Aug. 20, 2021

Farewell to democracy - Part II

We failed to value a free democracy until we no longer have it. We can repair our system and restore democracy, but not until we understand what has gone wrong and what needs to change.  
Political parties use donations to hire public relations firms, strategists and pollsters to guide their messaging between and during elections. They ignore the needs, opinions, views, and wishes of the people they claim to represent and serve.

Policy decisions are made by unelected party executives using advice from the experts they hire with some input from senior MPs fixated on winning the next election.
Candidates and elected members undergo background checks looking for any flaw, no matter how trivial, they can make public to intimate the person is unfit for office. Few of us could undergo similar scrutiny and remain unscathed. That drives many qualified people away from politics. They do not want to risk a damaging political smear that involves family and community.
Many candidates for election come forward because they believe in the principles that the party espouses. They have no difficulty in swearing allegiance to the party they favour. Once elected, they discover that policies are an advertising brochure not taken seriously by those who run the party.
Neophytes are paired with an experienced MP who schools them in “this is the way it is” in real politics. The party hold on its MPs is gradually solidified. They may not oppose party initiatives or policies without being driven from the party fold. The needs and views of the constituents in the electoral district are ignored.
The role of the opposition is to propose better solutions to problems, not to oppose anything the government offers. Critics are a dime a dozen; problems solvers invaluable. The argument that the government will adopt opposition amendments and claim them as their own doesn’t wash. The objective is to provide better governance to Canada. Partisan infighting destroys good governance.
The key to restoring democracy is to remove the Privy Council from the Prime Minister’s realm to the Governor General’s realm following our constitution sections nine through sixteen. Section 11 reads:
There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the Government of Canada, to be styled the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada; and the Persons who are to be Members of that Council shall be from Time to Time chosen and summoned by the Governor General and sworn in as Privy Councillors, and Members thereof may be from Time to Time removed by the Governor General.
Restoring the Privy Council to the Governor General’s realm is critical. The Privy Council must be politically neutral and made up of government members, opposition members and other persons the Governor General chooses to provide her with sound advice on policies and issues.  
The Trudeau government has tried to apply Privy Council confidentiality to decisions of the Cabinet, but cabinet confidentiality can be challenged in court. A judge can decide to release all or part of the documentation if it is in the public interest.
The Chief Clerk of the Privy Council is the Head of the Civil service and must be politically neutral. The civil service must be politically neutral and ready to serve whatever government the people elect.
All appointments and promotions in a neutral civil service must be merit-based without considering seniority or language factors. The Official Languages Commissioner cannot override the authority of the Privy Council Clerk.
Efforts to turn the equality of our official languages into equality of political power must end. Residents of Quebec cannot dictate terms to 88% of non-residents. Requiring senior civil servants to be bilingual is inane. Residents do not have access to senior civil servants. They consider appeals or arguments from a resident and report from the department or agency in writing. If the dispute is referred to a court, transcriptions will be, by law, in both official languages.
The Privy Council was moved to the Prime Minister’s realm by Prime Minister Mackenzie King using an Order in Council, 1940 – 1121. PM King held that  Canada was at war at the time, and he needed the manpower of the Privy Council to carry out the war effort, as his Cabinet was overwhelmed.  
The 1940 Order in Council gave the Prime Minister’s Office virtual executive powers in contravention of our constitution. We are a constitutional monarchy, and we must strictly adhere to the powers of the executive, federal government, and provinces set out therein.

Many of our problems arise through people in power disregarding and disrespecting the primary law of Canada.