Friday, June 25, 2004

Canada's democratic future

I wanted to share some thoughts and links I recently forwarded to award-winning author and journalist Stevie Cameron regarding media ethics, grassroots democracy, manual balloting, and Canada-US relations. Diverse coalition-building will be necessary to preserve even a small part of Canada's independence.

Here is a Wired article on journalism ethics.

Mainstream media's complicitness with corporate interests is speeding the demise of Canada's sovereignty and unity, not to mention undermining fundamental democracy. Shouldn’t there be a (proactive) think-tank for this issue?

Case in point: recent federal election.

1) Why is nobody questioning the use of *manual ballots*? Hello, US election?

This was an important -- and close -- federal election. NDP lost 10 seats by narrow margins; this included two highly popular Toronto candidates (Peggy Nash, Olivia Chow). To say manual balloting is more 'accurate' and offers 'more control' is confounding at best. Yet people swallowed it. Wasn't the reason for introducing electronic balloting (as used in Ontario's provincial election) to improve accuracy, efficiency, and help reduce possibility of tampering?

'How I could have voted three times' - James De Fiore, NOW Magazine

'Florida Faces Election Fracas' - Jacob Ogles, Wired

2) Examination of the parties, and angles explored, was trite and predictable.

Consider this: we live next door to the world's biggest super-power; there are wars going on, which we are indirectly supporting.

Not unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, Canada is important to the US and its future agenda, both strategically and logistically. We should be examining things from this perspective.

Right after taking power, Prime Minister Martin had an official visit with President Bush and 'vibes were very, very good,' according to media (TTC electronic news). In this same period, Martin axed several heads of crown corporations.

Piecemeal news events indicate Liberals under Martin (particularly in Ontario) are actively co-operating with US, yet *still* no major or alternative media outlets are researching the overall implications in any depth. If we don't start thinking on par with the US, the nation’s autonomy will shrink faster than one can say ‘NAFTA’.

3) Maclean’s Peter C. Newman’s explanation for Liberals resurging popularity lacks street credibility.

Perhaps the single largest factor boosting Liberals’ popularity was how much front-page media coverage Harper and New Conservatives got. ‘Good cop / bad cop’ interplay between Martin and Harper worked. It stirred palpable fear in people, which increased voter turn-out and caused people to vote strategically, abandoning NDPs along the way.

4) Analyzing post-election happenings.

a) Mulroney being considered for Air Can board speaks volumes.
(Unless our major institutions engage in self-inquiry to help keep corruption and such in check, Canada's integration/merger with the US will continue unabated. I doubt if the general populace has yet realized the implications: ie, Canada will inadvertently become part of the US war machine. Martin has already agreed to support weaponization of outerspace.)

b) Dennis Mills is being considered to oversee Toronto Port Authority. Toronto – Rochester tradings and minglings are speedily underway. And guess what? Large posters at Dundas-Yonge already vaunt it as “The New North” (, north of where?)

Meanwhile, there is an FBI presence in Toronto. Progressive and marginalized communities and organizations (including alternative media) are being monitored, infiltrated, and manipulated.

You probably know all this, but I feel compelled to comment -- not least because I myself am and have been under illegal surveillance and harassment. It is frightfully easy to penetrate and monitor groups, communities, and organizations from the inside.

How will conscientious journalists help ensure and maintain quality journalism now and in future? It used to be one of this country’s key strengths – yet grassroots power is waning. Voices that critique are getting isolated and suppressed, as you well know. Yet, without depth and variety of information and perspectives, citizens are unable to make informed choices.

Democracy in Canada - and for the free world - is increasingly on the line. Not an understatement, if one considers how little real say and influence the vast majority of thinking people have, both in Canada and the US.

Thank you for letting me share these thoughts.


Also, this may seem out in left field, but the current 9/11 Truth Movement and the Citizens' Inquiry into 9/11 (Phase 1 in San Francisco, Phase 2 in Toronto, and Phase 3 in New York this September) is critical to Canada's democratic future. This issue needs to be on every person's radar.

Toronto Star: 'Poking Holes in the Official Story'

Complete 9/11 Timeline


Citizens' Inquiry into 9/11


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