Canadian Democracy Its Strengths and Weaknesses

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“The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to come from within”. (Gandhi) A lawful and fair democracy is one that represents the people, where the will of the people is done not where the government’s will is enforced. Here in Canada we believe a democratic government is well suited for its people but like any other system it has its flaws. This country was a model democracy. Canada’s wealth, respect for legal, human and civil rights almost promises that this country has the potential to uphold a legitimate democracy. Reading headlines today concerning the state of democracy in Canada we can see how our political system is slipping. A democracy should uphold the rights of its people rather than the rights of a sovereign to rule. Throughout this paper the strengths and weakness of Canadian democracy will be discussed. The first issue of discussion will be the state of Canadian democracy and current events of politics in Canada today. After that, points on the Prime Minister and also the electoral system will be made. Finally the last points of discussion will be the Canadian Charter of rights, judges in the parliament and the effect of the media on Canadian Democracy. To begin, the word democracy itself has no single agreed definition. There are three especially useful models of democracy which are especially useful when analysing Canadian democracy they are representative, direct/ plebiscitary and deliberative democracy. They are similar in that they are ruled by the people, probity, equality, and rule of law/ due process. Some differences are the conceptions of society, political philosophy, decision-making rules and proper and possible public involvement in governing (Forms of Democracy, White, 2008). Direct democracy is the model of democracy we use in Canada today. The central ideas behinds direct democracy is it has a strong desire for genuine public participation in important government decisions. It is highly majoritarian and there is normally a populist distrust of elites (Direct Democracy, White, 2008). Unlike deliberative democracy it is more vote centric than talk centric. In an overall examination of current events in politics of Canada today, it is easy to say increasing complexity, decreasing legitimacy and misconduct of politicians occur without complete exposure to the public and proper consequences. Politicians today continuously ignore the will of the people and parties. Scandals engulf the country we live in from the police force distorting a federal election to the parliament becoming incapable of carrying out its responsibilities. No one individual is the cause of this. When Pierre Trudeau referred to his backbenchers as “trained seals” and “nobodies” and started to remove power from the Parliament and into his own, Canada began to look more authoritarian after this (Wheelwright). It is now more that ever easy to move from citizen to head of state an example of this is David Emerson who completely ridiculed the electoral process, a former forestry executive and Paul Martin’s ministers, ran for a rare winter re-election in 2006, in Vancouver and won as a Liberal. This occurred only a few weeks after promising to be Stephen Harper’s “worst nightmare”. (Traves) Parliament is completely dysfunctional. It is so easy to keep Parliament unaware of what the leaders are really up too, an example of this is millions of Quebec sponsorship dollars moving from treasury to Prime Minister Chrétien’s office. When Chrétien was Prime Minister, cabinets became less important, now Stephen Harper has taken this further by keeping ministers quiet when hard questions are asked and making them anonymous. These developments tell us about the quality of Canadian politics and the need for renewal in leadership and ideas. A lot of concern was shown when the voter turnout fell to 61.2 percent in the 2000 federal election, this was the lowest at the time. The blame fell on the Liberal Party and...
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