Where do we draw the line at what a government is allowed to believe?


Machjo
#1
Many Canadians have criticized the co-alition not on legal or constitutional grounds (we all agree that the co-alition would represent the majority of MPs), but rather on ideological grounds (that a co-alition must be stopped by all available legal means, no matter how disruptive it might be, such as another election right after the last, if the co-alition is supported by members who hold 'heterodox' beliefs). Where do you draw the line at what MP's are free to believe or not believe?

Personally, I see this attitude to be a serious threat to democracy. It suggests that certain ideas are not to be democratically debated. To suggest that the redrawing of Canada's borders is beyond the purview of the democratic process and may not be debated could lead to a slippery slope as such:

If we cannot reduce Canada's land mass, then some could conclude that any MP that beleives in any form of world federation should be banned from forming a government because he would intend to lighten Canada's borders with its neighbours.

From that we could then argue that any redefinition of provincial and territorial boundaries must be banned too (maybe we should even reverse our creation of Nunavut and give it back to the North West Territories).

Then from that we could ban any amalgamation or division of local governments.

In fact, why limit ourselves to changes in geographical boundaries. We could even argue that to believe in any change to the constitution is heresy, un-Canadian, unpatriotic, etc, and that any discussion of making any change to the constitution ought to be banned too.

From that, we could then argue that any party that wants to reduce military spending is un-Canadian, heretical, heterodox and unpatriotic, and so no MP holding such beliefs ought to be allowed to join in any co-alition either.

Then we could extend that to socialism. Socialism is anti-Canadian, heterodox, heathenous, treacherous, un-Canadian and unpatriotic, so any MP holding such views ought not to be allowed to form a coalition either.

Then we have environmentalists. If they introduce a carbon tax, it could hurt the oil industry, so again it's uncanadian, treasonous, heretical, heterodox, unpatriotic, treacherous, and showing a lack of love for Canada. Again, people holding such views ought not to be allowed to support a co-alition either.

Man, with that way of thinking, we'd have nothing left but one-party rule. But at least it would be the orthodox... oh, sorry, I meant Conservative Party.
 
Cannuck
#2
"'heterodox' beliefs"???

Can I assume your wordy post is refering to the separatists.
 
Machjo
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by CannuckView Post

"'heterodox' beliefs"???

Can I assume your wordy post is refering to the separatists.

Well, I did have the sovereignists in mind when I typed this, but it could apply equally to any belief that the government of the time deams to be beyond the purview of democratic debate.

If an MP is not allowed to believe in an alternative to Canada, then why not prohibit an MP from believing in world federation, anarchism, socialism, social democracy, communism, even liberalism. Where do we draw the line exactly?

I thought everything could be openly discussed in a democratic government, even the redifinition, dissolution, or international integration of the country, the dissolution of the government itself, creating a republic, anything. What government reserves the right to dictate what MPs are allowed to believe or not believe in, however offensive it might be to others.

I'm not a sovereignist myself, but to be honest, inasmuch as I don't agree with their desire to dissolve Canada, I have generally found the sovereignists in parliament to be relatively soft-spoken on the issue of sovereignty. They have class, don't throw random insults like children, etc. and are willing to discuss their beliefs openly and courteously. Why should Harper and company start threatening to use every legal means at their disposal to silence MPs who have been democratically elected by the people of Quebec to represent their interests? If they believe that dissolution of the country is within their interests, then that is what the democratic process is for. We might not agree, but they have the same rights as anyone else to discuss their ideas.
 
Cannuck
#4
"If an MP is not allowed to believe in an alternative to Canada, then why not prohibit an MP from believing in world federation, anarchism, socialism, social democracy, communism, even liberalism. Where do we draw the line exactly?"

We draw the line at the ballot box. I have no problem with the Bloc (or any group with alternate views). I have a problem with the proposed coalition because it hands too much influence to the Bloc without the will of the people allowing it. It would be no different if the Conservative decided to merge with the Green Party. If they alter their core policies they should go back to the people for a mandate.

In this case, the Bloc may be willing to support the coalition simply because it is left of centre. Or, they may have been promised something. Canadians have a right to know and a right to decide.

Granted, there are people that don't feel they have a right to exist simply because of their political views. That will never change. Some folks would rather shut down their opposition them openly debate them.
 
Tyr
#5
"I have a problem with Harper "suspending" parliment (and any inkling of democracy) and scuttling off into hiding
 
Machjo
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by CannuckView Post

"If an MP is not allowed to believe in an alternative to Canada, then why not prohibit an MP from believing in world federation, anarchism, socialism, social democracy, communism, even liberalism. Where do we draw the line exactly?"

We draw the line at the ballot box. I have no problem with the Bloc (or any group with alternate views). I have a problem with the proposed coalition because it hands too much influence to the Bloc without the will of the people allowing it. It would be no different if the Conservative decided to merge with the Green Party. If they alter their core policies they should go back to the people for a mandate.

In this case, the Bloc may be willing to support the coalition simply because it is left of centre. Or, they may have been promised something. Canadians have a right to know and a right to decide.

Granted, there are people that don't feel they have a right to exist simply because of their political views. That will never change. Some folks would rather shut down their opposition them openly debate them.

But when the Conservative Party waters down its mandate by revising its budget to suit the Liberal party to get a majority to pass it, isn't that altering its core policies by definition?

If that's the case, then essentially since the only way for a minority government to function in the first place is to alter its core policies, then shouldn't it be a given that whenever a minority parliament is formed, we ought to repeat the election immediately by default, and keep redoing the election until a majority finally surfaces?

Irrational? Sooner or later, we'll have to let parliament move ahead and form co-alitions formally or water down they policies anyway, just minus the formal co-alition. There's not getting around it. So which is it? In the end, the only objection can be to the fact that the co-alition doesn't hold 'orthodox' views.
 
Machjo
#7
Or another way of looking at it is this:

If a government is not allowed to alter its core policies, then the Harper government should stick to the budget package it promised voters and which had caused the birth of the co-alition in the first place. By altering its original budget, it has thus altered it core policies, and as such should now call for an election if indeed we apply the same standards to all. But we can see how if we follow such a standard, we'd better hope to get a majority government soon or else we'll be spending lots of time at the polls.
 
Cannuck
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by MachjoView Post

But when the Conservative Party waters down its mandate by revising its budget to suit the Liberal party to get a majority to pass it, isn't that altering its core policies by definition?

No. The policies of the Conservative party have not changed. That being said, they have compromised because the majority of the population in Canada is left of centre, did not vote for them and don't want what they are selling.

Quote: Originally Posted by MachjoView Post

If that's the case, then essentially since the only way for a minority government to function in the first place is to alter its core policies, then shouldn't it be a given that whenever a minority parliament is formed, we ought to repeat the election immediately by default, and keep redoing the election until a majority finally surfaces?

I guess we have a different definition of "core".
 
Machjo
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by CannuckView Post

No. The policies of the Conservative party have not changed. That being said, they have compromised because the majority of the population in Canada is left of centre, did not vote for them and don't want what they are selling.



I guess we have a different definition of "core".

So ho do you define 'core'? The co-alition would of couse focus on points of common interest and noe of them would obvioulsy compromise the core of their beliefs. It might just be that they thought they had more points in common than with the Conservatives. How would a co-alition government be compromizing its core values.
 
Cannuck
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by MachjoView Post

So ho do you define 'core'?

I think wanting to break up the country is a core belief.

As I alluded to before, the ballot box is the key. Were the NDP willing you accept a fully free enterprise health care system or massive cuts to the civil service in order to be part of a ruling coalition, then I think they should expect to go back to the polls as it is completely contradictory to what they ran on. In the case of the current coalition, Only 28% of the population was for it. That is less than the popular vote the three coalition parties got in the last election.

I guess what I'm saying is that there are no hard and fast rules. Politicians should keep in mind the wishes of the people.
 
Said1
#11
I would suspect that people who wish to redraw the map of Canada display soft spoken decorum due to the nature of the protections they presently receive under the umbrella of the federal government. I know I would like to draw the line there.
 
JLM
#12
I'm leery of a "coalition" Gov't. as contrived in December for two reasons, one it was a kneejerk reaction to some unpopular statements made by Harper and two it was partially comprised of the Bloc, which is 180 degrees from my philosophy. Harper is by no means perfect or fully acceptable to me, but I'd like to take five minutes to look carefully at things before jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Between this Iggy guy and Harper, I'd give Harper a slight edge as Iggy hasn't proven anything to me yet, Harper has reduced some taxes.
 
Machjo
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by Said1View Post

I would suspect that people who wish to redraw the map of Canada display soft spoken decorum due to the nature of the protections they presently receive under the umbrella of the federal government. I know I would like to draw the line there.

In democracy, shouldn't everybody receive these protections? As far as I'm concerned, I should have a right to protection for oppression regardless of my beliefs. Why should protection be limited to persons holding 'orthodox' beliefs?
 

Similar Threads

335
Ten Paces then DRAW!
by Canucklehead | Nov 24th, 2005
16
When do you draw the line?????
by peapod | Mar 27th, 2005
no new posts