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Failure of democracy has many root causes

Image: Prachatai/flickr

The failure of democracy? An academic study published last summer, which is rather suddenly being hailed in places like the New York Times, claims "an entire global generation has lost faith in democracy." Citizens "have grown jaded." This applies to youth especially, who call elections "unimportant" and say "a democratic political system" is a "bad" way to run things.

But is it really so? Young Americans who enthused over Bernie Sanders in the primaries, skipped the election because it wasn't democratic enough. People in Greece, Spain or Italy, left old parties and built new ones for similar reasons.

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Columnists

Cash for access to Justin Trudeau and Liberal cabinet ministers

PMO Photo by Adam Scotti

Looking for a job? The Liberal Party of Canada is hiring. You could be "co-ordinator riding fundraising support and victory fund" or "funding co-ordinator Laurier Club events."

The Laurier Club was set up in 1986. John Turner was Liberal leader. The party had been in power from 1963 until 1984. In that election the Mulroney Conservatives had reduced them to 43 seats.

Finding a way back to power included bringing together business and community leaders with senior MPs, providing lapel pins, and giving members access to "an established network of Laurier Club contacts," as the donation form puts it.

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Photo: Robert Fairchild/flickr
| November 17, 2016

The lessons the U.S. election can teach Canada's elites

Photo: Marco Verch/flickr
While clearly not as grim as the U.S., features in Canadian politics and society mimic those that led to the election result in the U.S.

Related rabble.ca story:

Columnists

There are lessons for Canada's elites in the U.S. election

Photo: Marco Verch/flickr

Hubris: extreme pride, especially pride and ambition so great that they offend the gods and lead to one's downfall.

In the aftermath of the stunning results of the U.S. election, the mix of emotions and hard-nosed analysis spans the spectrum from feeling sorry for the irrational and politically illiterate American voter to visceral fear about the consequences of their electing a thuggish buffoon as president. But common to all reactions, I suspect, is a smugness rooted in our sense of superiority -- as if our elites are somehow more attentive to the public interest and the lives of ordinary Canadians.

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Photo: VancouverBC FoodBank/flickr
| November 2, 2016

WATCH: No more delays. Fair TTC fares now.

People living on low income struggle to figure out how to pay for single TTC fares as well as monthly passes. This is because the earnings from low-wage (including minimum wage) jobs and money from income support programs (Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program) and seniors’ pensions continues to be below the amount people need to meet their basic needs. Fares have increased steadily (tokens cost 31 per cent over the inflation rate; Metropass 26 per cent and cash fare 14 per cent). Benefits and wages have not.

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Photo: Paul Sableman/flickr
| October 20, 2016
Columnists

A rational voice in a time of austerity, Douglas Peters could have set Canada on a different path

Photo: mark.watmough/flickr

After sweeping to power in 1993 with promises of expanded social programs, the federal Liberals did a dramatic turnaround in office, deeply slashing social spending in the name of reducing the deficit.

By the late 1990s, the deficit was gone and Finance Minister Paul Martin was the toast of Bay St.

But the drastic cuts he introduced in his 1995 budget ushered in an austerity agenda of underfunded social programs and increased inequality that continues to this day.

Back then, there were few in Ottawa inner circles resisting Martin's deep spending cuts, but one strong dissenting voice came from Douglas Peters, who died last week at the age of 86.

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| October 11, 2016
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