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The essence of democracy


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Double, triple and multiple time obscured and redirected systems of public governance like in this country, like to boast being a standard of democracy and a prime example to follow. Look these squeaky clean elections, pundits, the intrigue a genuine carnival of democracy for a day or a few - and then, what? What changes, what has changed? If elections make democracies, then Putin and any number of dictators are staunch democrats. Kim can be a democrat too if only he would bother. But if it's not elections, then what?

Let's see. In the original meaning, the word translates as "people power" or "people rule". If we, people actually and for real rule our affairs, then we should be getting the results we want and need, do we not? Imagine yourself ruling your place, appointing yourself budgets and resources year after year: and nothing changes. What would you call that, me-power?

Elimination of child poverty, many, who knows how many already decades: minus

Fixing permanent crisis in public health care, another wake up call from Covid: no

Growing income gap: none (and in the meanwhile the entitlement factor, MP salary  to the median in the country now at 5 and growing healthily, unlike stagnating for decades already, median income)

What else? Affordability of tuition? Good luck. Housing crunch, any clues when and how it'll be relieved if? Unemployment is low, but what is happening with stable, well paying jobs with good benefits?

We have a quasi-majority government well into its second mandate, an equivalent of near-absolute monarchy for all that matters, that's been talking non stop about climate action, but what has actually been achieved, the result, the number? What is the reduction now, and what will it be by the end of the second mandate?

See what I mean? We wrote "democracy" on our facade but does it really translate to the same, "people power"?

There are reasons why it does not, no longer or ever, cannot tell not an expert here. A democratic government in the true sense of the word is not a pretty and fancy facade. It is an instrument that helps people manage their public matters in the way that a) transparent b) clear and understandable and c) effective in achieving what they, people need, and not the instrument. That translates to only a short list of essential components:

  • People are always, at all times in the full knowledge of what is happening in their public matters
  • They can always, at all times evaluate how effective the management and their appointed managers are
  • And they can always and at all times correct or replace ineffective management of their, public matters.

And again: No; No; Resounding no. We cannot know, have no information nor means to evaluate and few if any working mechanisms to correct and / or replace. And so, where's the surprise that the system came to like itself and invented itself a great number of ways and tricks to take care of itself? Information you asked? No sorry, "ministerial prerogative" and you thought what, yours? MP salary is tied to rises in some carefully selected contracts, because they proclaimed themselves "employees of the Crown" while you, in your democratic naivite thought that they were your representatives and as such should have at least a remote idea how life is for a regular Canadian. Can you do that, at $185K annually plus benefits and allowances? For how long? I challenge you, let's try!

No we don't have anybody but ourselves to trick here. Repeating a pretty word any number of times with any frequency won't make it any more real. The system has learned to live on its own, it likes it, and it doesn't really need you, the citizen other than for a ritual once in so many years. It was like that many times already and it's coming back to that, sure and fast. Looks like we haven't learned anything.



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