Thursday, August 6, 2015

Big political party leaders disrespectful of democratic principles

Here's an official press release from Strength in Democracy today:

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Jennifer McCreath

Big political party leaders disrespectful of democratic principles

Rimouski, August 6 2015 – “We are witnessing very undemocratic behaviors on the part of the leaders of the big political parties in Canada. While this is not a new phenomenon, we’ve not witnessed it as markedly as is now the case. The attitudes of the leaders of the main political parties towards debates and the media suggest a lack of respect for democracy. They act as if they owe no accountability to anyone and as if democracy is there to serve their own self interests and that of their parties rather than to serve the citizens that are being asked to vote October 19th” [translation] declared the leader of Strength in Democracy/Forces et Démocracie and candidate in Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, Jean-François Fortin.

“Ensuring citizens are able to watch and listen to party leaders debate their ideas and their vision is an essential element of a sound democratic society, and more particularly of sound, democratic and fair electoral campaigns. It is not only a right, but should be an obligation to ensure citizens have the information they need to make an informed decision on elections day. When leaders of the main political parties avoid journalists or when they choose the debates they will participate in based on their own self interest and that of their party, they necessarily demonstrate a fundamental lack of respect for democracy and for the citizens they purport to want to represent in the House of Commons. The fact that leaders – particularly the prime minister – decide the format, themes, location and dates of the debates (!) is a strong indicator that our electoral system needs to be fundamentally revisited” [translation] Fortin continued.

Despite slogans calling for change, opposition leaders’ actions speak for themselves and prove that slogans are simply rhetoric. Thomas Mulcair tries to control the media while being wishy-washy about his participation in the debates while Justin Trudeau has been vague about his own participation. Rather than truly wanting to replace the leader of the conservative party, it looks like Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau are seeking to emulate him, warts and all! Have they not yet understood that citizens don’t want Harper anymore? And a bearded Harper or a forty something one won’t do either?

“For Force et Démocracie/Strength and Democracy, the democratic process needs to be as open and as accessible as possible to all citizens. All parties represented in the House of Commons at the time of dissolution should be invited to the debates and no leader should be aloud to hold press conferences to “spin” their partisan lines without also answering a minimum of questions from journalists. If you wish to govern a democratic country, you must respect democratic principles, period” [translation] concluded the leader of Forces et Démocratie/Strength in Democracy Jean-François Fortin.

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