Friday, April 6, 2012

Canada's Parliamentary Democracy in Tatters: A Nation of Disgruntled Democrats?

With this week's publication of the Auditor General's Report that shed light upon how the present government misled Parliament and the public with regard to the cost of procuring the F-35 fighter jets, the question that needs to be answered is whether Canadians have reached the tipping point in their belief about the legitimacy of their current system of governance.

For people like me that contest the constitutionality of the first-past-the-post voting method before the courts, our current system is far from being democratic.  The majority of votes are ineffective and thus discarded and, as a result, a party with less than the majority support of the electorate goes on to rule as if it had a majority.  Minority rule is profoundly undemocratic.

However, the majority of Canadians are not really concerned with whether or not they truly are engaged in self government.  As long as they can lead their little lives without too much inconvenience, the glaring irregularities that arise from time to time are just part of the political process.

Is this instance of a manifestation of a dysfunctional system of governance any different?

At first glance, the F-35 scandal demonstrates that Parliamentary Democracy no longer works.  Bureaucrats at the Department of Defense goaded by defense industry contractors misled the Defense Minister, who shows no signs of believing in ministerial responsibility, about the cost of the procurement. 

Furthermore, the big lie was never corrected in due process. 

The government was found to be in contempt of Parliament for withholding information about the real costs of replacing our aging jet fighters.  Parliament was dissolved.  A general election ensued.  The big lie was perpetuated during the electoral campaign and the Conservatives were returned to power, this time with a majority of seats despite the fact that they garnered only 38% of the popular vote.

This is not how the system should function.  Willful deceit should not carry the day.

So, I imagine a great number of Canadians are now experiencing cognitive dissonance with regard to the legitimacy of our political system.  It will remain to be seen whether this latest instance of dysfunction is enough to enable them to make the leap so they no longer feel that they are obliged to hang onto the status quo. 

Or, perhaps we will witness yet another round of motivated reasoning, otherwise known as rationalization, and this latest scandal will be written off as another case of same old, same old, let’s move on.

The discreet charm of the intelligent idiots.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments will be reviewed before posting. Civility is a must.