Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Assualt on Democracy

The PC government of Newfoundland and Labrador has completely lost touch with what it means to be living in a democratic society. The Charter of Rights, which safeguards our rights as citizens in Canada, states:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
That is everyone. Not just those that go along with the government's agenda, but those that disagree as well. The right to disagree, and oppose, is a fundamental right we all hold dearly, and for which our countrymen have fought to secure.

It seems that this idea of democracy is lost on the Newfoundland and Labrador PC Party. Whether it be Danny Williams firing of a woman from a regional economic development committee for poking fun at the size of his manhood, or Premier Dunderdale's assault on bloggers as "naysayers" for their opposition to the Muskrat Falls project, the Newfoundland PC Party has been waging a war with its own citizens.

Now today we have a new case in point. Fisheries Minister King announced that the provincial government was immediately freezing any further funding to the FFAW (Fisherman's union) because, to quote him:

“And to be frank with you, as I see it in the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem. And I see the FFAW right now as part of the problem...The union has received nearly $1.3 million in grant money from the province over the past five years for things like research, seafood marketing and fisheries technology programs.
That ends now...We’re putting a freeze on any further funding of projects for the FFAW until I’m convinced through a personal review that the projects that we support are of value and benefit to the industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, and not just to the FFAW...It’s very, very tough to build a working relationship with a group that continues to criticize...The FFAW can either work with us or stand by the side. We’re going to move forward, and we’re going to make changes that we feel are in the best interests of the industry. But we’re not going to spend much more time, frankly, having public debates every chance Mr. McCurdy gets to bash government because he doesn’t like something that’s happening in the industry."
The full CBC story is here:

The Newfoundland government has become the poster boy for undemocratic actions in Canada. Already the PC spin doctors in the social media are getting the message out that the fisheries union deserves to be cut off its research funds as it should have never had them in the first place. While some may agree with that, it does not address the issue of freedom of speech. What it does reinforce is the government's position that freedom of speech is only welcome when it is convenient. That people in Newfoundland only have the right to oppose when the government allows it. To do otherwise is to put yourself up for scorn and/or retribution. Just today the Telegram did an editorial on the very topic of speaking out at your own risk .

In a country such as Canada, and in a province such as Newfoundland and Labrador, freedom from government retribution should not even be a topic of discussion. It should be, if anything, a thing of the past that our children study in school. Yet, it continues to be the prevalent attitude of a provincial government that is located in a country that builds institutes to promote democracy around the world. The Newfoundland PC government makes the case that what Canada really needs is a civil rights law, as is the case in the United States, that would allow criminal prosecution for the violation of civil rights. Clearly, this is one government that can not be trusted with the responsibility of exercising power in a mature way, and respecting the rights of its residents. It is a blight on Canada's democratic reputation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome that contribute to the discussion or foster further debate.

In the interests of ensuring that people take responsibility for their own words, individuals can make comments using their Blogger ID or OpenID.

Profiles should be open to the public and reveal an e-mail address so that people may contact the commenter directly.

Anonymous comments, including those from people using fake, apparently fake identities, or profiles without contact information may be deleted. Spam will be deleted as soon as it is identified.