Proposal to detoxify our ailing democracy – by PJ Robertson – August 25, 2010

Morrisburg ON – For the election of 2006 the Reform-Conservatives campaigned loudly on a promise of Accountability and Transparency. And ever since their election to office in January 2006, they have delivered on their promise in spades. They have been absolutely and at all times accountable to themselves.  As for the majority of Canadians who did not vote for them, when did the Reform-Conservatives ever promise to be accountable to all Canadians?

As to transparency, the Reform-Conservatives have been, in a recent phrase of their Minister of Foreign Affairs, “extremely transparent.”   That is to say, transparently secretive, transparently uncaring of parliamentary democracy (two unnecessary prorogations, withholding Afghan detainee documents, etc.), transparently uncaring of majority opinion and the judgments of experts (long-form census, police input on long-gun registry, the environment and climate change, etc.), transparently bullying and smearing witnesses who present fact-based testimony at odds with reform-conservative ideology (Linda Keen, Richard Colvin, Munir Sheikh, et al), transparently intimidating all opposition however honestly based and expressed—not to mention summarily relieving outstanding public servants of their key posts for not toeing the party line

(Paul Kennedy, Peter Tinsley, Col. Pat Stogran, RCMP Chief Superintendent Marty Cheliak).

The net outcome is equally transparent.  With this Reform-Conservative government, Canada’s Parliament is effectively trivialized to the point of near paralysis.  Insofar as the government of the day sets the tone for the rest of the country, Canadians are being treated to a culture of abuse, evasion, and deceit.  Canada, in a word, is toxic.  People around the world are scratching their heads and asking, What’s happening to Canada—the Canada we have known and respected?

What to do?  Since census discussions are in vogue, here is a modest suggestion:  have a credible non-partisan organization, say Democracy Watch, come up with a simple method for taking the ethical pulse of people in elected office as well as those seeking it.  Call it “A Democratic Census for Elected Representatives and Persons Seeking Elected Office—Mandatory Short Form” with questions along the following lines (Answer Yes or No):

  1. Do you think it is right to make a pledge and subsequently break it, if it serves your interest?
  2. Have you ever been charged or convicted for any of the following:  (a) a felony (b) impaired driving (c) accepting a bribe (d) exaggerating, falsifying, or otherwise taking undue advantage of a job-related expense account?
  3. Do you believe it is acceptable to deceive another person/others, if it serves your interest?
  4. Do you believe it is acceptable to suppress or withhold information, alter facts or otherwise manipulate the truth, if it serves your interest?
  5. Do you believe it is acceptable to lose your temper, when you do not get your way?
  6. Do you believe there is a place for bullying and fear mongering in public service?
  7. Do you believe it is acceptable to smear, attack or otherwise undermine the credibility of anyone, especially a public servant, who may in good faith hold views that differ from your own?
  8. Do you believe in decency and fairness in all matters, especially in relation to gender, ethnicity, religion, and political persuasion?
  9. Are you aware of any patterns of anti-social behaviour you may have?   If you are not sure, please refer to
  10. Do you pledge at all times to respect and uphold the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Democracy Watch—or whoever might undertake to quarterback such a census—would then be expected to register the results, together with names, as a matter of public record.

Of course, even if it could be implemented, neither this nor any other measure is going to change things overnight.  Trapped in their own anger, the ruling Reform-Conservatives appear to be deaf to the voices of fairness and reason.  And Canadians are transfixed, as though under a spell.

The real object of the above exercise is to place everyone seeking elected office at the next election behind the same starting line.  That is, on notice of the behaviour, responsibilities, and obligations expected of all servants of the public interest, from the prime minister down.

Intrusive?  Surely not when our democracy and the well-being of a nation are at stake.

PJ Robertson PhD, CLU, is a chartered life underwriter, former professor of language and literature, and author of two books on criticism and a hundred plus articles and reviews.  This opinion piece first was published appeared in the August 23rd issue of The Hill Times.

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)

Jason Setnyk Bicycle World Schnitzels


  1. Keep in mind PJA, the news you watch on TV or read in the papers is all BS made up by the liberal media. 🙂

  2. That was going to be my comment Furtz, but you said it first.

  3. So Be It!


    So if the Canadian government determines that it is against the
    law for the words ‘under God’ to be on our money, then, so be it.

    And if that same government decides that the ‘Ten Commandments’
    are not to be used in or on a government installation, then, so be it.

    I say, ‘so be it,’ because I would like to be a law-abiding
    Canadian citizen.

    I say, ‘so be it,’ because I would like to think that smarter
    people than I are in positions to make good decisions. I would like to think
    that those people have the Canadian public’s best interests at heart.


    Since we can’t pray to God,
    Can’t Trust in God and
    Cannot post His Commandments in Government buildings,

    I don’t believe that the Government and its employees should
    participate in the Easter and Christmas celebrations which honor the God
    Our government is eliminating from many facets of Canadian life.

    I’d like my mail delivered on Christmas, Good Friday,
    Thanksgiving, and Easter.

    After all, it’s just another day.

    I’d like the ‘Canadian Supreme Court to be in session on
    Christmas, Good Friday, Thanksgiving, and Easter, as well as Sundays.’
    After all, it’s just another day.

    I’d like the Senate and the House of Commons
    To not have to worry about getting home for the’Christmas
    After all, it’s just another day.

    I’m thinking that a lot of my taxpayer dollars could be saved,
    If all government offices & services would work on Christmas,
    Good Friday, and Easter. It shouldn’t cost any overtime since those would be
    just like any other day of the week to a government that is trying to be
    ‘politically correct’.

    In fact….

    I think that our government should work on Sundays
    (initially set aside for worshipping God…)
    Because, after all, our government says that it should be
    Just another day.

  4. Holy Jumpin’ Smee. You got some Tea Party folks staying at your place?
    Is the pastor there too?

  5. Yeah Tammy, I learned that little factiod from you. Nothing from the MSM is true. It’s all made up by commie scum. They told us that it was gonna be really hot today, and we all know that was BS.

  6. While I disagree with Smee’s notion that government employees work on religious holidays , due to the fact that everyone deserves time off, I do agree with the spirit of his post. I think we should remove the religious connotations involved with these days off, and just have “April long weekend” or “extended December time off” and so forth. Plus I think we need more time off…we work for more days a year than most countries in the world.

    I’m tired of worshipping the easter bunny.

  7. You miss thepoint again, someone asked me for a solution to current practices.

    Yes I agree in Canada we need much more time away from work. For one of the more developed countries we seem to be third world in personal time.

    That being said, If the rule makers must adhere to the legislated rules given to us things may go a little differently.

    “Canada is a ‘feudal system’ disguised as a democracy. Since 1931 we’ve been ‘governed’ by cozy deals brokered between politicians running amok. Canada is bereft of a constitution & we have little effective control over government, its abuses and its waste. To become a real country, we must become a nation of united inhabitants who understand it is we who are the masters, and the politicians and bureaucrats are the servants. Until then we’re nothing more than a 21st century feudal society and modern-day feudal serfs.”

    From “”

    some other interesting reads

  8. The only way to get back to any semblance of true democracy is to get all these idiots (especially Harper) out of government and revamp the whole system… but in a pig’s eye that will happen..

  9. As long as politicians platforms are base on lies, we will never have a true democracy. And to the voting public, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

  10. Glenn Beck? Faith-based patriotism? Holy jumpin’ Tammy! You’re seriously out of the closet now. That’s why Harper never allows his MPs to speak without a script.

  11. A script *LOL*
    Chretien did the same and not just within his party but with people in media and crown corporations not agreeing with him. But hey we can only see what Harper does wrong cuz we have been without a responsible leader for too long. Now we have one that tries to bring a iniform system and boo hoo everyone calls him a villian for nto letting his people freelance and mis-spend our money doing so.

    And you think Harper is bad for firing his ministers, read on and see how far Chretiens control went.
    Israel Harold “Izzy” Asper

    Israel Harold “Izzy” Asper, OC, OM, QC A former Canadian tax lawyer and media magnate, and founder of CanWest Global Communications Corp Controversially, Asper’s newspaper chain fired journalist Russell Mills when he wrote an article which was critical of Jean Chretien and demanded he resign

    1970, Izzy Asper was elected leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party (defeating university professor John Nesbitt). Asper represented a right-libertarian strain within the party. In the Manitoba election of 1973, he promoted a laissez-faire economy, and advocated the elimination of the welfare state. He also advocated the public financing of election campaigns, to ensure that politics would not be dominated entirely by monied interests. His Liberals won only five seats, and Asper was elected in Wolseley by only four votes. He resigned as party leader and MLA in 1975, though he continued to support the Manitoba Liberal Party in later years.

  12. That’s exactly what I’m about Furtz,
    Freedom, small government and accountability … and as far as Harper, there really is no other alternative. I still would rather Harper than anyone else out there. Look at Igi forcing his MP’s to vote against the gun registry. You tell me, who else is there?

  13. Whoa there, Ms Hart! Whoa! Furtz is right on the money. Democracy may be Glenn Beck’s friend, but Glenn Beck is no friend to democracy with his lies and twisted talk…much like the Harper gang over here.

  14. Sorry, I said that wrong, Igi is forcing his MP’s in favour of the gun registry.

  15. Maybe there’s no alternative for you, Tammy, but for two thirds of the voting public, there certainly is.
    BTW, is Harper allowing a free vote on the registry?

  16. PJR, your a die hard Liberal, the more government we have the more control you get. That simple.

  17. PJR, Tammy says that you’re (“your”) a die hard Liberal. You should be ashamed of yourself, and stand in the corner for the rest of the morning.

  18. OK Furtz you caught me on the grammar. I stand corrected. Now I have to worry about grammar too. YOU’RE making my job harder. You must be a teacher, no wonder you hate Harris. LOL

  19. No I’m not a teacher. My scorn for Harris is the result of the unnecessary misery his government inflicted on the poor of this province, and of course the huge corruption factor.

  20. I forgot to repeat my question, Tammy.
    Is Harper allowing a free vote on the registry?

  21. sheehs furtz it appears you are suffereing from either brainwashing, ignorence or denial. Just look back at what the liberals did federally and now look at the liberals provincially..spend spend followed by gimme gimme gimme

    How many times can the money wasting liberals go to the well before it runs dry?

  22. Hey Smee. I was no fan of Chretien/Martin, but they did run surpluses for the last few years of their rule.
    I’m also no fan of Mcguinty, but he doesn’t seem to be a two-bit sadistic thug.
    So maybe you can tell me…Is Harper allowing a free vote on the long gun registry? Tammy won’t say.
    BTW, I’m totally opposed to the registry.

  23. Until we have more free votes, this country is not a democracy. A politicians main focus is not to serve the people, but to serve themselves to get re-elected. Individual countries are more concerned about globalization, than they are about their own country. People don’t vote because the parties will do what is best for the party, and not the people. Very few of my friends and relatives vote. I just stared voting again. I know my vote will not make a difference. Harper, Chretien, McGuinty, Harris and Mulroney have done everything they could to reduce the middle class.
    The only thing our government is good for is to brainwash the public into believing they are working for them.

  24. How do you know the liberals truly ran a surplus? Did you get money back or tax incentives, did health care improve?

    With the spending on things like the Gomery commission and the ad scam plus major funding for a retrofit to the docks in Montreal, which we have yet to see the project begin….please tell me how they ran a surplus.

    The gun registry is a dead cow. I think it is a waste as well. Guns don’t kill people stupid people kill people. However if you look to the UK death by guns is lower then most places and guns are illegal without special permits.

    Chrétien created this registry this to appease people and to get votes by forming another entity with in the government to employ people to support his party, votes and security that is all it is about. It was also to earn money to create the mythical surplus you think they had.

    If they abolish the registry how much will it cost in pensions and redistribution of the people doing the work? If Harper wants it to keep going then so be it. If he dissolves it the blame for the demobilization costs will be his and people like you will again be mislead. You would have had your cake but complained about the cost.

    Leave it alone until the people that caused the mess are re elected and see how well they make out

    Leave it alone.

    If Harper cleans out all the things we do not like will you still consider him a villain.

    On another note have you ever seen Harper stand before Canadians and blame the liberals for what is being done by the current government? Both Martin and Chrétien used the conservative party as an excuse to implement their agenda on Canadians.

  25. Smee,
    It’s time to put that bottle away for a few hours.

  26. GOOD NEWS, GOOD NEWS…for all you Stephan Harper haters, that includes you Furtz. Stephen Harper has proposed creating a Parliamentary advisory committee of MP’s and senators for each minister of his government. These advisory committees will be involved in every decision the government makes. The committees will be consulted constantly and involved in the decision-making process to include his parliamentarians, along with the members of his office and the bureaucrats. The intention is to make the whole process more DEMOCRATIC. Harper is hoping to get this process in place by fall. The groups, will be consulted regularly by the minister who is preparing a bill. They will be asked to express their opinion before the bill is presented to Parliament and even to the cabinet. In fact, the minister’s submission to cabinet will have to include a page with the advice given to him by the committee, whether it is positive or negative. Therefore, with this new advisory committees, Conservative Members of Parliament will have the opportunity to be directly involved in the preparation of the bill itself and the ministers wont be able to ignore their opinions.
    Good for you Stephen Harper.

  27. Brainwashing?
    Turning pension and EI funds into general revenue ( 2008 Supreme Court case lists upto 54 billion), pension clawbacks, reduced military, if there was a surplus it is really over taxation, but 2% of the GST is a start.

  28. Wow. Tammy! That was an amazing cut and paste job. And I don’t think there was a single spelling or grammar error in the release from the PMO! You must have a contact?
    So you said in a previous post that “IGI” Iggy was wrong to have a whipped vote (You’ll have to look that up) on the long gun registry. My question is for the fourth time… Is Harper allowing his MPs a free vote on the registry? C’mon Tammy. You can tell us. I honestly don’t know the answer to that question.

  29. They will be asked to express their opinion before the bill is presented to Parliament and even to the cabinet. In fact, the minister’s submission to cabinet will have to include a page with the advice given to him by the committee, whether it is positive or negative…………………………………………………………

    and if King Stephen doesn’t like their opinion, they will be fired.

  30. Tammy: Is this new committee that Harper is proposing part of making government smaller, or is its goal the reduction of beaurocracy? You claim that these are the goals of the Conservatives, but this seems to serve neither function…please enlighten.

  31. I agree completely Eric. The theft from EI contributions was nothing short of criminal. They paid down the deficit on the backs the working poor and lower middle class. The ruling class only gets wealthier, as always, whether they belong to the Lib or Con club.

  32. Hey, I liked what I read and shared it with you. The article I read, shows that Harper understands that communication is lacking in his government and he wants to improve it, give him credit when credit is due.
    As far as I know, there has never been a vote among the Feds on the Long Gun registry but who gives a damn? The Federal Conservatives understand stupidity. Its been on their platform from the start.
    I am starting to think Furtz that you will never be happy. I don’t know who you criticize more me or Harper?

  33. All I know is that you, Tammy, dumped on Iggy for not allowing a free vote on the long gun registry.
    Is Harper allowing a free vote for his MPs on the registry?

  34. Posted by Tammy A. Hart on September 1:

    “The Federal Conservatives understand stupidity. Its been on their platform from the start.”

    Think about that. Really.

  35. That is funny PJA, and at the same time a little sad. Tammy is for sure in over her head. If she would just take a few years to mature and get a grip on her anger, and maybe study a few issues, she might actually become a decent politician. In the meantime, it’s sad to watch a misguided soul flame out.

  36. Your so funny, Frutz. PJA I’m ready for the attack.

  37. yep furtz thought it was denial but I was in err, it is just plain ignorence from which you speak.

  38. Way to go everyone! With Tammy and smee we’re on a crazy train, destination the Platform of Stupidity. Thanks to Furtz and PJA, with sober back-up from Eric, willie, Destructo & Stan, we’ll admire the scenery, have a lot of laughs, and make sure we never get there.

  39. Tammy, it’s you are so funny, or you’re so funny.
    So, will Harper allow a free vote on the registry?
    Why do you refuse to answer that question?

  40. Furtz, ask Harper that question, you can send mail without postage to any MP at their Hill address.
    PJR, I have never been accused of being sober or giving a second thought, how dare you insult my integrityLOL…..But thinking about the “The Federal Conservatives understand stupidity. Its been on their platform from the start.” comment, look at who sits across from them in question period.

    Thought it was funny to hear Jack Layton say he would vote for the registry because it is dividing Canadians. Sure, and bilingulism, 2 to many parties in the house (you can decide which)and multiculturism doesn’t!

  41. Furtz
    I think the reason Tammy does not answer the question is to avoid being the fool. Tammy is better off silent then being sucked in by a fool and beaten down with experience.

    You display an unfortunate hollow arrogance, amusing at times and ever obtuse.

  42. That last post can apply to PJA as well.

  43. Author

    Hi everyone. I know debating can get emotional, but if possible can we try and leave the personal attacks to a minimum? Thanks.

  44. As I said before, Tammy dumped on Iggy for forcing all his MPs to vote in support of the registry, which BTW ticks me off too. Whipped votes should be outlawed. I simply want to hear from Tammy whether her hero will be using the same tactic. Just a yes or no shouldn’t be too difficult. Maybe a little embarrassing, but…..

  45. Posted by smee on September 2:

    “You display an unfortunate hollow arrogance, amusing at times and ever obtuse.”

    So do you, smee.

  46. Hey Smee, would you like me better if I stopped checking my spelling and grammar before hitting submit?

  47. Ahoy Jamie. Sure is quiet here today. Maybe just as well. Spent the morning doing a little plumbing job for a friend, being the lefty socialist that I am. Spent the afternoon putting the ridge cap on my new hen house, being the filthy egg-selling capitalist that I am. Actually, I don’t sell eggs, but we eat a lot of them. I’m just wondering if maybe Tammy’s or Smee’s people have advised them to STFU.
    I heard somewhere that the pastor might be attending the Pride Gala fund-raiser on the 4th. It would be so cool to see him bust out a bit, meet interesting people and have some fun.
    Just a little pot-stirring.

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