Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Canada's Chief Electoral Officer: A Disgruntled Democrat?

In reaction to a government bill that would prevent Canada's Chief Electoral Officer, Marc Mayrand, from speaking publicly about the quality of Canada's Electoral System, he went on record to state:
"I'm not aware of any electoral bodies around the world who can not talk about democracy" and that "my reading of the act is that I can no longer speak about democracy in this country."
In other words, it seems that Mr. Mayrand is about to have his administrative balls removed with surgical precision.

I guess I would also be feeling pretty disgruntled if I were about to have my balls lopped off in the guise of making Canada's elections fairer.

But then again, I can't remember ever hearing Mr. Mayrand speak about democracy in Canada, which isn't all that surprising since Canada is not a democratic country by any stretch of the imagination.

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In theory and in practice, Canada is a constitutional monarchy.  This means that Canada has both a written and unwritten constitution that allows for the Prime Minister to exercise, for all intents and purposes, the powers of the monarch, Canada's Head of State, Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Indeed, the Prime Minister is chosen by the Governor General, and the office usually goes to the leader of the political party that wins the most seats during the general election, not to the leader of the party that garners the most votes.

In fact, within his or her Royal Prerogatives, the Prime Minister has the privilege to form a cabinet of ministers, name the Supreme Court justices, and to place, at his or her discretion, the people who will represent the provinces in the Senate.

Moreover, the Prime Minister Of Canada can even declare war without the consent of Parliament.

Honestly now, do you think any democratic nation would delegate the power to declare war to any one person?


Yet, Canada, for all its insistence on being a democratic state, has never gotten around to correcting this anomaly.

Again, this isn't all that surprising because the vast majority of Canadians are quite comfortable with our system of "responsible" government and couldn't give a rat's ass for the principles of democracy.

In my opinion, given our electoral system, the primary function of the Chief Electoral Officer is to run what a constitutional monarchy really desires: a contested vote exchange that gives to the winner of the electoral contest the spoils of victory, the powers of the monarch.

Democracy is what some people aspire to and are vigilant to protect.

Sad but true, Canadians are very content with their form of responsible government.


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