(Submitted by PEl Provincial Council of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada)
Whereas our country has been founded on and promotes on the world stage the principles of democracy,
and whereas the political practice has become so party-oriented that many elected
representatives have lost their voices
and whereas the procedure in our Provincial Legislature and our Canadian Parliament often shows a great lack of respect for the rights and responsibilities of elected members to express sincere and meaningful opinions on matters of public interest,
therefore be it resolved that the PEl Provincial Council of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada begin a campaign to advocate that democratic principles be restored to the many different levels of our governments so that each duly-elected member has the opportunity to study, reflect upon, and be given the opportunity to have meaningful input into any legislation within their jurisdiction.
The Catholic Women’s League of Canada has a motto with the words “For God and Canada”. Our love for God is strong and the guiding principle of our actions. Love for our country, Canada, is strongly displayed in the pride we show in our country’s achievements in sports, art, literature, and science. We take great pride in our history in the establishment of such a great country, and especially in the military achievements of our veterans during times of war. We also take great pride in engaging in international services in support of democracies in other countries. In fact. between 1990 – 2006, Elections Canada has organized approximately 400 international democratic development missions in 100 countries. (Elections Canada, 2006) In a recent statement, on the occasion of the announcement of Canada’s new “Office of Religious Freedom”, Prime Minister Harper quoted Sir Wilfred Laurier: “Canada is free and freedom is its nationality.”
We are proud of our freedom …freedom of personal conscience and freedom to choose who will govern our country. Yet there have been many examples over the years of how this freedom has been abused and our right to representation by our elected members has been eroding at the hands of party politics, big money sponsorship, favouritism in allotment of revenues, and lavish personal expenditures at the public’s expense.
Ordinary Canadians know of such abuses, but are confused or feel helpless as to what can be done to change systemic abuses. If Canadians believe in the value of their individual votes, they can believe in their own ability to change politics to insure that their voice is heard, respected, and effective in the actions of good governance in municipal, provincial, and federal government bodies.
Canadians can get to know their candidates and what the candidates’ views are on issues that matter most to the constituents. Regardless of how a constituent votes, the-elected member becomes representative of everyone in the constituency, so it then becomes important to begin or continue communications with the representative, monitor their input into debates, and hold them accountable for how they vote.
In spite of so many reports of abusive use of power and position, very seldom has an
elected member been found to be in conflict of interest because the terms of the Conflict of Interest Act are so broad. There exists in Canada an Office of Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner who administers the Conflict of Interest Act and Ethics Code for members of the House of Commons and the Senate. The elaborate expenditures and favoritism in appointments indicates that the Act must be adjusted in order to provide Canadians with a just “Democratic” government.
After the last federal election when a young New Democratic Party MP,
Lysane. Blanchette-Lamothe (Pierrefonds-Dollard), was intimidated in the House of Commons and by the media, her constituents protested that if their representative was being attacked, they were being attacked.
Canadians have a right to be proud of our Country, but we will be even more justly proud when we reject activities within our government which are not in harmony with what we understand to be the principles of democracy. Canada deserves a true democracy at home and only then will our foreign missions on developing democracy be authentic.
- Get to know the candidates running for election.
- Establish a line of communication with your elected representative.
- Ask your MP or MLA to provide relevant information from the government body as opposed to Political Party information.
- Monitor how your representative votes on issues and government legislation, and hold them accountable.
- Speak out to your representative and others whenever you understand there has been abuse of power and of revenue.
- Believe that you can make a difference.
Web site: Elections Canada
CPAC February 19,2013
Statement from Hon. Stephen Harper, February 19,2013