The following is an excerpt from the above linked-to article in which Michael Valpy asks thinkers how they think Canada can be put back together:
From a scholarly 1999 Senate report, from research by Heritage Canada published between 2000 and 2002, from work done under the auspices of the Atkinson Foundation published over the past three weeks in the Toronto Star, the symptoms identified have been the same, and they’ve been related.
A dramatically widening generational rift, with a depth and width we haven’t seen since the 1960s.
A rapidly growing disengagement of Canadians, especially young and economically vulnerable Canadians, from their democratic institutions.
The emergence of social and economic barriers to an inclusive society most noticeably in the workplace — leading, in a word, to inequality. Or maybe two words: “class warfare.”…
Nationally and provincially, Canada is heading toward voter participation rates of less than 50 per cent. Young and poor Canadians vote in such small numbers that it makes it difficult for any political party or government in the country to claim to speak for them. Canada’s youngest cohort of voters may fall into the teens in the next federal election.
This is pushing democratic legitimacy to a crisis stage. In a decade or two, younger voters will be in the prime of their lives and paying for the political choices of their now departed grandparents. These choices are not likely to reflect the priorities or the needs of next Canada.
If we can make jury duty mandatory, we can make the basic task of democracy mandatory. If we can legally enforce rights of citizenship, we can legally enforce responsibilities of citizenship.
Michael Valpy’s examination of a disintegrating Canada isn’t unwelcome, but at the end of the day it’s propaganda. It’s the same old “We have democracy and therefore don’t need to look for it.” In this case, Valpy essentially makes the case that there are big flaws in the country called Canada, but that they can be fixed and then everything will be okay. His solutions, minus the frightening proposal to make voting mandatory, aren’t bad – if we aren’t going to ditch corporatocracy. But we don’t need, and can’t afford, corporatocracy and the believers in inequality who run it. ‘That’ has to go. Valpy is oblivious.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows:
I find it frightening that people would consider forcing me to vote, even if I can spoil my ballot or something. And tossing in the idea of pr voting ‘separately’ from that proposal confirms for me the orientation of the author. As much as I appreciate the better than average examination of our problems here, in a major daily, I don’t trust the intentions. You can’t ask me to support corporatocracy – in ANY FASHION. There are no serious people’s parties. Get them ‘first’. Would you ask citizens in Nazi Germany to become more civically engaged in their society by getting out and voting? You may think, Michael, that our governments haven’t been captured, but are merely too deferential to, powerful special interests, particularly corporations, but that’s dangerously wrong. And those corporations are psychopathic. Fix that. Talk to power. Power and it’s love of inequality is the problem. (For example, See Yves Engler “Canada’s Naked Self-Interest In Foreign Policy.” Canada = Canada’s 1%)