Democracy in Canada   Leave a comment

How does one define “democracy”?

The Green Party here in Canada has sent me a note which illustrates the trend towards less democracy, as I know it, here in Canada. The letter from the Greens, in part, reads:

“Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline runs straight through major Canadian cities, including Sarnia, the GTA and Montreal, passing 9.1 million people, and nearly 100 towns and cities.

“Installed in the mid-1970s, this aging pipe system is set to be modified. A proposal is in place to reverse the flow of this pipeline and expand its carrying capacity.

“But if you are one of the millions of Canadians along its route who wish to communicate legitimate concerns about this project to the National Energy Board (NEB), you will have to apply for permission to do so.

“New rules implemented due to the rewriting of federal environmental assessment law in omnibus bill C-38 last spring mean Canadians are required to submit a 10 page application, including a resume and references within a two week deadline, just to ask permission from the NEB to submit a letter of comment on pipeline proposals.

“Permission will only be granted to those deemed “directly affected” by the NEB, which has restricted public comment even further by adding its own deadlines.”

Is this the “democratic process” that Canadians dream of? Do we want a “democracy” where citizens are:

“required to submit a 10 page application, including a resume and references within a two week deadline, just to ask permission from the NEB to submit a letter of comment on pipeline proposals.”

Each of us has an important patch on the quilt of creation. We are all directly affected by decisions on pipelines, pollution of the air and water, and econotheism.

Who gets to decide which citizens can participate in making the pattern for us, and the next generations? Is this the new “democracy”, or is it doublespeak?

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