Not surprisingly, the New Democratic Party with help from their coalition friends, the Liberals, was apparently a major force—perhaps the force—behind the recent anti-prorogation rallies so prominently reported in the mainstream media. Browse through Rally Facts and one soon understands that the rallies were simply anti-Harper political rallies and prorogation per se had little to do with the motivation of the attendees.
Organizing political rallies is a common thing in Canada and none of us should be surprised when we hear that one or two of the mainstream parties were involved. That’s the sort of thing political parties do, especially the New Democrats.
And we should fully expect that many individuals who attend such rallies will be card-carrying members of a political party. No surprise there.
In an open and democratic society, however, one expects that those organizing political rallies will take ownership for the parts they play. When one knows who’s behind a rally, one is better able to assess motivations and biases. To encourage—perhaps direct— individual members, especially prominent ones, of political parties to organize the events as though they were officially non-partisan, is deceitful and corrodes democracy.
This brings to mind the loud protest in the visitors’ gallery of the House of Commons, which resulted in several arrests and the brief shutdown of question period last fall. Around 200 protesters chanted slogans to support Bill C-311, an NDP private member’s bill on climate change.
The demonstrators were reportedly the invited guests of one or more of the NDP’s caucus members. But before that fact was generally known, NDP caucus members denied any involvement in the demonstration itself. Perhaps the Dippers were adhering to the letter of the law, but certainly not its spirit.
And so democracy in Canada is denied another small victory and is threatened by death by a million cuts. Acts like these performed by Michael Ignatieff’s Liberal Party and Jack Layton’s New Democrats are anathema to Canadian democracy, and the CTV and CBC news services are their all too willing handmaidens.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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