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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A Crooked Politician's Greatest Fear Is An Engaged Citizen

Those who just finished watching Rob Ford's denouement can attest to this, but I'm sure that there are other Mayors and politicians all around the country (and globe) cursing Democracy under their breath at the moment -- And by 'Democracy' I mean the right of the citizen to stand and challenge their leaders and hold them accountable for their actions.

Of course, to listen to the critics, the citizen responsible for Ford's downfall is nothing short of a political assassin. How dare he bring about 'lawfare' to attack a man who brazenly broke the law and hold him accountable for his actions?

Not 'How stupid could Rob Ford, this person we trusted to lead us, be?' or 'After 10 years, how could he not have read the basic rules of his job?' or 'Why did he ignore all the advice from his political allies and friends?'

No, instead it's the citizen who slew the giant that's at fault. 

And then it's all: How DARE they? Those citizens! Those simpletons! Can't they understand how the rules can't possibly be applied to [insert politician's name here]?

Or it's the "bad" law's fault.

(Incidentally, the same "bad" law that's been on the books for HOW long now that no other mayor has had any problem with?)

If there's one common theme in all of the political rancor that I've been following it's how indifferent our leaders have become to the rules and laws that govern them - or, in some cases, the blatant, bull-headed assertions that somehow they shouldn't be held accountable for their actions.

Those same laws that they so boldly swore to uphold when they took office and the public's trust.

The reality of the situation is that a good number of our leaders have squandered that trust - have played on our good natures or our busy lives so that they might have their cake and eat it too.

But we're catching on.  We're waking up to their shell game.

You know, one of the things that I really loved about Occupy was that at the very heart of the movement was this:

The power is in your hands.

The time for waiting for permission; for others to tell you that it's okay to demand better of your ersatz 'leaders', is over.

You are the arbiter of your nation's fate.

If nothing else, I believe that it was the one sentiment truly driven home by Occupy -- and, I would contend, that it's the one thing that's continued to fester and grow beneath the skins of decent, hard-working people.

In fact, a recent Samara poll has shown that only 55% of Canadians believe that "Democracy is working well in Canada", down from 75% in 2004. (Where will number sit in 2015, I wonder?)

Now, unfortunately, we don't know if that has been a steady decline or if our nation's fallen off of a 'Confidence Cliff' in regards to our leaders... either way it doesn't bode well.

For our Government.

See, when things are going well everyone's happy to not rock the boat.  But things aren't going well.

Our Prime Minister is slashing jobs and keeping secrets and aiding in the trashing of our National Environment -- and then there's that whole nagging question of whether or not the last election was legitimate.

(And that's just off the top of my head).

The murmur of frustration is growing again, especially as our PM prepares to ram through yet another Omnibus budget bill -- this one clocking in at 457 pages.

But the question remains: What will we do about it?


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