The Democratic Process
Winston Churchill: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others." http://t.co/AJSU2Lb9el – Whatever democracy means
— Independents (@Independents) October 4, 2015
“Democracy” has become a “code word” for everything’s okay. We live in a democracy. There are many different kinds of democracies. They function differently. Canada has a “first past the post” system. Other countries may have some form or proportional representation. My point is a simple one. Whatever form of democracy a country has, that form is one of many different flavors of democracy in the democratic process.
Don’t ever confuse “democracy” with “freedom”
As I have previously written: democracy is an expression of “who and how the coercive power of government is exercised”. It is NOT the same as freedom! Because, democracy is NOT the same as freedom, many countries (Canada included) have a Charter of Rights for individuals. This is because there are aspects of the human experience that are so fundamental that their existence cannot be subject to the whims of a political majority.
What follows is an old article I wrote exploring he relationship between liberty and democracy and why a Charter of Rights is necessary to protect political minorities.
Canada is a country that includes democratic rights in its Charter of Rights
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is an interesting document. You can read it here. Section 3 of the Charter reads as follows:
Democratic rights of citizens
3.Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.
This appears to give all Canadian citizens the right to vote and the right to run for election.
The effect of the inclusion of these principles in the Charter of Rights is that any governmental law or practice that prevents one from voting or running for public office would violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (Note that this is all subject to the “reasonable limits” clause of S. 1 of the Charter.)
Note that the Charter of Rights provides minimum standards for governments to meet. It does not mean that people in addition to Canadian citizens (permanent residents for example) could or should not be allowed to vote.)
What are the ESSENTIALS? What characteristics must all the different forms of democracies have?
It seems to me that the necessary conditions for a democracy (functioning or not) include:
- The members of the political community must be allowed to vote
- The political community should be defined in a manner that includes all the relevant stakeholders. This is a less a question of: “who should be allowed to vote?” It is more a question of: “Who can be excluded from voting?”
- All members of the political community should be allowed to run for public office AND the requirements for appearing on the ballot should not be too onerous or discriminatory.
- Those who are eligible to vote, should be able to learn about and communicate with their candidates.
- Those who are candidates should have an equal right to the forums and venues that form part of the “elections environment” (debates, for example).
- The electoral process should NOT operate in a manner which discriminates for or against any political party or in favor of political parties in general.
- All debates should be ALL candidates debates and ALL candidates should appear in those debates.
I will leave detailed analysis of the above points for future posts. The purpose of this post is to discuss the problem of “All” Candidate’s debates. Let’s look at some of what is happening:
Newmarket Chamber of Commerce adopts policy that excludes Progressive Canadian candidate Dorian Baxter from an “All” Candidates debate
A synopsis of the exclusion includes:
The Newmarket Chamber under the leadership of Debra Scott has trampled on the “Democratic Rights” of the Newmarket/Aurora constituents (bought by the shed blood of our veterans) by fabricating a new “Debate Policy” designed to exclude only myself from their debate this Tuesday!!!
To counter this violation of democracy a truly “Democratic Debate” has been arranged simultaneously to the “Undemocratic Debate” devised by the Chamber!
The “Democratic Debate” is truly an “All Candidates Debate” (ALL FIVE CANDIDATES ARE INVITED) and is being Moderated by York Region’s own “Diane Humenuik” (Past Regional Councillor for many years)!!!
It will be held at the Newmarket Royal Canadian Legion, 707 Srigley Street from 7-9pm this Tuesday October 6th., 2015 in direct conflict with the Chamber’s “Undemocratic Debate”… it is also going to be “live-streamed” and directed to over 30,000 people in the Electoral District of Newmarket/Aurora
…it is hoped you & many others will will plan to attend to “Stand On Guard For Canadian Democracy” smile emoticon Let us “Ever Remember that DEMOCRACY DENIED IS DEMOCRACY DESTROYED!!!”
Also, a reminder that two days later (Thursday October 8th., 2015) you are invited to my “Dorian For Defence of Democracy” Wine and Cheese Fund Raiser at MADSEN’S Greenhouses (160 Bayview Pkway, Newmarket) from 7-11pm…the Van Rosi Band will be there to entertain and “Yes…Elvis Will Be In The Building!!!”…I do hope to see you there!!!
Sincerely in “progressive Canadianism”,
— Independents (@Independents) October 6, 2015
Here is the link for the live stream taking place tomorrow night featuring Candidates from Newmarket/Aurora http://t.co/0NWdOQxlp5
— Dorian Baxter (@votedorian) October 5, 2015
Conservative Party of Canada appears to discourage their candidates from participating in “All” Candidates debates
Why are Conservatives missing ALL candidates debates? You call this democracy? http://t.co/ybsxykuYe0
— Independents (@Independents) October 6, 2015