Monday, April 4, 2011

An Inconvenient Democracy

I was speaking to a friend today who, as a young person, is just starting to pay attention to the election. She is not alone amoung young people but apathy towards an election is not restricted to the young.

My father's generation, those who fought or lived through the Second World War, understand the cost of freedom, as do those of us in the Baby Boomer generation who heard the stories, or watched their father, uncle, or other men returned from the front, suffer in silence from the psychological scars of losing friends in battle. Since then, however, people have lost sight of what it means to live in a country as open and diverse as Canada. To enjoy being able to go where we want and when ever we want; to take a job in what ever field strikes our fancy; to get an education and health care; to have opportunities for work and lifestyle that can only be imagined in other less fortunate countries.

To them, the election is a waste of time and money. As long as they're working, we should not intrude on their daily existence with something as trite as an election. But, what is the purpose of a democracy if not to provide opportunities to its citizens to hold the government to account; to ask questions on a party's vision, direction, and policy? Stephen Harper has already shown that he has little regard for the parliamentary process and institutions. His government was held in contempt; he has four senior advistors (including two senators) charged with elections fraud, and he calls the election a waste of his time. To him, an election should not be required at this time. What an inconvenient democracy we have.

No comments: