Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chamber of Sober Second Chances

Harper's reappointment of two failed candidates to the Senate calls for a police investigation.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s quick reappointment to the Senate of two senators who resigned to run for the Conservatives in the recent federal election raises serious questions about whether the senators were guaranteed in advance that they would be reappointed if they lost the election.

Larry Smith and Fabian Manning had resigned from the Senate to run in the May 2 election, but both lost. A third Senate appointee, Josée Verner, is a former Tory cabinet minister who lost her seat to the NDP.

Section 119 of the Criminal Code prohibits anyone from offering, and any MP or senator from accepting, “any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done … by them in their official capacity.” And Section 124 prohibits resignations, or appointing people to offices for a reward or profit.

Got Senate reform if you want it

three possible explanations for Stephen Harper’s feckless approach to the Senate. Two speak to his long term strategic goals:

1. He hopes to spur real reform to make the Senate a more effective and legitimate federal institution.


2. He doesn’t want reform. What wants is to exacerbate and accelerate the decline of federal institutions, in order to further undermine Ottawa’s legitimacy in the eyes of Canadians.

But there’s a third possibility, which is that

3. For Harper,  Senate reform is just a tactical device designed to placate his base, enrage the opposition, and titillate the media.

Stability. Continuity. Cynicism.

In appointing his Coalition of Losers to the Senate Wednesday, Harper managed to insult voters in two provinces, provoke a backlash inside his own party, overshadow his own cabinet announcement, give the back of his hand to the Ottawa press gallery and exhibit his disdain for Parliament.

In becoming the first prime minister since the 19th century to reappoint senators after they lost elections, he managed to draw fire from Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and his Nova Scotia counterpart, Darrell Dexter.

Harper's Senate picks turn off Canadians: Layton

The naming of defeated Conservative candidates to the Senate just two weeks after the election is part of what's turning people off about Ottawa, NDP Leader Jack Layton said Wednesday.

Layton attacked Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who nominated three losing Tories — including two former senators who had already stepped down from the Upper Chamber to run.

There oughtta be a law

There is no appointment to the Senate that sits well with me. The patronage chamber is an affront to democracy no matter who gets to ride its gravy train. But to appoint individuals who have only just been rejected by the voters in an election, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper did today, compounds the insult.

PM draws heavy fire for naming defeated Tories to Senate

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has appointed three defeated Conservative candidates to the Senate, two of whom gave up their seats in the Red Chamber at the start of the election so they could run for office.