No 162 Posted by fw, April 27, 2011
“Much of our undemocratic condition was a result of the power hoarding of prime ministers who came before Harper, says Peter Russell, the University of Toronto professor emeritus who has studied prime ministerial power since the 1950s. But if our democratic health was bad then, Russell says, it’s now worse — much worse — after Harper’s five years in power. ‘Harper is on a course towards a very authoritarian populist government appealing over the heads of Parliament to the people with an enormous public-relations machine. The appeal is to the less educated and less sophisticated parts of society.’ What is being fashioned, says Russell, is a presidential prime ministership without a powerful legislative branch to keep it in check.” Lawrence Martin, The descent of democracy: A country under one man’s thumb, iPolitics, Inc.
Think of the implications for the future of our democracy if Professor Russell is right. And judging from the “less educated, less sophisticated” readers’ comments that I see submitted in response to election campaign stories in the media, can there be any doubt that he is?
Just think of what Russell is implying — Canada does not have enough “more educated and more sophisticated” voters to elect a government worth having.
Now, that’s scary. And it gives a whole new meaning to the old adage: “We get the government we deserve.”
Or is it the first past the post electoral system that’s at fault? Or a combination of the two?
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