We Have The Keys - Will We Use Them?

Posted on Sunday, October 02 at 12:29 by whelan costen
Today, Canadians are perched upon a very high bow able to see for the first time in a very long time, if ever, the goings on deep within the bowels of ‘Ottawa’. The internet connects us to one another enabling us to communicate on an even playing field. We enter rooms without proper dress, we rarely wait for an invitation, we cannot scan the room for ‘important’ people. We come to the information party with only our words, our typing skills and our ability to debate, to inform and to share. We are in a rare position in history. We will disregard a person’s opinion because of their use of profanity, or their insensitive language, but we will not turn away because of historically offensive reasons. We cannot judge our audience based on race, creed, colour of skin, manner of dress, perceived wealth or their connections to it, simply because we do not see it! We cannot hear the dialect or be influenced by our human prejudices. This is new terrain and new opportunity. Ottawa, the secluded retreat for the rich and the powerful to craft their dreams and make policy for their friends, is being changed. The people are waking up to their true role in a democracy. Unlike politicians of years gone by a poor child can dream of entering politics and making a genuine difference. They can dream it today, because we will set the stage for the future, now! The Ottawa illusion, created in days gone by and lived today, has fed its own fantasy with the help of media and those who enjoy the belief that their must be an upper class. We supply the juice by standing by and allowing, those we elect to represent us, to pass through the semi-permeable membrane. Once they pass through it, they cannot return to the people. They are baptized into the black-light of rich, power and prestige and it seems to suck the humanity from within and replace it with a new kind of soldier. Government is meant to govern and you would think that was a given, or a common sense statement. However that is not what current government is busying itself with these days. Certainly we can’t rely on media to explain what they are doing on our dime, but clearly what has been revealed is the teams are set to play, to score and to win at all costs. Rather than govern we are entertained and kept occupied by the stories of intrigue, secret deals, taped conversations, bribery, suspicion and all the cleverest of plots of any ‘whodunit’ mystery. Society is ripe for mystery television. Look at the sheer number of ‘CSI’ television shows, the ‘Law & Order’ spin offs, the reality t.v. challenges, with man vs man, and man vs nature as the plots. So let us examine our unique position at this time in history. We have knowledge, we have access to information, albeit deciphering truth from fiction remains an obstacle, but we have the tools to take back our country. The first item on our agenda ought to be removing the façade of what government is, and what it should be. First I prefer to think of the Parliament buildings as buildings. Nothing more and nothing less. They house our country’s history, but the walls are simply walls, not corridors of power, not bars to keep us out, not a country club or private mansion! Certainly we need tradition and respect for the great decisions made within those walls, and we need to be part of those decisions for them to warrant the reverence they demand. Second, we need to recognize that the parties that have claimed the right to govern and have used the halls of parliament for their own gain, their personal greed, their feudal territory to the exclusion of the people, need to find another playground. They have chosen to create a party structure within the system of democracy which encourages deals, connections to gain power, prestige and monetary reward for the members within their respective parties. They have designed their parties to encourage corporate donations, to fund the media, the advertising and propaganda campaigns, which add to the aura or image that they chose for themselves. This is no different from a mediocre singer that hires a manager to turn them into a ‘package’ or a saleable, endorsable and believable ‘thing’, a ‘celebrity’, rather than simply a person that sings. Political parties have their own web of intrigue built into the system, which is why we hear about the internal squabbles for party leader, or cabinet posts, or senatorial appointments, patronage appointments and plum jobs. Their choices do not have to be our choices. Politics has become a game and that game is played with our lives, our environment, our safety and security. Canadians would not gamble with their children’s lives. They would not make a deal that would poison their neighbors’ air, water or soil. They would not suggest to their neighbor that the profit outweighed the risk, so they built their home on an environmental time bomb. They would not agree to feed their children food that was not the very best, most beneficial even if it meant it would cost more to purchase. Canadians would not borrow money from a friend at a high rate of interest, when they could borrow from themselves at a very low or no interest rate! Canadians have choices today that their parents and grand-parents did not. They have an enormous responsibility and it cannot be taken lightly. We are a generation of comparatively well educated individuals, who are being governed out of the equation called democracy. We are being left out of the loop so to speak. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can look at Ottawa, ‘The Hill’, and see it as an impenetrable fortress for an exclusive group of well connected, rich and powerful, superiorly intelligent beings, who know what is best for the rest of us or we can see it as the building it is. We can seek to infuse the building with truly concerned individuals, willing to seek solutions to the problems we face as human beings on this planet. We can recognize that each member sitting in parliament today gets up in the morning, showers, shaves, puts their pants on one leg at a time, just as we do and that they have no secret power. We can remove the façade and return ‘The Hill’ to the people. The Berlin Wall fell one brick at a time, South Africa overcame Apartheid, and Hitler was removed with the cooperation of human beings. Canada can become a full democracy as the people intended her to be, when the people once again intend it to be! The truth is we must not fear the responsibility that comes with knowing something is rotten. Too many Canadians have bought the sales pitch. It is not beneath us to make decisions or to be consulted on decisions which affect us. It is not beyond our intellect to expect government to govern. It is not overwhelming to consider educating our children to think for themselves, or to expect Health Canada to protect. To expect that our military will be funded and developed for our protection is not over-reaching. To demand our elected officials be incorruptible, accountable to the electorate, transparent, resourceful and informed is not too high a standard. The point of a party system, is to have like minded individuals bringing their best to the table for the benefit of the entire meal. Today’s sitting parties, have turned the meal into an internal greed fest and selfish display of preferential treatment about who sits next to whom at the table. When they stop the bickering for a moment and notice the others in the room, the fangs come out in full force, meanwhile dinner conversation is lost completely. The entire episode is repeated day after day while the fat get fatter and we are left doing the dishes. Canadians have been spectators long enough in the games of politics. We are not meant to be sitting in the backyard, while the rich and powerful make decisions around our dinning room table. Those political parties that have created their own internal feuds will implode when they no longer have control over the public purse. Parties are only as effective as they chose to be. They serve who they owe their loyalty to. If they are supported and funded by the public, they will serve the public. The term ‘public servant’ must reflect its meaning by the actions taken. It is up to the electorate to decide if an individual candidate has the tools through a party to serve the public in the public’s best interest or if the candidate is merely a tool for the party to use the public to serve itself and its members? Empowering every Canadian to seek the keys to the front door of our government is not impossible. We all have the keys. The mystery is in locating them within our own character and making the conscious decision to place them ceremoniously and decisively in the lock. Once we recognize our own power to act, we will turn the key and unlock our freedom and our future! Or will we drop the keys and walk away saying, ‘I’ll think about it tomorrow’? [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on October 3, 2005]

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