Supporting Democracy is More Than Remembrance Day

Remembering Those Who Did

October was not a very prolific month when it came to writing and, although it flew by, it really wasn’t that busy that I couldn’t have done some writing. There has certainly been an abundance of topics. And with that said I thought it would be beneficial to start the month of November off with what I consider to be a timely topic, Remembrance Day.

I never use to be a political junkie but have become much more so in the past ten years. I attribute part of this to the fact that I had worked with both provincial/federal government departments by that time and had retired from government jobs by 2000. For my last five years with a provincial government I held a policy/research analyst position with three of those years in a Deputy Ministers office.  This position put me very close to the decision making levels and it was quite an eye-opener.  The other contributor to this new found interest can be attribute it to the fact that every day I see news articles that show how our democratic process is being stripped away.

When I worked with government I began to recognize a huge disconnect between the average guy/gal (need to be inclusive here) and the policy/decision makers of the country. However, in all fairness, there were still avenues for citizens to have input and, contrary to what many politicians like to campaign on, there was much more transparency than I believe we see today. Contrary to (I can’t say popular because I don’t believe it is a popular opinion) the propaganda being fed to us these days by political parties governments is far less transparent then they profess to be.

Governments have always had access to huge amounts of data which they needed to help create beneficial public policy. As a policy/research analyst I was privy to a lot of that data from across government, not just one department or Ministry. I emphasize the word data because there are huge differences between data and information.

We use data to develop information which, in a perfect world, we convert into knowledge. However in a not so perfect world that same information can be converted into propaganda which is worlds away from knowledge. To me knowledge pulls people together on common issues while propaganda divides and polarizes people in seriously dangerous ways. Accurate information can be used to develop public policy based on need while propaganda is used to develop ideological based policy which is only beneficial to a smaller percentage of the public.

I believe that we are now living in dangerous times when it comes to the sanctity of the democratic process in Canada. This can be noted on any given day by just reviewing twenty minutes of national news. There doesn’t seem to be a day go by lately where there hasn’t been some news story involving some political corruption going on at some level. It is no longer the exception to the rule, it IS the rule. And rather than stand up and demand our democracy be returned to us we become apathetic and tune out which is exactly what ideological based political parties want. It works for them.

So with Remembrance Day right around the corner I plead with Canadians to come out of their trance and begin making your voice heard once again. All of us had either parents or grandparents who made great sacrifices to ensure Canada remained a democratic country. We applauded them; we celebrate them with, among other things, Remembrance Day for actions they undertook thousands of miles away. Let’s not let their actions and sacrifices be undone by tuning out to the actions of our politicians who are just a couple of hundred miles away.

Ask any veteran today, young or old, how valued they feel for the actions they took to maintain democracy and then think about their answer the next time you approach the polling booth. We now have a federal government who drapes themselves in the flag when they send our young men and women off to a war zone but then turns around to strip them of benefits when they return as a veteran. Is this the democracy our vets fought for? I don’t think so.

So please, don’t succumb to apathy, speak up, support democracy, support our vets and get your ass off of the sofa at each and every level of elections. It’s that simple. Our veterans dodged bullets or gave their life’s to defend Canadian democracy. All we have to do is walk into a polling booth.

Just one man’s opinion.


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