Parliamentary Democracy Unhinged In Today’s Canada

By Mark Taliano

Inverted totalitarianism comes into being not by design, but by inattention to the consequences of actions, or especially, inactions.  Or, more precisely, inattention to their cumulative consequences.”  – Sheldon. S. Wolin

Such is the case in today’sCanada.  Our inattention to the federal government’s control of information and its assaults on Charter rights, is inexorably leading us towards totalitarianism, and the cost of this inattention is very high.

Even the government’s ascension to majority status was tainted.  The as yet unresolved issue of electoral fraud is still on the back burner, and it may remain there, if the government, aided in part by corporate media conglomerates, succeeds in de-valuing the importance of the issue.

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Parliamentary democracy is also being relegated to the back burner.  In unprecedented  fashion, time-limits to debate are curtailed, and omnibus legislation is the order of the day.  The omnibus budget bill is 421 pages long and it includes legislation that dismantles environmental protections. Consequently, and by design, there is no time for committees to analyze and improve the legislation.  

The environmental legislation is an icon of evidence–free decision making.  Government scientists and public servants are not allowed to speak to the media without permission, nor can they speak to MPs.  Additionally, any and all research that the government deems to be contrary to government ambitions (read tar sands) is muzzled.



Charities that don’t align with government ambitions are also being targeted.  The Canada Revenue Agency is supposed to be “independent”, but it, too, is being used as a political arm of the government.  Environmental charities are being attacked for foreign funding, while false charities such as the Fraser Institute are left alone.  The net effect is that free speech is being negatively impacted.

The omnibus crime bill (C-10), also not evidence-based, contains nine pieces of “bundled” legislation, and, like Bill C-38, the government has refused to “unbundled” it into more manageable parts.  The danger to rushing such legislation is best summarized by interim liberal party leader Bob Rae: “It’s not a real crime prevention strategy.  It’s a prison promotion strategy, it’s an incarceration strategy, that … will prove a costly mistake forCanada.”  It’s no surprise either that lobbyists for the bill include the private prison industry.   

Charter rights are suffering a “death by a thousand cuts”.  Most recently, the passing of the anti-protest Bill 78 in Quebecis an attack on our rights to protest, and to freely  assemble.  The police abuses at the G-20, and now in Montreal, point to the importance of honoring the Charter Of Rights And Freedoms.  Much as the government is using the CRA as a political instrument, they are using the police to stifle public expression. Sheldon Wolin: “ … We may recognize police as a force for controlling public expression rather than simply as “the arm of the law” dedicated to the protection of life and property.”

( http://–g20-senior-commander-facing-misconduct-charges-for-ordering-u-of-t-mass-arrest ), (

These attacks on fair elections, on parliamentary democracy, on science, and on freedoms of speech and assembly are attacks on core Canadian values.  Ignoring these incremental attacks will invariably result in further repressions as the government imposes “austerity”, “fear”, and militarism on an unsuspecting populace.

Quebec, with its Maple Spring, is at the forefront of this fight for our liberties and our future.  The question remains though: What will it take before the rest of us wake-up?

Mark Taliano is a Niagara resident and a regular contributor of commentary to Niagara At Large.

(Niagara At Large invites you to share your comments on this post. NAL also readers that we only post views by individuals who also share their first and last names. We also reserve the right not to post personal attacks against others that may be viewed as unwarranted, distasteful or potentially libelous.)

8 responses to “Parliamentary Democracy Unhinged In Today’s Canada

  1. Linda McKellar

    Welcome to the USSR…er, I mean Canada.
    Emperor Harperius will be the death of our democracy. (Mind you ALL politicians now are painted with the same brush. I believe it was Cornelius Vanderbilt who said “There isn’t a politician I can’t buy.”) All the gains in human rights, the environment, worker’s benefits and conditions, freedoms and equality we have accrued over the last century are being eroded. Welcome back to a Dickensian world. We are increasingly becoming a USA clone where corporate interests trump all. Both parties there are basically bought and sold. One is just more obvious about it. Taxes keep going up but the services which the taxes supposedly pay for are being reduced. Is that supposed to be a bargain? Why on earth should we pay taxes for services we will no longer receive or for freedoms which are being abrogated? Meanwhile, we fine, trusting Canadian citizens sit back with a beer in front of TV too occupied to bother to investigate what our government is doing to us. When it finally hits us individually in the pocketbook or otherwise, we will bitch about it but it will be too late and too much effort to get involved. When some do get involved, the Gestapo comes out to suppress any protests and plants agents provacateurs to cause trouble. We need a Gandhian approach of peaceful demonstration. If a few thousand folks lie down in the street and refuse to move in every city they can’t arrest the entire country.
    This is a worldwide phenomenon. The IMF, Euro bank, Koch Brs. and other monetary behemoths control the world. Eventually the west will find itself in the same position as Greece, Italy and Spain. Your pensions will disappear in the name of austerity, health care will be privatized, etc. Meanwhile, the rich have all the loopholes and benefits. Governments worldwide need to be shaken up and vigourously so. We peasants outnumber the fat cats by far but we must find some way of regaining control of OUR countries. Good luck on that one. I don’t have the answers.


  2. Mark, I believe you are are right about where we are headed, some US politicians have had their eyes on Canada as a country that should be annexed, to the USA , their Constitution even has a special clause for the inclusion of the Canadian Provinces to join the US. Canada will be lost by our submission to all these traiterous politicians.Greed, Greed, a beautiful Country lost, by the rapists and looters of our economy. nobody is staying on guard for our Canada The Southern US states , the red states will become a desert with global warming,.the same people who produced George W Bush and the death penalty.a cowboy viewpoint of the world and denyers of the environment changes.gun law rules down there.


  3. The above article basically describes the “Book of Revelations” (if one so believes in scripture?) It is well written, factual and so so very truthful especially when one see 50 to 60% of the entire population getting off their fat asses and voting. Then to hear the same people say I did not vote for these “FAT CATS” but what they fail to relate is they did not bother to vote at all. Ralph Nader, who by the way has relatives in the Toronto area, once said it matters not which party in the U.S.A. you vote for, they are both corporate governments and they will do the bidding of their corporate masters.
    Linda it matters NOT which of the eastern countries, Greece, Spain, Italy or wherever the blue collared are being pushed into the corner rioting over austerity being forced down their throats when basically they are blameless you never hear a word about the rich for they are NOT being hampered by cut backs, they still live high off the “HOG” and reveling in it.


  4. Canada’s federal regime is basically totalitarian. Certainly, it’s far closer to totalitarianism than it is to democracy.


  5. Yes, of course, you’re all correct. We should do something about these things, but right now I am in the middle of writing a series of haikus, and let me tell you, it’s a pretty tough job. Short poems, long hours.


  6. I see too much repetition of history here in Canada, much of what went on in Germany in the 1930’s.much of what the federal government is putting out these days is propaganda. With the EI reforms, temporary work permits reforms, and so forth, the feds are attempting to bring wages down to a race to the bottom, so that companies that want to escape Canada to countries where they pay their workers $5 a day might want to stay here if there is a chance down the road they can pay us equally badly and extract even more labour from us. At the same time, I see no move on the part of the government to force banks to reduce one’s monthly mortgage payments, interest rates, utility costs, grocery costs, and so forth, which has led to the need for higher wages in the first place … I think it will take almost every Canadian in the street protesting and withdrawing their labour and payment of taxes before this government will change the dangerous direction it is going into.


  7. Messages from the 99:


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