• Democratically Challenged

    Have you checked out the changes to the provincial election ridings? The CBC has a link to a great mapwhich will show you any riding in the province – as it is now and as it is proposed to be. The Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission is currently holding public meetings and accepting comments on its proposal. There has been back-lash from some small communities across New Brunswick who feel that the new boundaries do not respect their community ties.

    From my point of view, it seems that our democratic institutions are being steadily eroded. Alex Himelfarb,a former Clerk of the Privy Council, has written a great commentaryon how we are moving from a democratic society to a market society and “bargain basement citizenship.”

    The Canadian Labour Congress has just published its report, “What Did Corporate Tax Cuts Deliver?” In 2011, January 20th was “Corporate Tax Freedom Day.” By that date, corporations had already had enough income to cover their share of provincial and federal taxes for the rest of the year. Corporations also managed to hoard $72 billion more in 2011 than the previous year.

    And the proof of all of this is in the pudding. In October 2012, “How are Canadians Really Doing?” was published by the Canadian Index of Well Being Network out of the University of Waterloo. The index measures eight factors of well-being such as environment, education, leisure and living standards. The findings in this report show that “from 1994 to 2010, while Canada’s GDP grew by a robust 28.9%, improvements in Canadians’ well-being grew by a considerably smaller 5.7%. Despite years of prosperity, our economic growth has not translated into similarly significant gains in our overall quality of life. Even more concerning is the considerable backslide Canadians have experienced since 2008. Following the recession of 2008, Canada’s GDP dropped by 8.3%, but shows signs of slow recovery in 2010. In contrast, the impact of the recession on the CIW was a stunning 24% declineand shows no such sign of recovery to even the modest gains made up to 2008.”

    If you are interested in ongoing discussions about democracy in Canada, the Samara Institute has just released a report on the House of Commons and how well they are doing in addressing the priorities of Canadians. This month they are also hosting a blog series “Redesigning Parliament”.

     
 © 2018 NBEN / RENB