Democracy

Death throes of democracy

American journalist Thomas E. Fox wrote in 2014 that Big Money had “run off with our governing bodies.” He began with a quote from a New York Times article that included this:

The next Senate was just elected on the greatest wave of secret, special-interest money ever raised in a congressional election. What are the chances that it will take action to reduce the influence of money in politics?

Nil, of course…

Fox wrote:

We will wake up to the realization we [the voters] no longer have the ability to shape our governing bodies through elections. The slippage is abundantly clear already. Big Money has run off with our governing bodies. Not every time. But increasingly so. Powerful interests are crushing the institutional infrastructures of what once passed for democracy in America.

In our early civic classes we were taught democracy in America meant we all had one vote. Simple: one voice, one vote. Seemed right; seemed fair.

However, we’ve come to see this is no longer the case. Today it is one dollar; one vote. Or, rather, ten million dollars; ten thousand votes. Your vote, my vote, counts less and less.

…Most often our politicians’ master puppeteers are incredibly wealthy men (mostly men) who act to protect their self interests, including their wealth and privilege…

Evil influences are a little less obvious in Canada, but this country is on the same pathway.

The storm crisis of 2021 is now being called the single most costly weather-related destruction in Canada’s history. Scientists tell us that carbon emissions are major drivers of climate change. Yet, Canada’s federal and provincial governments are using armed troops and billions of dollars to ensure increased fossil fuel production.

A week after we honoured ancestors who fought to preserve democracy, government is deploying forces to ensure Indigenous land defenders are denied control of lands they’ve inhabited for millennia. Of course, those weaponless people stand in the way of a fossil fuel pipeline that will exacerbate climate change. At the same time, humble citizens struggle to cope with effects of long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns.

The reality is that politicians are agents of wealthy interests who dictate public policy. The financial industry based in southern Ontario is heavily invested in fossil fuels and while they tolerate Trudeau’s government talking about climate action, they will not accept disruptions that would turn valued collateral into stranded assets. As a result, Canada has ruling politicians who say the right things about the climate crisis but do the wrong things.

We should not be fooled.

Despite complaining before they formed government about tax relief and subsidies to gas producers and LNG processors, John Horgan quickly became a cheerleader for fossil fuels exports and a facilitator of forest destruction, largely to supply foreign sawmills. BC NDP climate action is negative instead of positive. That’s what Big Money interests demand.

In British Columbia, it was apparent years ago that Site C was the wrong project, at the wrong time, in the wrong place. Yet, operation of the province’s utility for the benefit of electricity consumers has not been its purpose in the 21st century. The raison d’être today is continued flow of monetary benefits into pockets of favoured people.

Beyond the financial burden on ratepayers and taxpayers, in the long term, the direct victims of the Peace River project are Indigenous people. Destruction of ancestral lands would be a repeat of what was done in the early 20th century 40 some kilometers east of Vancouver.

Fraser Valley’s Lost Lake:

For thousands of years, Sumas Lake sat near the centre of local culture and life. Then, nearly 100 years ago, engineers drained Sumas Lake, built a canal to harness the Vedder River, and, in the process, radically transformed the area.

The so-called “reclamation” of the lake has been hailed as an engineering marvel and vilified as a major wrong perpetrated on local Indigenous people…

While one could argue the theft of land from the Semá:th people created a foundation for modern life in southwest British Columbia, there is no possible justification in northeast BC today. The province has less costly alternatives to generate energy.

But again, the Horgan government has Big Money interests to serve. There is a gravy train operating and it has plenty of passengers. Those that get in the way will be dealt with harshly.

Categories: Democracy

10 replies »

  1. Watched Andrew N at UBC streaming yesterday. Pretty much laid out what
    the next generation (our children and grandchildren)/will be faced
    with. Towards the end you could not help but see the emotional build in his
    voice and his eyes. One of the great ones telling the real stories and
    yes they unfortunately don’t have happy endings.
    George Monboit follows the same path. Alex Morton still trying.
    Bill Rees still telling you like it really is. Dave Hughes in full stride
    telling you the real story. But wait Horgan says everything is under
    control in BC regarding the latest disaster. BC people are just a super
    good community minded people then you go to the store after this last disaster
    and you want to know were Horgan shops to get his groceries.
    Finally Biden just oversaw one of the biggest oil and gas lease sales
    in American history after the show and tell at BBB26.
    The COP 26 attendees were composed 2:1 of status quo lobbyists and oil and
    gas interests versus the other attendees who wanted to try and accomplish
    some real change. Address climate change?
    When pigs fly. We have no say because democracy has died
    Don Maclean ..The Day the Music Died..American Pie.
    I give up.

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  2. What are we to do about this dilemma of criminal corporate and government
    corruption within our country. What do these criminals do? They are killing us off by the cut of a thousand knives. What is wrong with the citizens of this country? Do we have it to good to protest. Are we that controlled we think there is nothing we can do? The bravest people of this country are the original owners, fighting for all. Yet the rest of the country sits by mostly putting the originals down holding them in a straggle hold not allowing freedom of protest. Racists are created and promoted by the elites of this country so they can hoard as much as they can take seemingly by the day.
    We must all rise to the occasion and defeat those that will eliminate anyone that tries to stop them. We must return that favour right back. Eliminate them even if we have to take them down violently. They are giving us the citizens of this country no other way.

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  3. Democracy was doomed, when the first affordable computers came onto the market.

    When politcal machine could follow up to the minute public polling, niche politcal markets could be exploited. As public relation/polling firms shaped politcal platforms, those with money could greatly influence the process.

    Over engineered mega projects became the order of the day, as projects that should cost no more than several millions of dollars, mushroomed to hundreds of millions of dollars, contractors were ensured of a steady cash flow and grew fat on politcal excesses.

    Politicians feted with freebies such as box tickets at sporting events and golf tournaments, just encouraged the gravy train.

    By the 90’s, civic politics had been entirely corrupted and provincial politics being corrupted at a ever hastening pace. Federal politcal corruption was in a class of its own as the likes of Bombardier and SNC Lavalin ruled the roost.

    Lack of any sort of corruption laws means corruption has festered to an unprecedented degree in this country and has corruption rose, democracy declined.

    Today it is the Quebec Caisse and other provincial and federal pension plans pulling the strings for higher and higher returns on their dollars invested. They tell politicians what to do and when to do it.

    today in Canada, democracy is for about 12 hours, every for years for civic, provincial and federal politics and the rest of the time, government is by dictatorship with the rest being parliamentary theatre.

    The public have been lulled into this growing debacle with a combination of ignorance and ennui, with basic politician philosophies based on “what is in it for me?” The voter is comfortably numb.

    As with all dictatorships and corrupt politics, the end comes fast ans swift, but Canada has not reached that point yet, but it will and then revolution. the question will be a quiet revolution or a dramatic loud one, with bodies piling up on the streets.

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    • I would imagine the politicians would be the ones paying the price in the end for trying to trample democracy if there was revolt. History proves it. Trouble is, what replaces it.

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  4. Build a 16 billion dollar dam u dont ,arguably,need (burrard thermal had the capacity already?)by a utility that spent 15 billion dollars over 15 years on 17 years of flat demand.saying to public 2 % a year demand growth for 20 years then 1% a year.?

    Preach , to public,climate change while ignoring reports of deficiencies of road and dykes.?

    Auditor general states that fraud prevention tracking not in place for one or more BC.?

    Politicians not ready for pandemic ,then heat dome, then then 3 months later deluge . But ready for the status quo and next elections.?

    BCH Says its powered by water but also imports and generates energy from other sources.?

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  5. If democracy is dying then it’s not enough people holding the politicians to account. The corporate media and its many turncoat government collaborating and so called journalists, and spineless press gallery don’t help. We have Global and CTV, BCTV, CKNW, CBC and on and on with the list across Canada of sheep media and radio. The complacency is stifling in the population. It is somewhat of a relief though and honour to see people on these various blogs of high standard speaking up. These are run by the true brave journalists and others. The mainstream are run by cowards and collaborators against the peoples democracy.

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  6. kenneylad
    To your point re “blogs of high standard” I ask, why do you think there is such a rush to “regulate” internet content? It is to stifle (outlaw, kill)
    all critical comment and discussion, a cornerstone of democracy.

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  7. Line up & shoot all the lobbyists, a decent start.

    The un-sustainable metropolis of Vancouver which is incapable of feeding itself needs Sumas Prarie for some of it’s grub, the build up of metropolis’ in area’s which are dicey to get to in extreme weather is finally obtaining it’s just deserts, unchecked exponential migration to Vancouver is the real root cause, the beauty which attracts many also contains many issues, tossing mega millions at vanity transport items like Broadway subway while ignoring the transport corridors to the metropolis is finally proving to be a reckless management tact.

    100 years ago, Vancouver could feed itself from the surrounding region, now no chance, much of the tillable soil is covered in concrete, anyone ever eaten cement dust or flyash? Unchecked centralization of human beings in minute tracts of land is a huge compounding issue, albeit one which apparently all levels of elected folks seem happy to ignore.

    Planning, on all govt. levels requires a complete reset. what good is a subway, part way to UBC (University of Beijing in Canada) when the three major corridors which supply food, lumber, concrete, asphalt, steel & other commodities to a city which is a 100% net user with zero industrial commodity aside from small items?

    Densification comes with many pitfalls, perching almost 3 million humans on a river delta surrounded by many mountains & canyons through which most necessities need to transit is somewhat questionable, yet all I seem to hear is how many more can they get into greater Vancouver, some of the most fertile soil on this continent. When will someone finally state that this smallish piece of real estate is built up enough and no more migration?

    The realities of the somewhat unchecked build out of Vancouver (Expo & Owelympics have exacerbated this massively) will bring many more unforeseen issues, most of which our planners & elected have zero vision of and we’ll see more transport issues for decades to come.

    Of course Vancouver’s council which constantly seems to forget the true meaning of the term “jurisdiction”, they approve higher density projects, albeit with a plethora of silly, expensive building concepts which only further drive up the costs for consumers, while hijacking the funds which should be spent maintaining their access to the many items they have to bring in due to the absurd build up of homes/apts/condos.

    Sustainability, a term only used in small, chosen contexts by most who are finally seeing the true lack there-of in the metropolis of Vancouver.

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  8. In my reading of history this extraction economic model has been in exsitence for a thousands of years and Trudeau’s speech above is ultraconservative and exits only in the past.
    But what is different now is that democracy we have fought for against the totalitarian paradym for 100’s of years. It’s due us we have it, thanks to those free thinkers.
    Its different now as we have become wealthy through our democracy by letting diverse voices speak independent of one’s riches. Unlike the past this wealth is being used to play the same old game but with the wealth accured through democracy using our taxes.
    The trick is to convince us it is in our best interest which is far from true. Communities, culture seek a long time frame unlike the quick grab of this economic model for short term gains.
    Knowledge is a fearsome thing for these extractive people as its the podium they speak from with an authority when none were educated.
    We are now with democracy inventing social media, computers and so on to share knowledge with each other regardless of one’s wealth.
    Let’s frighten them with knowledge in a civil manner which is a different form of non violence to win what we have achieved.
    It was always us fighting for our rights and so we will continue. The age we live in has been referred to as the Age of Knowledge.
    Let’s make it work without an army concept of the social mass which is still prevalent as
    our mass is now a radically different one.

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