Election, good for democracy?

Welcome back, I mean to election politics.
Isn’t it nice that we now have an annual event which we might well call “the farce of representative democracy”?

Welcome back, I mean to election politics.

Isn’t it nice that we now have an annual event which we might well call “the farce of representative democracy”?

Once again politicians are raising the possibility of going to the ballot box.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has announced that they will attempt to unseat the government in a confidence vote as soon as the legislature opens.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper retaliated by announcing that his government would introduce legislation to allow enhancement of unemployment benefits in a way that will please NDP, which, in turn, should prevent his government’s downfall.

That immediately brings to mind the naive question: If Mr. Harper had the means to implement an expansion of unemployment benefits before the threat of the vote of confidence, why didn’t he do so? If he didn’t and still doesn’t have the means, where will he find the resources now and why didn’t he seek these resources before?

Of course, in the world of politics such questions are only to be swept under the carpet.

But there is something more serious than political maneuvering: Our politicians are contributing to a growing voter apathy within the society.

The electorate has been asked to vote either in federal or parliamentary elections every year over the past few years.

Taking the trouble to go to the ballot box is nothing, but it’s the environment of tension and mutual recriminations that exhaust people.

After all, for the politicians, it is only part of their job to sharpen the rhetoric, heighten the tension, agitate supporters and raise funds.

But the residual impact of the repeated electoral campaigns among the population is a growing disdain and mistrust in the political elite.

There is one more element that has to be taken into account: If there is yet another election campaign, we will be voting in the midst of a serious economic crisis.

History has shown that in turbulent times, people have always wanted a “strong leadership” and regardless of the level of development, education or civility of a society, such tendencies for an iron hand could create some surprising results.

It is enough to remember just two recent examples of France and Austria, where racist politicians became contenders for high office in the ‘90s.

If one thinks that it can not happen in Canada, I would just respond “Never say never.”

— Mustafa Eric