A few days ago, I received in my mailbox, a document from my MP, Conservative Blaine Calkins, outlining the many beneficial pieces of legislation passed by his majority government in the past sitting of Parliament. The pages were large, the print was large: it was an impressive missive.
Many of the new laws recorded on the front page of the brochure dealt with economic matters — mainly how wealthy we are because of our current government, and how our wealth would be protected from decline by that same government. It was a catalogue for the well off.
My concern is not with the individual matters dealt with in the legislative enactments recorded. As we all know, a majority government can enact whatever laws it likes, without fear of any serious delay by an opposition.
What is troubling to me, and hopefully to many other Canadians, is the manner in which such legislation is presented. The bulk of the bills dealing with economic matters were hidden in the omnibus budget bill. The matters dealing with public safety are buried within the omnibus crime bill, two massive pieces of legislation presented by the Harper government. Each of these bills ran to hundreds of pages. The bills were presented ‘as is’ — without breaking them down for discussion.
What this means is that most of the legislation that Calkins mentions was never presented separately to the House, and was thus never subject to questioning or amendment in an orderly fashion.
Parliament, in a democratic society, is the forum in which legislation is to be presented, explained and discussed, so that queries may be raised, objections recorded, and amendments proposed. When legislation is presented in omnibus fashion, the democratic process is bypassed, and democratic intentions are thwarted.
It seems clear from this strategy that the Harper government, of which Calkins is a proud member, is moving in an anti-democratic manner to limit and even remove the rights of Canadians to understand and critique upcoming legislation. As Harper and Co. remove pillar after pillar of the democratic state, we all move inexorably toward a state of government much closer to oligarchy than democracy. Oligarchy is the system that currently prevails in Russia.
I am convinced that many people enamoured of Harper and government, remain blissfully unaware that they are being led down a path away from democracy, being seduced and distracted by the tune “We’ll make sure you stay wealthy. …”
One day, a majority of Canadians will wake up to find their democracy so seriously eroded that it will be non-functional. Unfortunately, if we doze too long, we will lose our country as we know it. That is happening right now, before our eyes.