History doesn't exclusively disappear through a sword, a bomb, or a mallet. It can as easily be brought about through a lack of attention to detail as it can through explosives. The affluent countries of the West are showing disturbing signs of neglect for values that once were sacred to how they worked.
Unlike the iron fist of communism, capitalism's incidents of harm (recall the mugging in Central Park) result not from government oppression but from the nature of freedom itself. Misguided newspaper columns notwithstanding, in theory, practice and historical record, between capitalism and communism, there's no comparison.
Conservative MPs had an historic, unprecedented chance to throw off their chains and empower themselves and all MPs, and political party riding associations, to represent voters. Instead, they changed the Reform Act to the "Hope for Reform Act," essentially giving up the chance to limit party leaders' powers.
A committee of MPs is considering important and unprecedented changes that will either restrict the power of federal party leaders and empower MPs to represent voters, or not, and will also either make MPs much more accountable for their conduct, or not. What the committee decides will reveal a lot about the state of democracy in Canada.
The way tensions between pipeline opponents and Kinder Morgan contractors have escalated during the last week should come as a surprise to no one. The mishandling of the National Energy Board review of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain oil pipeline and tanker proposal has created the conditions for the situation now unfolding on the mountainside.
Surrey needs to return to the ward system. A candidate doesn't need thousands of dollars to run a city-wide campaign or to seek the nomination of a political slate. Independents would have a good chance of getting elected. This is because the elections would be held in smaller neighbourhood districts or wards. This would give Surrey the same representation as Vancouver -- which is more than appropriate considering the growing size and stature of Surrey.
A rule that has an unclear or ridiculous purpose is, on its face, unfair. A rule that cannot possibly achieve its purpose is pointless. A rule that has more negative than positive effects is unfair and undemocratic. Discipline or punishment that does not address the behaviour it purports to correct is tyrannical.
China's recent ruthlessness has shocked many including Emily Lau, a long-standing Member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council. In a recent interview, she said: "These demands are modest and reasonable and protesters are peaceful. There is no compromise. The ball is now in China's court. Promises were made."
The Ontario Provincial government is working on their promise to allow municipalities to use Ranked Ballots in the 2018 elections 'as an option' which would be a timid step in the right direction. However, Toronto Mayoral lead Candidate John Tory is opposed to the idea and yet, that doesn't seem to have an impact on his polling numbers.
Is any of this relevant almost three years later? Yes, because mini-versions of the Quebec protests still play out on Canadian campuses. They may not be about tuition, and their ideological bent could be left or right. But too often when students organize around political causes they take on the same unsavory tones that reject dissent and make straw men of opposing arguments.
One of the important figures in the democratic movement in Hong Kong is Joseph Cardinal Zen, the retired Catholic Bishop of Hong Kong. Cardinal Zen, aged 82, attended the recent demonstrations. He told Reuters that "It's high time that we really showed that we want to be free and not to be slaves...we must unite together."
It is not too late to exercise your democratic rights and voice your opinions. I may not be old enough to vote in the polls yet, but I am definitely old enough to vote at the cash register. I have also had the honour and privilege to speak with thousands and thousands of people across Canada about GMOs, and it's pretty clear.
Canadian charities are experiencing an "advocacy chill" and changing the way they go about their work as a result of what they say is "bullying" by the Harper Conservative government. My just completed Master's thesis research finds that the denunciatory rhetoric of government ministers against charities, followed by stepped up audits is having its toll not only on charity operations, but also on the strength of Canada's public discussions and thus on the vigor of democracy itself.
A pipeline to carry diluent from the coast to the tar sands to dilute bitumen that would then be carried back to the coast in another pipeline for export to world markets in supertankers does not have a "sufficiently direct connection" to the tar sands? And the impacts of the tar sands and its products on climate are not relevant to the project that makes these impacts possible? What the hell? This project should never go ahead.
Why can't the premier and the leader of the opposition demand that their MLAs refrain from heckling, name-calling, inane repetition and unnecessarily charged language? That would at least bring them up to the level of civility expected in any fifth grade classroom. Maybe we can turn question period into something worthy of attendance.
In Norway, 1814 is known by many as "The Year of Miracles" because of the huge national and political changes that suddenly and rapidly took place that year. 1814 is the starting point for modern Norwegian democracy. It had both a national and a democratic element: independence for the state of Norway and liberty for Norwegian citizens