Green Island Backgrounders

August 2006

Managed Elections: Is Canada REALLY A Democracy?

That question might come as a surprise to many if not most Canadians, but what is happening currently in Canada is NOT government of, by and for We the People, as we are told and taught and seem to generally believe, but government of, by and for a behind-the-scenes Oligarchy, with full spectrum indoctrination and propaganda and enforcement as necessary to make the people believe they actually run the country, and those who comprise the Oligarchy, although mostly known publically, are really nothing more than hard-working, wealthy citizens, with no special influence in the government (and if you believe that, the man said, I have some absolutely wonderful beachfront property on Baffin Island that I need to offload, that is, sell, and you look like just the sort of person I've been looking for.... sorry, I digress, I guess there's a little capitalist in all of us... ).

I know that's a statement that most Canadians would greet with some astonishment, soon followed by laughter and derision, so let me try to explain why I feel this way. And please note - what follows is not some 'definitive proof' - there can be no such thing in matters that are colored in shades of gray rather than black and white, but if you are interested in truth, as we are in Green Island, the things here will point the way to some ideas you may be unfamiliar with - including why your 'great free Canadian media' has not been alerting you to the actual situation. Beware - some people you trusted have been lying to you a lot, and what follows may be somewhat unpleasant.

We are taught from our earliest days, through our schools, our business leaders, our parents, all authority figures whom we contact, with constant reminders in the media, that Canada is one of the great democracies in the world - who could possibly doubt it? We have regular elections so those who govern are regularly and directly accountable to we the people, anyone can run in an election, we have parties with quite different philosophies to choose from, we have a media which is completely free and who take their responsibility to we citizens very seriously, and give us all the news we need, including regularly exposing government misdeeds, we have, overall, through our great democratic government and hard working people, one of the most prosperous and most highly regarded countries in the world - why, the entire world looks to Canada as one of the great democracies! - of COURSE it's a great democracy!!

Well, all of that is great boosterism, but boosterism isn't facts. What do we find when we turn off the rah-rah man and look at some facts?

One observation to begin with - you should not confuse a pleasant situation with a democratic situation - just because Farmer Bob treats his cows better than Farmer Fred does not mean Farmer Bob's cows are living in a democracy.

One question with two parts to start off with, to engage your brain: First, we all know that poll after poll after poll has shown over the last 20-30+ years that 60-80% of Canadians, depending on the exact question, favor either outright legalisation or at least decriminalisation of soft drugs such as marijuana - yet the Canadian courts and jails continue to be full of people whose only 'crime' is being caught with a small amount of marijuana, and the government encourages other 'crimes' such as the 'grow-ops' (great new buzz word for the media), as over half of all crime in Canada is drug-related. Never mind your personal excuses for maintaining these laws - if such a high percentage of the people of Canada want their country to be taking this path, and it is not - we are NOT living in a democracy. You just can't pretend otherwise. And second, similarly, if the government of Canada is so democratic, and thus reflective of the will of the people - how is it that public opinion polls have consistently shown over the last 20 years that a strong majority of Canadians (we're talking 80-90% majority here, not the 25% election-style "majorities" common in Canada I will look at a bit later) want the health care system strengthened and improved, and don't much care about cutting corporate taxes - and yet every national government for those 20 years has followed precisely the reverse program - cutting corporate taxes (and bragging loudly about it), and slashing the social support system in Canada, primarily the health care system? And which Canadian group has been calling on the government during this period for precisely this program of cutting social support programs and corporate taxes? - well, of course it has been the major business lobby group in the country (BCNI-CCCE), speaking for the country's wealthiest corporations and business leaders.

Now, you can make all kinds of excuses for these policies of keeping all drugs illegal and slashing social support systems (golly, we just can't afford it!) along with corporate taxes (makes us more competetive rah rah!) (these rationalizations are easily refutable and not at all compelling) - but what you cannot do is pretend they are in line with the will of the people of Canada - as noted, a strong majority of Canadians has been constantly opposed to these policies, and yet those policies are what the government undertakes, Liberal or Conservative, government after government - meaning that the 'representatives' of 'we the people', as 'elected' by us, are NOT doing what we want them to, but what the business lobby wants them to - the business lobby which represents the elite, wealthy oligarchy of Canada. And that is NOT democratic, in the sense of "we the majority of the people of Canada" running the country. And that is very strong, and direct, and irrefutable evidence that the government of Canada is indeed run following the wishes of the small wealthy elite of the country, and NOT responsive to We the People. This is no anomaly, but seen constantly in all major programs the government undertakes, year after year.

And it is no anomaly either that our "free" Canadian media never talk about such things from the perspective of democracy.

And whatever else it is, it is assuredly NOT democratic.

And there are many more things happening in our country that makes labelling it "democratic" nonsensical, at least insofar as that word has the meaning of "government of, by and for we the people". Let's look at the major ones.

One reminder: "democracy" is always, as far as I am aware, used in the sense of "majority" rule - if you have 100 people, and 51 want to go left and 49 want to go right, "democracy" as expressed by voting would have the group going left. If you go left, and the 49 are effectively telling the 51 what to do - can you call that democracy?

So, in Canada.

First, the whole electoral system we use to elect our "representatives" is highly undemocratic, in almost every way - it is "democratic" in that we do get to cast a vote, and the votes are fairly counted (unlike in a certain country to the south of us, where many people are denied the vote and what votes are cast are "counted" rather mysteriously, with mysterious results that do not seem to be in accord with exit polls, for instance, and other such things that are normally used to evaluate the legitimacy of a vote counting process - google "Diebold" if you haven't heard of this, as you won't if you have been relying on the Canadian MSM for your info) - but what happens before and after that?

Before we cast the vote here, it is true that in theory pretty much anyone can run for election in Canada - but are all candidates equal, with, in the practical sense, a fair chance of being elected, based on a comparison of a fair hearing of their ideas along with the ideas of other candidates, as would, it seems to me, be the case in a true democracy? Well, "fairness" does not seem to be a part of the Canadian political process, for several reasons. It is very obvious that the party candidate with a couple of hundred thousand dollars in the campaign chest and front page coverage in the local newpaper every day has a far, far greater chance of being elected than the independent candidate with a couple of thousand dollars and no coverage whatsoever in the local papers, or a member of a small party whose national leader may even be excluded from the national debates. Candidates in the modern Canadian election must pass two gatekeepers before they get any public exposure at all - the gatekeeper of money, and the gatekeeper of the media, which is money-related in the sense of paid advertising, but also the media, virtually acting with one will in such things, decides who will be considered by the busy voters who depend on the media for their information as a credible candidate and who will not, simply by the amount and type of coverage given to the people running, outside of paid advertising. So if some candidates are presented as 'credible choices' with major coverage from day one and some as marginalized from the very beginning in a short campaign with virtually no coverage of their position on the various issues or even stories belittling them in some way, we the voters are very obviously being herded in a certain direction by the media - even if some voters resist the herding, most trust the media, and follow along with their suggestions, understanding that although several people may be standing for election, the "real" choice is only between candidates A, B or C, and D, E and F can be ignored (even if, as we often see, the candidate from Party A is a known liar and promise breaker and has done all sorts of things Canadians really dislike, and Candidate E is speaking sincerely about all of the things Canadians seem to approve of - even if Canadians seem to dislike both Party A and Party B, the media will push them both, basically telling the voters to choose the lesser of two evils among the two candidates they dislike, and telling them to ignore the other candidates who might be speaking for them). You can make any arguments you want about the desirability of party-sanctioned candidates, or wanting people with a certain financial standing in the community, or whatever - but you can NOT argue that this gatekeeping process the media undertakes is in any way truly democratic. It tilts the balance very much in favor of certain candidates and against others - and it should not be up to the media, in any true democracy, but to the citizens themselves, to decide who is credible and who is not. I'll look a bit more at the media later, and their role in Canada's "democracy".

And then, after the voters have cast their ballots, most good citizens in line with the urgings of the gatekeepers and voting for tweedledee or tweedledum, we have the post-ballot stage.

The FPTP (first past the post) system of choosing MPs etc is highly undemocratic in any political system with more than two parties, at least insofar as "democracy" is thought to mean majority rule (only 2 or 3 modern western democracies still use this old system, most having changed to some form of "proportional representation", which means that the parties running are awarded seats more or less in the same proportion as the number of votes they received). In Canada, with this antiquated FPTP system which works fine in 2-party systems but is of little use in the multi-party systems found in every modern democracy (not in the US you say?? well, we never accused the US of being a democracy, actually....), we are normally governed here in Canada by a party being awarded a "majority" government while receiving well under 50% of the popular vote - and with decreasing voter turnouts, that means it is possible, and usual, for a political party to get a majority government - meaning essentially carte blanche to do as they please for the next 4-5 years - with the support of some 25% of the Canadian voting age population (and considerably less if you count the young adults of ages say 14-21 who are not allowed to vote - you might think about the reasons for this). This is, for instance, approximately the support the Mulroney government had for its strong "majority" government in 1988 that passed the very unpopular Free Trade Act - a majority of voters actually voted against this, and an even larger majority of Canadians opposed it, but because of the very undemocratic way the FPTP works, Mulroney got his "majority", and Canadians got the FTA - against the wishes of most of them, this very major new constitutional amendment was forced on Canada (I know it wasn't billed as a constitutional amendment, more shell games, but when you figure that after the FTA and NAFTA, corporations were more or less officially running the country, it can be seen as little else than the enshrining of a Corporate Bill of Rights in the Canadian constitution). And I ask you - Democracy? How so?

There are many arguments that are made in favor of this electoral system - but it is difficult to see how anyone can claim it is democratic, in the usual sense of that word which always has "majority of the people" in its meaning somewhere, given that under this system, governments with 'majority' powers are almost always elected by no more than 20-30% of the overall voting age population, and then do as they please for the next 4-5 years, no matter how many people dislike what they do.

"A 'party,' as the term was commonly understood, was nothing more than a 'faction,' meaning an organized minority whose very purpose was to undercut the public will, usually by devious and corrupt means. To call someone a member of a political party was to accuse him of systematic selfishness and perhaps even outright treason." - an American writer named Ted Lang in an interesting piece called America - A Failed Republic

So the method of electing our representatives is not very democratic - but they do get elected, and we wind up with an elected "party" forming the government (I won't bother tangenting into minorities, they are infrequent and always replaced in short order with a "majority" - probably because the powers that be are quite unhappy with minorities, as they are much closer to a proportional rep sort of government, and the few elected reps who actually speak for the people actually have a chance to exert some influence - all sorts of things the elites don't like manage to happen under minority governments in Canada) - so how democratic is the "party" system of "democratic government", actually? Well, not very at all, if you undress it a bit. Actually, there are some pretty strong arguments to be made that the party system is government of, by and for the elites. Let's look at it a bit, from a perspective you will not find in your civics book or the MSM.

The first essential point concerning "party democracy" is that, although this is never explicitly pointed out by the media or anyone else, by voting for a candidate who represents a party, the voter says they agree with that party's policies, overall (or perhaps as we often see they think the policies of the party they vote for are less objectionable than the other main opposing party which they do NOT want elected), and grant that party, should they be elected, the right to govern Canada as they wish for as long as they manage to retain a "mandate" - and with a "majority" government, that period can be extended to a full five years (and it will make no difference whatsoever to any of this discussion if this is reduced to four years as some of the 'fixed election date' people are talking about - what a red herring masquerading as useful "election reform" that whole idea is...), regardless of how drastically support for their policies may drop during that time, or what laws and regulations they choose to enact against the will of the people.

Now - this is quite unlike the theory of "democracy" we are taught in school or elsewhere, wherein the voters elect members of parliament from individual ridings, and those elected representatives go to Ottawa and speak for the people in their riding, concerning any issues that might arise during the life of the parliament.

In the party system as it actually functions in modern party politics, actual consultation with the constituents of the riding where the member is elected is simply not part of the package (although every candidate promises such things to get elected, and to maintain the myth of "democracy" none of the media ever talk about this - there are some meetings with 'the party faithful' from time to time, usually in a fundraising capacity, but these are in no way riding consulations). In reality, as we see constantly and is even admitted in various mainstream publications from time to time, the role of the average backbencher "representative" is to go to Ottawa and vote as the party leaders tell them to on issues of importance. From time to time they will also get memos from the party HQ on what the party plans to do, and then it is their job to take that policy or whatever back to the riding and justify or sell it to the constituents - all very much the reverse of what is supposedly meant by "representative" government, wherein MPs discuss issues with their constituents and go to Ottawa to present the resulting riding point of view to the national debate, and vote on any issue in the interests of the constituents they represent. Such a system, it should be very obvious, is very much NOT democratic, insofar as that idea means government of, by and for the people - not of, by and for the party which has won an election, regardless of the level of actual popular support (which, as noted earlier, usually does not exceed 25% or so of the voting population). "Opposition" parties behave no differently in terms of "representing" the people, although since they are not actually charged with passing whatever legislation the real rulers desire (usually more tax breaks or other things the corporate sector desires to increase their profit making ability) they are much freer to pretend to agree with what we the people are feeling about anything - but in the final analysis, those elected under the banner of these "opposition" parties have the same primary obligation - to represent their party's position in the parliament, not the wishes of their supposed actual riding constituents.

(it is a very regular occurrence when a party forming a majority government loses an election, the 'representatives" from each party simply trade positions on the major issues, with the new government assuming the policies of the former government, and the new opposition assuming the policies of the former opposition - blatant hypocricy, never, never, NEVER discussed in the media as it would expose the entire system for the farce it is - remember the Libs in 93 running against NAFTA, and thus winning the election - but then the 180 degree reversal and as the government SUPPORTING NAFTA, as the previous Cons had? And not a WORD in the media about this continuation of the NAFTA policy - the media, of course, all owned by the wealthy elite, supported NAFTA - this type of thing alone is powerful evidence of who really controls the Canadian government, which is why the media will not talk about it. In reality, the "governing party" is always controlled by the elite, and always speaks for the elite, regardless of their putative Lib or Con denomination, and the "opposition" party has the role of making the entire system appear to be a "democracy" by voicing opposition to the policies of the government, and the media has the role of pretending all of this is quite normal and not waking anyone up to the whole farce, and deriding anyone who manages to get any kind of public voice and tries to speak about what a farce it is....)

But back to the party system of "democracy". For starters, just how democratic is the party itself? Well, there are grassroots meetings in each riding, with riding associations and memberships supposedly open to anyone, (although various people have been denied membership indicating there is some hidden criteria from those who decide such things about which sorts of policies they are planning to promote, and also membership applications can be controlled from party HQ at times, again for very partisan, and thus non-democratic, purposes), and these riding associations do debate things with a certain degree of grassroots openness and send delegates to national policy conventions and leadership races, so it all appears fairly democratic. But that's all very much smoke and mirrors - a big spectacle with no real substance, and in reality the major parties are very much controlled from above. I would direct the inquiring mind, for one rather blatant instance, to the much balleyhooed Liberal Red Book, manufactured after such a process in 1993 to great fanfare, telling the citizens of Canada how wonderful the new Liberal government would be, and what wonderful things they would do for the people of Canada if elected in place of the hated Mulroney government - and then disgarded almost in its entirety following the election (the first thing they did, you may recall, was a complete reversal of course on NAFTA, as noted before - and also the GST which they promised to get rid off, and then, after people elected them on this basis, decided was ok after all - that it appears to be a central part of Canadian democracy that people can lie brazenly to get elected, and the people they lied to have no recourse other than to vote against them a few years later in the next election, is another issue of democracy, it seems to me, that I won't even get into here).

So, in the political party, if it's not the grassroots people setting the final policy, who is it, and is that democratic or what?

Well, the Liberal Red Book lesson noted above indicates pretty clearly the actual, rather than theoretical, influence the grassroots people actually have. So where then does the party policy, as it actually comes down in the House of Commons, actually originate? Well, this is something that is not part of the public record, so again we have to do a bit of inductive detective work, but it's not really too difficult to suss out with some confidence that one has the 'right' people (haha no pun intended) identified - if the anti-poverty people say "NO!" to "free trade", for instance, and the Business Council on National Issues says "Free trade is great!!!" - and the government, even though it has promised people to cancel the NAFTA (Liberal Red Book, 1993) goes ahead and signs the NAFTA into law - well, it probably isn't the anti-poverty people they are meeting behind closed doors 50 stories above Bay St in Toronto about what policies they are going to implement. And if the major news media in the country do not make a fuss about the 180 degree reversal between election promises and government actions - it's not a big leap of imagination to suppose they were at the meeting. Behind closed doors. And are being somewhat dishonest with the people who read their papers when they support the NAFTA, but do not manage to divulge in the same story they were at that meeting.

Heck no, that would be a conspiracy against the Canadian people - and we all know they would never do that - they mock anyone who dares suggest such a thing, and we know they never lie to us.

So who makes decisions in the Canadian government, anyway? Well, according to what we see in the newspapers regularly, it's the Prime Minster, pretty much alone - it's a rare week that goes by without some new pronouncement by the PM, "We are going to do this!" or "We are going to do that!!" - all without any apparent consultation with parliament in any way, and certainly without any sort of consultation with the Canadian people.

Well, the Prime Minister or Party Leader is the main person, obviously, in any party. And in Parliament, it's very well understood that the Prime Minister is far, far more than "first among equals", as he or she is commonly portrayed. Again regardless of theory, the PM's word is effectively law in caucus and cabinet, if for no other reason than it is the Prime Minister who selects cabinet ministers and approves all kinds of other appointments to desirable places, and anyone who aspires to such places cannot afford to anger this most powerful individual. It is also well understood that so-called backbenchers in parliament have no power whatsoever, and are expected to follow the party line at voting time if so ordered, wishes of their supposed constituents of no consideration (again, the Prime Minister (or party leader) has the final say as to whether the individual MPs are allowed to run as a candidate for the party in any election, regardless of riding wishes which have been rather publically ignored with "parachuted in" candidates quite often in recent elections, which the media notes as something of interest but with no further commentary as to what it actually indicates as far as "democracy" is concerned - thus they stand to lose their job if they dare speak or act contrary to his (or her) wishes. So we see the 'representative" demococracy is not so at all, unless you consider the reverse idea, that MPs are there to represent the wishes of the party, which tend to be the wishes of the Prime Minister, who in turn holds his post at the pleasure of the People of the Money in Canada, to their ridings (likewise the opposition members, whose job is to explain party policy to those who support them).

(and why do politicians both big and small do this? again, no surveys address this, but you have to suspect sheer avarice combined with delusions of grandeur - it's a hell of a lot better as a job than most 9-5s, for instance. The perks of high level MPs are substantial, topped by considerable international travel and prestige amongst their "peers" in other countries and in the general unsuspecting public here at home (maintained by media boosterism, of course), not to mention excellent pension benefits after a very few years of "service" (and except for the well-connected few, the only way to get to be a high level MP is to start small and then work your way up through the ranks, proving your loyalty and reliability to the money masters on the way). And this also explains the competition amongst them at elections - even though there is no substantial difference in the way they plan to govern (they're all taking orders from someone else), they want their time on the gravy train, and losers don't qualify, and opposition perks are substantially lower than government perks - there's a real enough competition for these jobs, but their work is taking orders and putting a good face on a lot of bad stuff, not governing the country. And you can take all their wonderful talk about "public service" and measure it against what they actually do (how many voted against the salary increase never mentioned in the campaign but introduced imediately they arrived in Ottawa? - now would that be public or private service?), and make up your own mind what to believe. - as I write this (as I said, every day there is something!) - - MPs get hefty "expense allowance" increase - but but but - if these MPs work for "we the people" and in our democracy WE run the country - shouldn't WE be asked about this????? sure things are getting more expensive - but are WE getting COL adjustments in our pay???? is the minimum wage being increased to deal with this for the poorest people in the country???? Why should people in the top 2% of the income level get a COL for expenses when the average person is just expected to shut up and put up with it???? Who is working for who here???? - rhetorical questions all .....)

And in confirmation of this great power invested in the Canadian Prime Minister, we constantly read in the news stories about the PM declaring his (very rarely in Canada her) government is going to do such and such a thing - with no consultation from the caucus, let alone the people of Canada. Again, how can such pronouncements possibly be portrayed as the "democratic will of the people"? As noted in the first question, such policies regularly reflect, however, the desires of the wealthy lobby groups in the country - primarily the Canadian Council of Chief Exectutives (CCCE, formerly BCNI), or such think tanks of the wealthy neocon movement as the Fraser or CD Howe Institutes - but rarely, if ever, the actual 'will of the people", as expressed in opinion polls.

And where then does the party get its policy directions, if not from the will of the people or their own members? Well, again there is no documentation of this process, and one can but speculate as to the source of such policies, perhaps using inference at times (which can be a very reliable method of arriving at answers to difficult questions, ask any particle physicist), relating policy directions with certain groups known to have called for such policies. There are many lobbyists in Ottawa - representing who? Not average Canadians at all, who cannot pay for such services - no, they represent corporate clients with big bank accounts, who are looking for what sort of legislation? And who do they lobby? When they lobby higher ranking MPs (with influence in major departments or important committees), are they asking those MPs to faithfully carry out the wishes of their supposed electoral constituents, or the wishes of whoever is paying the lobbyist, even if the two wishes might be contrary (i.e. higher vs lower corporate taxes, "free trade" treaties, etc)? For example, when a party decides a big new policy like Free Trade is needed in Canada - where did this come from? Rather obviously NOT we the people, as there was huge resistance to this idea. The elite policy groups, of course, wanted it - and got it. Democracy? Will of the people? Hardly.

So - when the government regularly passes laws or regulations or enters into treaties known to be favored by the wealthy elite, but opposed by most of the citizens polled - it is hard not to draw a line linking the two. As pointed out in the opening question - when the Canadian people regularly show their desire for a strengthened health care system, and a small group of elite businessmen regularly insist that health care spending be cut, and the government cuts health care spending - it's not a great leap to come to the conclusion that the government is not acting democratically in the interests of the majority of the people of Canada, and their expressed desires.

And how then do these pseudo-democratic governments behave in terms of carrying out the wishes of a majority of the people? I have already noted the FTA, which was tested in a popular vote, rejected by a majority of the people, and enacted. The later NAFTA was exactly the same, rejected by a majority of the people, except this time the party opposing NAFTA got elected as the voters rose in anger to turf the most unpopular government in Canadian history, opposing again the NAFTA as they had opposed the FTA - but the new Liberal government promptly went back on their word and passed the very unpopular treaty it had campaigned against.

There doesn't seem to be anything about brazen broken promises in definitions of democracy, but insofar as the resulting action goes against the desires of a clear majority of the people, they would have to be seen as undemocratic, it would seem to me at least. (And yet various courts have ruled that voters have no redress against politicians who do not fulfill promises, raising questions about many other aspects of Canadian "democracy")

But this is the norm in Canadian elections - glowing promises made in election campaigns simply ignored once in power, if not brazenly reversed as with Chretien and NAFTA (or his promise to cancel the GST). The examples are legion, I need hardly mention anything specific. And then we have the many things NOT mentioned during any election campaign, and then enacted with no consultation of the people at all. No government ever ran a campaign on slashing health care budgets, for example, as noted, yet such was a regular feature of budgets for years. No government ever ran a campaign on such things as passing seatbelt laws, or anti-smoking laws, or raising their own salaries - or as I write the recent news that the feds are introducing laws concerning street racing and age of consent and have increased their expense allowance - we had an election barely six months ago, and they were not mentioned at all - but now, no consultation with we the people required, they are doing these things. It is true enough that a government may from time to time be faced with some sort of urgent situation requiring a speedy response with no real time to solicit the opinion of the people, but things such as those noted do most assuredly not fall into this category.

But again, the main point is looking at "democracy", government of, by and for the people, following the wishes of a majority of its citizens - how can the actions noted be called in any way "the will of the people" - when they most assuredly are not? And if the will of the people is not the central driving force behind a government - how can it be called democratic? Protestations that these or other laws or regulations are "good" or even "necessary" are completely irrelevant - the issue is simply democracy, and the will of the people.

As I noted at the first - government of, by and for the elite of Canada, not we the people. Not a wild conspiracy theory - demostrable fact. For those who wish to know.

Party democracy is nothing more than a way to make controlling the people easier, while giving the appearance of democracy - far, far easier to control a few people at the top of the chain, who control a few more underneath them, than to try to control 300 independent MPs truly answerable to their constituents, or 30 million free-thinking, aware, intelligent citizens.

Which leads, then, to the question of why, in the face of such obvious evidence to the contrary, do the people of Canada believe en masse they have a great democracy? Are they all that stupid or gullible?

Again, our answers must be to a certain extent speculative, as there has never been a public survey with such a question, for obvious reasons (Why do you think you believe you live in a democracy when actually you live in an oligarchy? Get lost, idiot - this is a GREAT democracy!!)). But I suspect that some day, at least on Green Island, some research will be done on this very question, and I suspect the answers will be something like this.

I don't think Canadians are stupid or gullible at all, on the whole, any more than Pavlov's dogs were more stupid or gullible than the average hound. It is well known, however, that children are extremely susceptible to indoctrination, as they have no defences against it, and also feel a need to please the people around them in positions of authority - and children are immersed from the day they are born in stories about our great democracy and related things, from television and school teachers and parents and other adults in their lives, and most never have any reason to question this, so never do - as I noted earlier, the Canadian oligarchy runs a farm that is quite pleasant for most of the inhabitants, so they have little cause to complain, and sufficient reason to go along with the idea that they live in one of the best democracies in the world, doing what they really want to do. And then as the young citizens grow older, they are immersed in constant boosterism sessions to reinforce thee beliefs learned in childhood, and it's all a feelgood situation to participate and believe in such things. And also, those who dare question the superiority and wonderfulness of the Canadian system face various sanctions, from simple mockery to physical violence - and again, most adults prefer to be part of the crowd and believe what the crowd believes, rather than lone wolves of any sort. Minor criticisms are of course acceptable and welcome (they help prove the superiority of the system, after all, that we are free to ask such questions, and indicate that we do exercise some freedom, and do not believe it is perfect) - but questioning the very foundations of the system is simply not to be tolerated.

And secondly, very much related, reinforcing the indoctrination, the oligarchs who do run the country from behind the scenes through control of the political system and their mandarins therein and the media provide a fairly good life for most citizens, in terms of allowing most of the citizens to meet their primary requirements of shelter and food (this is another discussion, but this is altogether cheaper on the one hand and more profitable on the other in the long run than trying to run a country through brute force and overt fear, one of the major lessons of the 20th century, as great experiments were conducted in the two ways of controlling a society - pseudo-democracy won hands down over brute force totalitarianism). As long as most of the people go to their jobs each day and don't fuss about what the government is up to in any way that endangers the power structure, and stay within the laws and regulations established for them, they are allowed to do pretty much as they wish, and they are provided with a great array of distractions to occupy their free time and encouraged to regard the political running of their country as no more than a spectator sport, not something one should participate in beyond the elections every few years. So it is, certainly, with no real argument, quite a pleasant and prosperous and safe country overall, as countries go in the modern world - but those things have nothing to do with how democratic it is, any more than a farm whose farmer treats the animals well can be said to be "democratic" because the animals are happy, or a factory with well-paid workers with good working conditions can be said to be "democratic" because the workers like their jobs and are paid well. And a mostly well-fed, well-propagandized population, it seems, has little concern for the reality of their democracy, if Canada is anything to judge by, apparently (with considerable help again from all of the propaganda agents) confusing prosperity and a degree of freedom with "democracy". If the government (not acting autonomously in any way but under control of the behind-the-scenes oligarchy, never forget) does things like entering into so-called free trade agreements or reducing the health care budgets or allowing the infrastructure of the country to degrade because the reduced taxes on the wealthy and other measures have reduced the income available for such things, which negatively impact the lives of the people in various ways, the people don't protest much beyond a bit of mild grumbling from a few - even though their overall quality of life is being reduced around them rather than improving as they might expect, they are still fairly well fed and, with the additional input of endless propaganda from the mainstream media justifying the government's actions and telling everyone how good things are while giving the citizens no coordinated method of indicating their displeasure or unease, they accept the changes and carry on with their lives. (and various pharmaceutical products to combat various diseases associated with anxiety increase in sales each year, as an ever-increasing number of people try to cope with the "not really THAT freaking "great" "democracy", and also the people in charge work on new methods to ensure their continued control as they reduce the level of freedom and prosperity for the average citizen, anticipating increasing unrest in the future)

- and the rewards for being a good member of the farm can be considerable as well - the upper level mandarins, knowingly or unknowingly, are treated well for helping to maintain the fantasy of democracy, for refusing to expose the uber-government (which the upper level people cannot not be aware of), for helping to dismiss or marginalize those who understand the reality and try to expose them all. Consider the life of a senior "journalist" or businessman or politician or those who have made great wealth from the system - freedom from the drudgery of punching a time clock every day for 40 years, lots of travel, meeting interesting people, overall a good life with lots of security for retirement. And really, the people in the pseudo-democracy have it pretty good anyway, or at least most of them do who are willing to work hard to make some money, so it's not like they're really hurting anyone much, right? But I'll look at that particular aspect of this story later - for now, we need to examine more closely the major reason most Canadians still believe we live in a democracy, and never question this.

The media. The newspapers and television and radio we read or listen to every day, usually several times a day, to find out what is happening in the world, and read or listen to people talk about what these things mean to us.

The media.

As I first worked on this piece, there was an editorial from the Toronto Star, widely held to be (or derided for being) the most "liberal" or "progressive" of the Canadian media - June 23/06 - Improved journalism is in national interest - which included the quote "...a free press is fundamental to democracy..."

A free press is fundamental to democracy - and so it is. This is a very true statement. The citizens of a democracy are absolutely reliant upon their media to give them the news of things that are happening in their country and world, issues that have arisen that need decisions, the progress of discussions on issues already in the public eye, and etc. Even now, with the internet, people are still trained to look to the mainstream media, the major newspapers and television news, for the 'real' news that is important to them - but of course, with the internet, more and more are learning that their media have not been serving them very well.

But then - if we do not really live in a real "democracy", as cannot really be denied by the honest inquirer considering the things I have outlined above, what then does that make the media in Canada at this time? Are they too simply victims of the system as are most Canadians? Well, perhaps many of the average or younger reporters would fit this category, but it is not tenable in any way that the owners or senior editors would be unaware of the true situation, the very UNdemocratic nature of the Canadian government - gullible or naive people do not get to run major newspapers in a country like Canada or anywhere else for that matter.

So given that A) Canada is NOT any kind of 'true' democracy in practice, of, by and for We the People, and B) a good media is central to democracy, and C) one of the major reasons we have been living under the fantasy that Canada is a 'democracy' is the Canadian media telling us so, repeatedly - we can only come to one conclusion - our Canadian media is something other than it pretends to be. It is not actually the very bastion of democracy in Canada, as it portrays itself as - indeed, perhaps it is the very foremost enemy of democracy in Canada. One might think of Ceasar and Brutus. Et tu, CBC!!!!

Indeed, when one studies the situation, and works in various Holmesian principles, one is drawn rather inexorably, if somewhat reluctantly, to the conclusion that the Canadian media is actually the major tool of the oligarchs in Canada, the uber-government who actually run the country, and is central in maintaining the fiction of democracy in this country.

And in reality, this is the single central function of the Canadian media. Not to support democracy, but to enable Oligarchy, and maintain the myth of "democracy".

And once you understand this about the Canadian media, and read and listen with this in mind, it quickly becomes obvious that every story of importance in the media is related to this function in one way or another, either reinforcing the lie blatantly, or spinning a story to reinforce it, or hiding a story that would tend to expose the fundamental dishonesty of the "democracy", or simply providing lots of 'bread and circuses' stories to ensure that people never get around to thinking about more important things - every major story touches on this fundamental dishonesty in one way or another.

You need to spend a bit of time with this - breaking through long-established beliefs inculcated through decades of indoctrination can be difficult. But if you read honestly and with an open mind, the conclusions are quite unavoidable and undeniable.

The Canadian media is primarily an indoctrination and propaganda agent. Start with that premise, that hypothesis if you will, and see if you can disprove it.

Let's go through a few different things that strongly indicate this, and you can be thinking of things that disprove what I say, if you can.

There are two things of primary importance in this role - the media refuses to discuss certain things, things which would throw a light on the true situation and expose the lie of 'democracy'; and secondly, they spin many stories they do report to hide the true motives of the things being done in our name, things which would, again, indicate that what we are living in is not a democracy, but decisions are being made, and things being done, in the name of Canada and Canadians that are no such thing.

Let's start with some things you do not see in the media, things that would be of quite fundamental importance in a "democracy" truly run by "we the people" :

** consider all of the points I have raised above concerning the operaion of 'democracy' in Canada - can you think of any time any of these points were raised for discussion in your media? Can you think of any time the media has, on the other hand, been filled with praise for what a great 'democracy' we have here? Do you believe the role of the media is as a cheerleader for things, or to present you with ideas and news, about which you the citizen make up your own mind?

** I have written elsewhere about what I consider to be the greatest scam to ever occur in Canadian history, the theft of over a trillion dollars from Canadians, through fraud perpetrated by a conspiracy between high level politicians, bankers and 'investors', with the assistance and compliance of various others - you can judge for yourself whether the accusations have merit or not by reading this - Scam of the Century - the National Debt Scam - but even if you are not yet ready to believe this crime occurred, you cannot deny that using the Bank of Canada to provide the Canadian money supply, and provide loans to the Canadian governments as needed, would in every way make far more sense for the people of Canada, and be far easier on the national finances than allowing private banks to essentially create the lion's share of the national money supply, creating massive profits for themselves in so doing - and then creating and loaning money to the Canadian government when it miscalculates the tax reductions it gives to corporations and finds itself with a shortfall of money and needs to borrow some. Really, you cannot examine these facts and come to any other conclusion than that massive fraud has occurred - and then when you realise that the media has been nowhere at all on this file, you realise that - hey, they are part of it. No other conclusion possible. Case closed.

-- and then what about the spin they place on other stories? Well, one big one should suffice to make the pattern clear enough - the whole 911 situation. The propaganda effort began within minutes of the twin towers falling, and has never stopped, with the Canadian media following the lead of the American media, and most Canadians accept the American government conspiracy fantasy with no questions, and get huffy when anyone dares suggest that it is indeed a fairy tale full of holes. But the commentary and analysis that have become available on the internet since then makes it more than clear to the truly inquiring mind that the American conspiracy theory is so full of holes, with so many unanswered questions, that it is simply not believable. And yet the Canadian media refuses to address this question seriously, but regularly does feature stories that are based on the old conspiracy theory and thus reinforce it. Again, the media managers can simply NOT be ignorant of these unanswered questions, and that they refuse to air them in their papers or newscasts for the information and enlightenment of Canadians indicates that they have no interest in getting to the truth here, but are pushing the entire so-called 'war on terror' along with the Americans - based almost entirely on that 911 conspiracy theory - that has and is so destructive of everything to do with what democracy and freedom we do have in Canada.

Well - as usual, I have gone on at length. But the key is not to believe everything I write, but to acknowledge that I do raise some serious questions - questions that the media does not raise. If you believe that the Canadian election system is fine, and there is no problem with 20% majorities or the Prime Minster behaving as the de facto Canadian king between elections, and we really ought to just trust our politicians and bankers when they tell us 'we' have accumulated a great debt and must now pay it off, and corporations really need lower taxes to make them more competetive, and we should be concerned about that because what's good for the CCCE is good for us all, etc and etc and etc - well, what are you doing reading this? Get back to your tv!!!! - but if you believe that Canada is in trouble right now, and getting deeper every day because we do NOT have a democracy and the farmers have decided to make some changes to the conditions under which we live, and our children, changes that do not mean a brighter future but a poorer one - well, then - maybe you ought to think about moving to Green Island. Or better yet, moving the ideas of Green Island to Canada. It can be done. But it's up to you to do it.

"A happy, hardworking, goods-consuming citizen [is] perfect... Otherwise the wheels stop turning... You're so conditioned that you can't help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought to do is on the whole so pleasant... that there really aren't any temptations to resist. And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there's always [the drug] soma... to make you patient and longsuffering... to give you a holiday from the facts." Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 1932

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