All posts tagged accountability

Time to worry about the state of our democracy

Allan Cutler

I worry about the state or ‘fate’ of democracy in our country. Slowly laws are being passed to restrict freedoms, stifle opposition, and reduce transparency. Sometimes I wonder what the Parliamentarians have in mind.

It is convenient for the governing party to reduce the power and rights of any opposition to ensure that they remain in power. However, do they not see the flip side of the coin? When they are out of office, and it will happen eventually, their ‘replacements’ will inherit these increased tools of power. As a result, they will be deprived of effective opposition by the very laws that they have passed now.

Even more importantly, do Parliamentarians not realize (or do they just not care) that their children or grandchildren will inherit this reduced freedom? As democracy erodes and power concentrates in the hands of the few, our personal freedoms are threatened.

The Elections Canada situation is a prime example and a worrying one. The underpinning of our democratic system is the belief that elections are conducted fairly. The Conservative government is reducing the ability of Elections Canada to ensure elections are fair so they can be re-elected with less opposition or challenges. Sooner or later, the Conservatives will lose the right to govern and become a party in opposition.… Read the rest

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Our 2014 Wish List

Allan Cutler

We now mark the beginning of a New Year, 2014. At this time it is worth pausing, thinking back to what was or was not achieved and looking forward with our wish list of what may or may not be achieved in the future.

Wish #1: That there will be a sincere effort to expose wrongdoing in the workplace and to protect whistleblowers.

I was recently sent a cartoon by a whistleblower. While the source of the cartoon was inadvertently left out, the caption struck a nerve. It read, “Do you realize that exposing the illegal things your government has been doing is illegal?” Unfortunately, there is more truth than fiction in this caption. We know of ‘gag orders’ that have been forced on some whistleblowers to prevent them from speaking out about wrongdoing. In fact, according to a reliable source, one of these gag orders was drafted by Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Canada (OPSIC) – the Office who should be encouraging whistleblowing.

From a whistleblowers viewpoint, OPSIC has been a dismal failure. While there is the appearance of small successes, they are few in number. There appear to be two goals in that office. First is to find a reason to reject an accusation.… Read the rest

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Veterans deserve best democracy possible

Sean Bruyea

Another Remembrance Day has come and will quickly be gone. Lest We Forget.  But we do forget. Sad because now we need to remember more than ever why so many sacrificed, both the dead and the broken who are still amongst us. They sacrificed to hold the world accountable to what are hopefully higher principles.

It seems easier to understand the reasons for a past war like WW II: fight or be conquered (or stand by idly while others are conquered). We chose to stop regimes intent on destroying those treasured values which made our system work: rule of law, democracy, fundamental freedoms, etc.

Now we have soldiers returning from wars where the enemy is often indistinguishable from those we are trying to rescue in regions of the world which may or may not share common Canadian values. Debates rage and tempers flare as to whether there are “just” wars anymore.

What is irrefutable is that soldiers believe that they are fighting to make others accountable for a failure to treat fellow humans with dignity, respect and/or fundamental human and democratic rights. That’s correct, military members are the ultimate and hopefully last tool of ensuring accountability.

We have often seen the numbers: more than 115,000 Canadian military men and women have died holding others accountable.… Read the rest

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