All posts tagged Michael Chong

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

Has the federal government’s ethics program failed?

As 2013 comes to a close, it is  time to take stock of the state of the federal government. It  has been a year of years, with the Senate Scandal dominating. It wasn’t the only story involving dodgy ethics, either. Former Justice Canada lawyer Edgar Schmidt was pushed out of the Department for challenging a policy which lets the Conservative government propose any law unless a legal analysis shows a 95% chance that it will be ruled unconstitutional. Sylvie Therrien was fired for speaking out against an unethical government policy in which EI auditors were given quotas (see our earlier post on this).  There are more, simmering below the surface, either pushed aside by bigger stories.   or they have  become so routine that the media barely notices them anymore.

For those of us at Canadians for Accountability, this is a serious issue that goes beyond mere occasional scandal. Is the government ethics program a failure?

When unethical behaviour is unchecked – and even rewarded, for example with promotions – administrative evil is the result. Canada has seen its share in residential schools and eugenics programs (which Alberta had until 1972).

Fighting this tendency is a challenge as old as government.… Read the rest