Legitimacy in Canadian democracy   Leave a comment

IMG_1326Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, “David and Goliath”(p.208), defines the principle of legitimacy as being based on three things:

1) the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice – that if they speak up, they will be heard.

2) the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today.

3) the authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another.

In Canadian democracy today, it seems to me, two of the three (above) do not apply.

1) Politicians “listen” mainly to corporations – especially oil companies. When was the last time the Prime Minister gathered people from a food bank to hear their concerns?

2) The rules are different for the rich and powerful – i.e. Conrad Black, Nigel Wright, Senators Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau, the Conservative Party of Canada (robo calls), Toronto’s Mayor Ford, etc.

Are people opting out of the political system because they feel that it is illegitimate?

Is the system that we have in place at this time  illegitimate, in terms of being democratic?

Is this is a time when we, the citizens of Canada, need to act to make the House of Commons representative of the “common people” of this nation, and not the political elite?

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