How we govern ourselves is the puzzle of our times. “Democracy” is the usual response, although there are plenty who seem to actually want an authoritarian state. Many of our neighbours to the south seem determined to go that route. Is this a suicide wish by the USA?
Merely the uncontrolled cost of living in all areas is creating disappointment with democratic governance. Democracy also gives us unsatisfactory candidates and, thus, unsatisfactory representatives in Parliament.
Can’t we notice that this is more the result of a broken political party system, rather than a result of “democracy”? Democratic governments have been the only ones to create lasting and helpful civic institutions – public health to public education. These are big things! Imagine our cost of living if we had private health care – “your credit card, please, not your health card!” – and, the only schooling would be indoctrinaire-religious or corporate-controlled.Supposedly, Canadians are not in need of lectures on the benefits of public health and education. But, here’s the thing: we want to blame. This is natural, unfortunately.
So, whom do we blame for today’s expensive, chaotic and deceptive government? We blame individuals and the misgoverning governments they create.
Rather than opting for authoritarian parties, shouldn’t we blame our political parties? Supposedly, the party system rationalizes the democratic process – and, finally, a democracy is the easiest to resist, easier than struggling to over-throw a totalitarian dictatorship!
We can fight the sloppy and “vendu” nature of our political parties by pledging not to vote along party lines. Parties must be opened up and themselves made democratic, not open to purchase. And, underline this, please, we don’t want a government that pretends to support all sides, as in the TransMountain Pipeline scandal, or, Chalk River’s massive radioactive dump in Pontiac’s backyard.
Citizens don’t have the money to control political parties, but we can refuse to give any party our vote. Political parties are not sports teams, despite the media. Parties must know they can’t automatically count on anyone’s votes.
We must begin by being much more careful with our ballots. So many people don’t vote at all! Voting is in our own self-interest.
Forget the old “my team, your team” approach to an election. In the end, it’s us, all Canadians, who are responsible for the governments we end up with; we are supposed to be the only source of power in a democracy – that’s our responsibility.
As we near the next election, we have got to vote as we’ve never voted before: carefully.