Thursday, April 12, 2012

On Corruption and Political Disengagement

Last night I had a long telephone conversation with my good friend Dave, who lives in Winnipeg. Like me (and probably more so), Dave has a keenly developed sense of justice and fair play, and when those values are violated, he is outraged. Last evening, as he was telling me about the latest developments in what seems to be a deep well of corruption, cronyism and conflict of interest infecting Winnipeg municipal politics, I asked him how the malefactors, who barely seem to be making an effort to conceal their nefarious deeds, escape civic accountability.

A good part of the answer, and the part I feel I can discuss here, is voter apathy and disengagement.

I have written previously on the problems our democratic traditions are experiencing these days under a federal government that displays egregious contempt for what the electorate thinks or wants. My own theory is that the Harper regime is doing everything it can to disillusion and estrange citizens from participation so that only the true believers (right-wing ideologues, for example) turn out at the polls while most others remain at home. That surely explains, at least in part, what happened in the last federal election when a minority of Canadians gave Harper the majority he so long coveted.

And it explains Harper's refusal, to take any responsibility for having lied to the public about the true costs of the F-35 jets. Equally damning and shameful, he refuses to require any ministerial responsibility, in this case from the incompetent and dishonest Minister of Defense, Peter MacKay.

However, this is one small speck of light on the horizon, as explained by Bob Hepburn, who writes about Harper’s cynical assault on democracy in today's Star. I hope you will find the time to read his piece.

No comments:

Post a Comment