Canada and the United States: Where Democracy Went to Die


By Jim Mauro

Thunder Bay – OPINION – Around the globe, there are various forms of government, from military takeovers, religious governments, to socialism, communism, and democracy. Even dictatorships can have benefits but unfortunately, there are very few examples of one man with power working on behalf of their own people: “absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

In Canada and the United States, democracy is the style of governance. Everyone of voting age can participate in the political process. While it may not be the best system in the world, “it beats whatever is second best”. Our two systems are not exact. The US directly votes for their President, while here we vote for our representative party.

It is easy to believe that democracy will always continue. What many fail to realize is that democracy relies on the participation of those being governed. Apathy can lead to autocracy but people have chosen to care so little about what happens to their government that they take little notice of what is going on around them. Our own city demonstrated this most recently in our last city election.

In both countries for at least a decade, the parties seem to be moving away from the middle of the political spectrum towards the far left and right. Each political team has decided that only they can save democracy seeming to ignore the obvious perils of that concept. Let’s begin in the US.

You would have ignored every single media source over the past eight years in the United States to not realize that Donald Trump has been a focal point of the country. News cycles are dominated by this man who rose to the Presidency in what can only be described as a giant, “S@@@@ you” to the establishment in electing a man with zero idea of what the constitution says or how government works.


While Trump was “draining the swamp”, a catchy but meaningless slogan, he was building a much deeper swamp for family and friends while using hate and anger to fuel his objectives. A man who up until he ran for office wouldn’t recognize a church if he was standing in front of it, suddenly became a symbol of the religious right likely on the sole issue of abortion.

A Presidential election took place in the fall of 2020. It was clear that to his supporters, only a Trump victory could prove a fair election. Should Trump lose, then obviously the election was rigged. To Trump supporters, logic, facts, and even physical recounts of votes are not enough to sway their belief. Two years later Trump continues to beat this drum despite countless republicans acknowledging a Biden win.

Trump supporters believe there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of people involved in this “alleged” conspiracy. For this to be true, it would include the court system, thousands of elected republicans, with no one bringing forward one shred of verifiable evidence that this conspiracy exists. To them Trump is the rightful occupant of the Presidency. Millions of republicans believe the democratic system is broken and only their team can fix it. How exactly do you have a rational conversation with these people, when some of them are calling for violence?

When people are convinced, I would use the term conned, into believing the system is rigged, you risk losing democracy to violence. They are incapable of even considering they may be wrong. They believe it, so it must be true.

Now I am sure those that love Trump will be critical of me with the “long time Liberal label” while not having a clue about my voting record. But for fairness, we can certainly look at what is going on in this country that may call into question our ability to maintain our democracy.

Election 2021 - Justin Trudeau

Our current Prime Minister is Justin Trudeau and by any measure, was voted into office more on the strength of his last name, than any great success he had prior to entering political office. He has won three elections, the last one in a minority government and it took a deal with the NDP party for him to remain Prime Minister.

In the last election, the Liberals did not win the popular vote but because of how those votes were distributed across various ridings, it resulted in less seats for the Conservatives. Trump also won the Presidency while losing the popular vote. The person with the most votes is not always the winner.

The Prime Minister needed NDP support to obtain enough seats to form a majority. What was promised to the NDP is rarely revealed which in a democracy is disturbing. What policy was put forward, what riding would receive financial support, what person would be appointed to boards/committees, all promises potentially made under this scenario, all of it not what most Canadians voted for.

I have concerns when a system allows a minority party, to wield far more power than the Canadian electorate wanted to give it. Is that truly a democratic process? Some would argue yes. In this scenario with the NDP, I would disagree. I have another problem with our current system.

Success continues to elude the Green Party at the ballot box. Why are they part of national debates as they have been in the past. How is one seat enough to be on the debate stage with the Prime Minister? The Bloc Quebecois party represents one province. Why are they also included except out of fear if they are not. A party with no national agenda, being part of a national debate. I do not think that makes us a stronger democracy. In fact, the more parties available to split the anti-government vote, the more likely the party in power can remain.

Our Prime Minister has taken his share of political hits and has had a few run-ins with the ethics czar. Yet with the Conservative Party’s inability to get out of its own way, the Liberals have been able to remain in power.

When Covid arrived, it changed the world for almost three years, and many would argue that our government went too far in its handling of this crisis. Count me among those who had a few questions about what the government did.

I was concerned that our country was slow to adapt as the knowledge of this disease grew. I was also disturbed over how the government handled the trucker’s convoy that travelled to Ottawa to protest the governments requirements for vaccinations. I was vaccinated because I chose to believe what the medical people were saying and what I was reading. Others did not. I do not agree with them but what I believe is irrelevant to the discussion. In a democracy, other people get to have an opposing view. They get to say they do not wish to get the vaccine. The government is also free to impose restrictions, not curtain rights, on those who do not wish to get a vaccine. Travelling by plane is not a “right” it is a privilege, just like going to a restaurant is. People often get the two confused.

Rights are the ability to live where you wish, to love who you wish, to vote, to practice whatever religion you wish, to be free from arbitrary arrest. Those are rights. Privileges are the ability to obtain a licence to drive, to be able to enter a business, to go to a park, all of them that can and sometimes do come with restrictions. So far so good. We will not force you to get the vaccine. However, if you do not, some of your privileges as Canadians will be curtailed. Both sides should be able to see the logic in those positions.

But when the federal government decided to invoke the emergency measures act (EMA), the country should have taken notice and asked the question: was this necessary? Well, I suppose you would find supporters on both sides, but I would not be on the supporting side.

This is a partial outline of the EMA:

A national emergency is an urgent, temporary, and critical situation that seriously endangers the health and safety of Canadians or that seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity of Canada.  It must be a situation that cannot be effectively dealt with by the provinces and territories, or by any other law of Canada.

Were the protests in Ottawa so serious as to threaten the sovereignty of our nation? Were our territorial borders at risk? Were the protests annoying, frustrating, aggravating, and troubling? Sure. Did those who live in downtown Ottawa deserve the protests right outside their doorsteps, likely not. Does that give rise to the requirements of this legislation, where banking institutions were directed to target some of those involved in the protest and freeze some accounts. I am not sure that it did. I can certainly accept that I may not have all the information on what took place, but anyone concerned about our democracy should be wanting a full and independent report for all Canadians to judge for themselves if these actions were warranted. To assist tow truck drivers in removing transport trucks, by itself does not seem enough to warrant this act being imposed.

The provincial and federal governments knew for weeks the trucks were travelling to Ottawa. Steps could have been taken to ensure the streets remained open but that protests were allowed. They could have limited access only to trucks delivering goods to specific addresses into the downtown core. The government could have taken preventative steps by ensuring the trucks were to remain outside the downtown area. They allowed this situation to develop.

It can lead suspicious people to ask if they allowed this protest to invoke the EMA, to achieve something they may not have otherwise been able to achieve. I do not know if that was the case, but this legislation is designed to deal with a threat to the country, but was used to stop a protest, one of the fundamental cores of any democracy. And without going down this rabbit hole today, this same government acted quite differently during a rail blockade. Is anyone asking why?

Lockdowns at the beginning of the pandemic are easy to accept. But allowing the Walmart on Arthur St. to be open and not allow a salon owner to maintain his business with one client at a time, made no sense to me. To limit a restaurant that can seat 100 to the same numbers as a restaurant that can only seat 20, also made little sense.A 360-degree review should take place about the government’s response before the next pandemic hits.

To limit what is already a lengthy article, I have avoided discussing the new rules create by Facebook due to the actions of our federal government. You can no longer view Canadian news because of this war of words initiated by our PM. Our Prime Minister sought out this fight with Facebook, then was critical of Facebook for not carrying the news stories about the fires in BC. Did he believe that his fight with would not result in consequences for the country? Did his effort to limit a private entity in what can and cannot be posted on their site assist our democracy, or hurt it? I would suggest the latter because for far too many people, Facebook is the only place people get their news. How are we improving democracy by reducing access to news stories that people may not otherwise see?

I find it ironic that I can write this article, submit it to NETNEWSLEDGER who will post it on their site but I the creator of this article, cannot post the link on Facebook. This, all in the name of “protecting Canada’s interests” while in reality, they are reducing people’s knowledge, a vital component to any well functioning democracy.

Millions upon millions of people in what is arguably the most important democracy in the world, believe that a self-proclaimed genius, is the rightful heir to the Presidency while ignoring the threat he possesses to their country. Despite his buffoonery of proving the election was rigged, he or his lawyers have provided nothing, yet his “cult worshipers” still believe it. Is this how a democracy should move forward, where one party will support a man for President, even if he is criminally convicted? How does any democracy withstand that pressure?

How is it acceptable that the Emergency Measures Act was justified because tow truck drivers did not want to attend downtown Ottawa to remove the transport trucks? Was this really the only option available? And how do we go from dealing with transport trucks to using the banks to target some of the participants, action unavailable to the Federal government without the EMA being invoked? This should cause even the most die-hard Liberal supporter, to question the use of this legislation, no matter how noble the goal may have been. Democracy is not easy. It involves accepting that some may not agree with you and accepting that you cannot always get your way. Democracy includes compromise. You will not always win, and you will not always lose. Accepting that, means growth and a healthy form of governance.

Are we smart enough to look at these issues and do our part to ensure these risks to our way of life are minimized or even eliminated. I am not sure, but given the voting records of this country, I am not hopeful. People are great at complaining, and great at believing that they cannot make change, but that is a fool’s belief. Voting is one of the best ways to make a positive change.

One of the things I admire the most about the people of the United States is their willingness to stand in line for hours to cast their vote. In Canada, people would be screaming if they had to wait 30 minutes. If you want change, if you want government to be truly reflective of your desires, then get off the couch, head down to the voting booth and cast a ballot. But before you do, take a few minutes out of your daily routine, and look at the issues, understand what you are voting for, what may be at risk and why it is necessary to become involved. Someone is going to win. It may be up to you to decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing for your city, your province, or the democracy you believe will be around for ever. If you do not use your vote, don’t be surprised when it and democracy no longer exist. Just a thought.

Jim Mauro


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