One of many cross-country protests against the proroguing of parliament.
perhaps your southern neighbours could invade and restore democracy!
Tom, I am a relative newcomer to Canada, and I would be much obliged if somebody would explain to me the reason for these protests.
I understand the outrage over last year’s proroguement — the Governor-General, an unelected appointee of the hereditary monarch who personally owns 90% of the land in Canada and to whom its citizens are required to swear undying fealty — revealed herself to wield actual political power in her own right (rather than being simply a figurehead) by intervening on behalf of one political party (Harper’s Conservatives) to prorogue the parliament while Steve&Co. cooked up a PR campaign to smash the burgeoning Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition. It was plainly — some might say breathtakingly — anti-democratic and regressive for the inbred descendant of medieval warlords to exercise her hereditary powers to so directly undermine the democratic process of a state in the Commonwealth.
This year’s proroguement… not so much. I mean, is this a beef about MPs getting paid to only work 9 months out of the year? Does this somehow shift the balance of power to the incumbent government? How? I truly don’t get it.
I think there are three main strands that came together in last weekend’s protests:
War – the perception that the government is trying to side-step responsibility for sending Afghan detainees to torture.
Democracy – The government here can do a lot of work without passing laws – not sure how it compares to the US, if that’s where you are from, but cabinet can do a lot, and budgetary initiatives don’t need laws. So for all that people view question period as a bit of a joke, it’s also one of the main ways in which opposition parties can do a bit to raise issues the government doesn’t want to talk about, and to demand some accountability.
Cynicism – your “MPs getting paid to work only 9 months” issue.
I hope that the cynical component is small, and mainly just convenient for placards, but who knows? I would like to think that war is the big issue, and that there will be continuing pressure on the government for an inquiry into the torture allegations. But I suspect that democracy is the big motivator.
That’s how it looks to me anyway, but I don’t have a really wide set of contacts, so it’s a personal view.
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