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The Canadian Vindicator

A Journal of Independent Thought
Issue No. 1 August 1 2001

The title "Vindicator" has an honourable history in Canada. It was chosen as the name of a number of newspapers, most notably "The Montreal Vindicator", founded and edited by Daniel Tracey, an Irishman from Tipperary. It is the hope of the new "Canadian Vindicator", published on the World Wide Web, to uphold the principle expounded in the masthead of its pioneering namesake, "Justice to all classes; monopolies and exclusive privileges to none".

Democracy in Canada

In the spirit of preceding generations of Canadians who used the medium of print, principally newspapers and pamphlets, to foster democracy, this Internet journal, The Canadian Vindicator, is dedicated to shedding light on the state of democracy in Canada in the 21st century.

To assist this undertaking, we seek the aid of readers, first by proposing that they exercise their minds in response to the statements tabulated below. A thinking public is one of democracy’s greatest shields. If, after due thought and deliberation, that public is satisfied with the current state of affairs, let us rejoice. If the thinking public is dissatisfied, the matter takes on a different dimension.

The Prime Minister appoints all members of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Prime Minister appoints all members of the Senate of Canada.

The Prime Minister nominates, and thereby appoints, the Governor General of Canada.

The Prime Minister appoints all Ministers of the Government of Canada without statutory review by the Parliament of Canada.

The Prime Minister appoints the Governor of the Bank of Canada without statutory review by the Parliament of Canada.

The Prime Minister calls General Elections at any time as his/her personal whim dictates, save for an obligation to call one at the end of each five years in office.

The Prime Minister appoints all Canadian ambassadors and consuls without statutory review by the Parliament of Canada.

The Prime Minister appoints the chief of the Canadian Defence Forces without statutory review by the Parliament of Canada.

The Senate

Click for larger image
"Red carpeting and upholstery and a ceiling of gold leaf create an air of regal splendour the Senate."

     (Excerpt from description of Senate Chamber on parliamentary web site.)

Stuck in an historical time warp, the institution of the Canadian Senate is isolated from every norm of democracy. Nobody elects its membership through the mechanism of electoral suffrage. One man, and one man only, has the power to appoint it members. Whoever is Prime Minister pro tem picks those who are to bear the title of Honourable Senators. And, once appointed, they occupy their positions until age 75, at which stage they qualify to receive pensions.

When a seat becomes vacant because of retirement or death, the Prime Minister of the day may appoint whom he chooses to fill the vacancy in the membership. Not only that, if it should arise by quirk of circumstance that non-elected Senators may oppose a proposed government measure, and in the process embarrass the government, the Prime Minister may, of his own volition, enlarge the number of Senators so as to ensure the measure passes. It happened recently in the case of the GST, the General Services Tax, a most unpopular tax which even taxes newspapers and books, vital to ensuring an informed and educated public.

One man, one Canadian, has it in his power to appoint one complete chamber of parliament.

Is this democracy?

Is this what Canadians wish?

A more elitist system is nowhere to be found outside dictatorships and absolute monarchies.

What can you do to change it? Since this is an Internet publication, you, sitting alone at your computer, can take the first step, and right now. Send an e-mail to your public representatives, expressing your desire for change, demanding change.

Rremember, your public representatives are there to serve you, to respect your wishes. If they don't, or unable to do so, you have the power to turf them out at the next election. Remember, too, you can't turf out a Senator. You don't have the power to elect or dismiss a Senator. A Senator holds a pensionable position for life, or at least until age 75. How many others enjoy such privileges?

Democracy in Canada? With a Senate appointed by one man?

Start now. Send those e-mails. Send them again and again. And request a reply. Let the recipients disregard them at their re-election peril. Or sit on your duff and do nothing.

The e-mail addresses of your public representatives may be accessed at the Members List. Because the subjects dealt with in The Canadian Vindicator transcend party politics, the political affiliations of members should not be a consideration in making your views known to them.

According to the Government's own web site, under the heading "Facts on Canada":

Canada is a flexible and dynamic federation capable of adjusting and evolving to meet the changing needs of all its members.
Make your voice heard to express your changing needs. Again, if you are satisfied with the current situation, enjoy. Do nothing.

Electoral System

Canadians enjoy what an electoral system by which a candidate who gains the greatest number of votes in a constituency in a General Election wins a seat in the House of Commons. Once elected, the Member of Parliament is expected to serve all the people in the constituency whether, as individuals, they voted for him/her or not.

It is a system they are familiar with, and they have abided by its rules election after election.

But is it fair? Is it the best democracy has to offer?

These are questions that are being asked with growing frequency as more light is shed on the results the system produces.

Only 60% of the electorate may vote in a given constituency. This is sad reflection on people's observance of their civic duty, on how much they care how and by whom they will be represented and governed.

In a constituency of 100,000 eligible voters, 40,000 may decline to vote.

Of the 60,000 who do vote, the "winner" may garner the support of 60%, some 36,000 voters. The remaining 24%, 24,000 voters, are shared by the "losers".

In the best of all worlds the person supported by 36,000 voters undertakes to represent all 100,000 eligible voters, ignoring the fact that 64,000 choose not to give the "winner" their support.

What can be done to rectify the situation?

Recently Canadians filled out their forms for the 2001 census. We were obliged to do so by law. Penalties await those who did not perform this mandatory civic duty.

Which is more important, a census or a General Election? Both are important, but why make participation in one mandatory and not in the other?

This is a matter that we will return to in future issues of The Canadian Vindicator.

Topics to be dealt with in future issues include fixed terms, proportional representation, the monarchy, and abolition of the GST.

The Canadian Vindicator is an Internet publication under the registered domain and has no affiliation with any political party or other organization. If you find it of interest, please notify your friends so that they may join with you in promoting the expansion of democracy in Canada.

Once again, the e-mail addresses of members may be accessed at the Members List.


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