and is being observed:

- objective and independent media: limited

- responsible and transparent government: between elections, very limited to non existent

- ability to effect change: close to non existent

The working and effectiveness of democratic institutions has to be measured by the results delivered to the citizens, that is, improving services and prevented mishaps and failures, rather than belated apologies and compensations at taxpayer's expense. The assumption of a leading role and an example in democratic development is misguided that is easily noticed by others; we should take a hard look at ourselves, our democracy and institutions, and bring them up to the level of the time and challenges before striving to lead others.

 

Edited by myata
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We are 100% a weak democracy. And I'm not sure that one could point at free and fair elections as the salient feature to buttress a claim that Canada is a democracy, I mean sure a free and fair election is absolutely a critical component to a democracy. But there seems to be something that I see being consistently left out of the conversation surrounding democracy. An engaged and politically informed citizenry.

The last time that half of the population even voted was in 1993. That's the highest that we have set the bar in 27 years. The bar is on the floor. Sure the constitution allows us the right to speak free, but were not fully using that right are we? We seem to forget that troubleshooting any circumstance is at least a 3 phase process. Phase 1: identify the issue (we are great at this part no doubt, complaining is our forte) Phase 2: Collaborate on solutions/Brain storm (were meh on the visionary stage, we prefer to yell and divide becoming further entrenched along the way) Phase 3: Action (Plain and simple think first then proceed).

Now the reason we are great at phase one is because its oh so easy. Phase two requires real work, working through difference's and maligned agendas. But phase 3 is of the utmost importance and no voting does not count as action that's just a prerequisite like breathing.

See self governance means that we as citizens have to play an active role and it is your/my responsibility to uphold freedom, it requires vigilance and it requires a real response like for example running for office (any citizen is entitled to do so). 

The death of democracy is apathy and the seeds of tyranny are sown by the other cheek.     

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On 2/24/2021 at 1:50 PM, myata said:

This pandemic situation brought and continues to bring revelations.....

The most profound revelation is that if one as much as farts in one corner of the world, the stench may one day affect everyone no matter where they are.

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For the latest proof of incapacity to effect change see the resignation today of Lt.Col. Eleanor Taylor. Decades of high-level chat about change did very little to nothing to change anything in reality.

An entrenched bureaucracy that is tasked with reforming itself is nonsense wrapped in a sad joke. And we're bound see it over and over again because in one hundred and fifty years we haven't created anything else.

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1 hour ago, cougar said:

The most profound revelation is that if one as much as farts in one corner of the world, the stench may one day affect everyone no matter where they are.

Taiwan is as near to the source as can be, with ten Covid deaths (not thousands) in total and the population of 23.6 million. Maybe that revelation was too general?

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23 hours ago, myata said:

Taiwan is as near to the source as can be, with ten Covid deaths (not thousands) in total and the population of 23.6 million. Maybe that revelation was too general?

This revelation is not relevant to the point I want to make.  There were single cases in one area in China, possibly stemming from a single case.  One year later, every continent and every or just about every country and region are affected!

This is the important revelation to keep in mind with what we are doing to this Planet - climate, pollution, wildlife and forest decimation.

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11 hours ago, cougar said:

This is the important revelation to keep in mind with what we are doing to this Planet - climate, pollution, wildlife and forest decimation.

I have no argument with that, the point I was trying to is that much depends on who is "we" and what "we" are doing, and how.

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On 2/24/2021 at 1:50 PM, myata said:

The title of the topic had to be updated. This pandemic situation brought and continues to bring revelations and in my honest and personal view they can no longer be discounted as isolated and unrelated events. To me it looks very much as a pattern.

Just when we thought that we heard it all (and I'll save everybody repeating) here it comes. Direct from Ontario Chief of vaccine task force Ret. Gen.

Seriously, could it have been formulated more succinctly and informatively?

The governments of the United States and the UK gave their citizens exact target dates of completion of the national vaccination. No, not the beginning of booking with unknown wait times that consumers of public health have grown used to. Israel is over half way to completion. And Ontario?

Asked when the general population under 60 will be able to book their vaccinations, the answer was, and I quote: "A great question WE don't need to answer it right now. Early summer is when WE MIGHT be able to discuss THAT issue" (highlight M.).

Here, an instant history. Should go in the books, and I sincerely hope that it will.

How could it be said more clearly? WE decide what we need to answer and when, and who do you think you are here? Yes you have only one right here: to keep those taxes coming for our salaries and our pensions. Did you think it was some kind of democracy? Seriously?

The general stated that it will take one month to vaccinate those between ages of 65 and 70, and the same for 60 to 65. Statistics tell us that each category counts less than one million of Ontario citizens. The US vaccinates 1.4 million DAILY.

But the task still looks too fierce and must be for that reason that the task force intends to make full use of private help. Who will ensure fairness of distribution in this case? That scarce resource won't go to CEO and member of the board with the remote family? That it wouldn't be shipped overseas at 100x the price, courtesy of Canadian taxpayers? Don't worry. The same famous bureaucracy that proudly promises to do less in a month than others do in a day will make it happen. Just watch it.

Honestly, I was concerned when we'll be getting here. But looks like we already arrived. And the only question I'd like to ask is, how we would have found out, if it weren't for this epidemics? Would we even care, to know?

 

BC has posted dates for vaccinations - my date is mid-April.

In a democracy, people are elected to lead for some particular period of time.  Everybody has a different idea of what is the "best" to do in any situation and there are always malcontents. Concluding that democracy doesn't exist because your particular ideas aren't at the forefront of the government action plan is hyperbolic, to say the least.

Just because the US and UK have done things differently also doesn't mean democracy is dead in Canada.  Different countries, different cultures, different population densities, different vaccine providers, different standards for vaccine approval, even different terrain can affect how vaccination logistics are approached and solved.

I generally think Canada probably could have done better, but that doesn't mean we, or our leaders, have failed in some horrible way.  We're still far ahead of most countries in terms of vaccine rollout and overall deaths.  

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14 minutes ago, dialamah said:

I generally think Canada probably could have done better, but that doesn't mean we, or our leaders, have failed in some horrible way.  We're still far ahead of most countries in terms of vaccine rollout and overall deaths.  

You disagree that given the situation and in a functional democracy a leader elected or appointed to execute certain critical task would either a) never make such or similar statements or b) assume full responsibility immediately and resign?

A monarch on the other hand, could do otherwise or anything they like. Yet again we're talking about actual factual manifestations rather than opinions or interpretations.

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6 minutes ago, myata said:

You disagree that given the situation and in a functional democracy a leader elected or appointed to execute certain critical task would either a) never make such or similar statements or b) assume full responsibility immediately and resign?

Every country has had citizen complain that their leadership screwed up, lied, or misled the people.  Did anyone resign as a result?   Can you imagine mass resignations and subsequent elections happening around the world during the pandemic because "some" people think their government did it wrong?  

Most Canadians agree that Canada has had reasonably good leadership throughout the pandemic, even if "could have better" is acknowledged.  What kind of democracy would it be if a minority of malcontents forced elections for everything they didn't happen to like? 

14 minutes ago, myata said:

A monarch on the other hand, could do otherwise or anything they like. Yet again we're talking about actual factual manifestations rather than opinions or interpretations.

I don't understand this comment.  

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37 minutes ago, dialamah said:

We're still far ahead of most countries in terms of vaccine rollout and overall deaths.  

Which are those most countries we're far ahead of? Shouldn't we know them by now? Maybe Tanzania? Or Ukraine? Let's see:

Israel (population ~ 10 million) plans to complete vaccination by end of this month.

Australia has a very low Covid impact (less than one thousand)

New Zealand has an extremely low Covid impact (26 - not thousands)

The US (population over 300 million) plans universal availability of vaccine by May, 1st.

UK vaccinated over 25 million, as of now.

The population of EU 450 million, entirely different league.

Switzerland (not EU) vaccinated over 60% of the elderly population 80 and above

Japan (population ~130 million): less than a half of Canada's Covid deaths (population ~30 million)

South Korea and Taiwan: much less.

Did we just travel around the globe? So where are those democratic, non-third-world countries "we're still far ahead of"? Do they exist?

And isn't a (big) part of the problem is this propensity to live in a dream, in near-complete abstraction from the reality around?

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