The Trudeau way

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

The pub­lisher, hav­ing been part of the great ex­per­i­ment of par­tic­i­pa­tive democ­racy of the Trudeau era in the late six­ties, is a bit wary of any repeat of the process, not that it is wrong but be­cause the ex­pec­ta­tions raised can al­most never be met.

In the case of Trudeau père, the 1970 cri­sis that re­ally started in Saint-Léonard in Septem­ber 1969, the process ended early.

Yet Trudeau, the first time, called for a lot of con­sul­ta­tions and En­quiry Com­mis­sions. The LeDain com­mis­sion on pot, for­mally the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into the Non-Med­i­cal Use of Drugs, rec­om­men­da­tions were first re­garded by some as evil in­car­nate and it is the mi­nor­ity re­port, writ­ten by the late Marie-An­drée Ber­trand, which is more or less the po­si­tion now pro­posed by the gov­ern­ment.

The process then was for Par­lia­ment (a.k.a the Rul­ing Party of Canada ma­jor­ity) to study a sub­ject and then to con­vene a Royal Com­mis­sion of en­quiry on it. A per­ilous po­lit­i­cal ex­er­cise as the end re­sult is un­sure. Need­less to say, none of any con­se­quence were held dur­ing the reign of Pres­i­dent Harper™.

They are a Bri­tish Par­lia­men­tary tra­di­tion, an ex­ten­sion of the power of en­quiry that Par­lia­ment has. When our sys­tem works as in­tended, hav­ing a per­son rep­re­sent­ing us to pro­tect and pro­mote our in­ter­ests, then both the House and the Se­nate have no qualms about con­sul­ta­tion. We do not elect a sov­er­eign as the Amer­i­cans do; we have One and most Cana­di­ans are quite con­tent on how She reigns. What we have is a per­son (legally it could be any­one) that is able to muster the con­fi­dence of the House of Com­mons and can form a func­tion­ing gov­ern­ment to the plea­sure of Her Majesty. It seems that Justin Trudeau understands the role a bit bet­ter than his pre­de­ces­sor. As Prime Min­is­ters go, he may not be the bright­est, but he’s show­ing more and more that he is one of the smartest. And smart is ask­ing ques­tions, tak­ing crit­i­cism be­fore act­ing. So our Min­is­ter, The Hon­or­able Marie-Claude Bibeau, has held eight con­sul­ta­tions since she was elected on var­i­ous sub­jects. The last one, as re­ported else­where, on the sorry state of Canada’s postal ser­vice af­ter the dev­as­tat­ing years of the for­mer gov­ern­ment whose stated ob­jec­tive was to get rid of the ser­vice and pocket the money. We the peo­ple left hold­ing the bag forever to the pri­vate en­ter­prise who would have taken over.

De­pend­ing on where you are in the re­gion, you are priv­i­leged to have both ma­jor cell com­pa­nies vy­ing for your busi­ness or you climb the hill to get a line! That’s pri­vate en­ter­prise. And it was the sub­ject of more than one in­ter­ven­tion at that meet­ing.

Our sug­ges­tion would be for the Trudeau gov­ern­ment to hold a Com­mis­sion of En­quiry on the de­liv­ery of information, goods and ser­vices. This in­cludes, ob­vi­ously, Canada Post and the var­i­ous courier ser­vices, but also the de­liv­ery of goods, their im­pact on the Cana­dian econ­omy, and var­i­ous ser­vices, in­clud­ing bank­ing and those of var­i­ous gov­ern­ment branches at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment.

A Com­mis­sion would be the per­fect set­ting to de­bate these is­sues, with the wide and nar­row vision that they have mostly pro­vided thus far. And these are not only ru­ral is­sues: all Cana­di­ans have something to say about the sub­ject. A re­turn to the for­mat would be a nice way of bring­ing back some vigour to our demo­cratic process.

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