Bits and Bites

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Cherish democracy and honour it by voting

  Image: Cartoon by Guy Badeaux, which originally appeared in Le Droit. Used by permission.  
  Cartoon by Guy Badeaux, which originally appeared in Le Droit. Used by permission.  

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more

Image: Detail of photo of Alberte Villeuneuve-Sinclair“Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.” — Atifete Jahjaga

I recently visited The Greeks exhibition at the Museum of Civilizations (Sorry, I hate the new name). The last section I viewed was about the birth of democracy in ancient Greece. As I crossed the Alexandra Bridge and glanced at Parliament Hill, “Democracy” stuck to my mind and hasn’t left since. Aristotle, the philosopher and scientist of ancient Greece, believed that liberty and equality is “best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.”

As a Canadian citizen, I feel that right is ignored. This government does as it pleases, without consulting the electorate. Did we want a name change for our gorgeous museum? A memorial to the victims of communism? Do we want acquired services to mysteriously disappear or be drastically cut back without proper consultation? Do we want Senate appointees who have not been held accountable for their actions? Can we stand more job cuts? Do we want more dillydallying over Supreme Court rulings?

Stephen Harper, who once considered the use of omnibus bills undemocratic, has used them freely. The conservative government has passed an 880 page omnibus bill and continues to do so, an abuse considering he has a majority of seats in Parliament. So is Harper trustworthy if he condemned something and then makes free use of it to get what he wants? Is this why some of his cabinet ministers have jumped ship?

The early Greeks maintained that democracy prospers through education and information. We rely on the media for information at all levels but the Harper government has made cutbacks that will affect the quality and quantity of information provided to Canadian citizens. Democracy calls for transparency and honesty so that the people of the land can make enlightened decisions.

The Conservative government has been running vicious attack ads while hiding behind actors to deliver the message. Where is Stephen Harper, the man who doesn’t smile and doesn’t look you in the eye? My feeling is he just doesn’t care about you or me . . . at least that’s the feeling I got when I met him at a function. He doesn’t seem to openly and freely connect with people.

Maybe he has nothing to smile about! Jobs have been lost; there are now more unemployment recipients and some have stopped looking for jobs. People stuck in that predicament are selling their homes, bright young university graduates work in restaurants and stores, unable to find jobs in their chosen fields. They can’t even afford to leave home!

We are now in full election mode. This will be the longest and costliest election ever! Why? Because the Conservatives have an election budget that surpasses that of all the other parties combined. His cabinet ministers are running around their respective ridings with funding announcements galore. People forget that pledges can be revoked. We are now flirting with recession since Harper put most of his eggs in the energy sector basket. Young parents who received cheques for childcare will have to give some back at income tax time. It’s called give and take-back! When Mr. Poilièvre was asked if the latest funding announcements might be pre-election vote buying, he didn’t respond. He said it was “purely coincidental." One thing I cannot stand is MANIPULATION and if that’s not manipulation, I will eat my hat. Democracy must be genuine! No mind-control, no games . . .  no election fraud.

To encourage you to vote, let me conclude with a quote from Plato, the Greek:

“The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in government is to live under the government of worse men.”

I invite all Canadians to vote on October 19.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the August edition of Perspectives Vanier (available here in PDF format).

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