TORONTO - Modern Democracy demands political players conversant with the issues, and in a constant state of readiness. The citizenry soon separates those who articulate national visons from those who pursue personal ambitions exclusively. Look towards Britain, Italy, the USA.
Italy is not the historic “cradle of democracy”, but history has taught politicians to “carpe diem” and take to the streets (scendere in piazza) to bare their views for the public to critique or to support, before the issues sweep them under. Planning for citizen engagement does not take days or weeks, let alone months. Be prepared or be lost.
The political arena in the beautiful peninsula is a no-holds barred political maelstrom where the slightest miscue or weakness stimulates the predatory instinct of all players in the game – including the (very few) otherwise “passive voters”. One gets to know quickly whether any player has the royal jelly or whether that jelly has staying power.
With minor variations, it’s no different in other European countries. Even in “genteel” Britain the politicaI forum and parliamentary machinations are just short of unforgiving. How could it not be so? The main issues are much like those flowing from a messy divorce in the making: separation from European partners and dissolution of a [previously] United Kingdom. There is a lot at stake.
In Hong Kong, where a different definition of democratic institutions rules the day, but people remain acutely aware of their rights and privileges in an autonomous State, citizens take to the streets – literally – by the hundreds of thousands in reaction to questionable initiatives by their Executive Branch.
An erratic US President seems to invite on-coming buses to test their brakes as they hurtled towards him. The buses are only equipped with accelerators.
Yes, democracy is “messy”. Use your words to defend your ideals or fight using your bodies. In Canada not so much. Our political leadership would rather be judged on the number and nature of parades they attend. That way they don’t have to worry about saying anything.
Which brings us to an imminent federal election. It’s the law. As in increasingly the norm, the candidates will “strut their stuff on issues” in a staid debate format, in English and in French – maybe. The Prime Minister (about to become candidate) Justin Trudeau has turned down opportunities to attend all but two of them. Strategic reasoning that has nothing to do with the public’s interest.
In any case, Debate Strategists have already conveniently dismissed as irrelevant the 7.8 million Canadians who still function in a language that is neither of those two.
It is fair to ask if that 22% of the Canadian population shares the same “issues” and concerns which the ten Media and Press outlets comprising the “Commission” (five Anglo, five French language) that determines the format of the debates. Ready yourself for a negative response. We are not likely to find out because the National Ethnic Press and Media Council, representing 650 media and press organizations wasn’t even invited to the table.
Cabinet “heavyweights” with “ethnic sounding names”, like Nav Bains, Ahmed Hussen and Pablo Rodriguez (defender and promoter of Canadian Heritage) must have declared to the central campaign that “it’s ok” to ignore such a large chunk of the Canadian demographic.
Oh Wait! Bains is the National Campaign Co-Chair and Rodriguez is the Quebec Campaign Chair; Hussen is the “carrot” they dangle before the immigrant communities. None of them have responded to telephone requests for comment.
Silence must be golden. Or they have been watching political personalities like Trump, Johnson and Salvini “flame out” when they meet the public.
Courage and conviction must be in short supply. Better to rely on Convenience. Who knows if Scheer and Singh think so too.