Rex Murphy wrote an article in today's National Post purporting to show that the Liberal claim that this election is about democracy is erroneous. However, he does not succeed.
He starts the article by showing how, according to him, the Liberals have undermined democracy in this country. That's all well and good. There are two things he misses though. Firstly, none of the actions he describes were on the same scale as those undertaken by Stephen Harper. At no time was a Liberal government found in contempt. To my knowledge, there hasn't even ever been a motion suggesting that they are. So, although neutering individual MPs might undermine democracy (and that could be debated), it is not contempt of Parliament. Therefore, the scale to which Stephen Harper has undermined the power of Parliament and our democracy is much greater. So the Liberals do have credibility on the issue, and they can claim that our government has behaved undemocratically, in contempt of Parliament and Canadians.
Secondly, Rex Murphy claims that this concern with democracy is a diversion from the central issue, the economy. While the economy is always an important issue, I would suggest that democracy will supercede it every time in importance. Why? Democracy is about the rights of all of us. These rights are more important even than the economy. Of course, that is not to say we should not have a debate around the economy during this campaign. We should. But when our democratic rights have been flouted, I am inclined to think that that issue takes precedence. It is no diversion.
This election is about democracy. That was why it was triggered: the government was found in contempt of Parliament and Canadians. Any claim to the contrary that I have seen does not stand up under scrutiny.
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Saturday, March 26, 2011
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