From Letters page, Toronto Star, June 4, 2011
The near hysterical howls of derision from former political scientist C.E.S. (Ned) Franks in the Star, Robert Silver in the Globe and Mail and Jonathan Kay in the National Post — to mention a few — strongly suggest that Brigette DePape is touching the right nerve.
In fact, the criticism of her demonstration actually boils down to a wilful blindness to the scope and the profound nature of the democratic deficit that increasingly characterizes Canadian politics and has as its exemplar the reign of Stephen Harper.
Democracy in Canada is broken. Canadians know this and they know that it is up to them to fix it. And if the struggle to repair an existing, dysfunctional democracy is not on quite the same order as overthrowing a dictatorship to establish a new one, it doesn’t mean that we here in Canada shouldn’t make the effort necessary to get it done.
And if the inspiration for creating the Arab Spring was the heart-rending and tragic death of Mohamed Bouazizi, this doesn’t mean that we need another death or violence in the streets to effect meaningful change here. DePape made a considered and well-calculated statement commensurate with the context of a Canadian Democratic Spring. Well done, Brigette.
And if she is not a Gandhi or a King, her message still demands a positive response from us all. Now. So let’s sign Fair Vote’s Declaration of Voters’ Rights and participate in Leadnow’s grassroots articulation of a people’s mandate. Let’s work together to obtain the “right relationship” between the governed and those who would govern us in a true and fair representative democracy.
Mark Henschel, Toronto
Thank you, Mr. Henschel. You too have touched 'the right nerve'. It is true that democracy in Canada is broken and it will take more than a fired Senate page to fix it, but Ms Depape has certainly placed herself at the forefront of the fixers, as have you.
It is not only the pundits who have dumped on Ms Depape; it is also the leaders of all political parties in Ottawa that have come out in disapproval of her "inappropriate protest"...and that is a bad sign of how deep the malaise runs.
We need to come out in droves, to political meetings, to radio shows, to letters-to-the-editor, to blogs and to every social media outlet available to us to take back the government from the 40% who have expressed support for the Harper gang and their misguided policies, attitudes and divisive approach to governing.
The people of Quebec, while expressing some protest vote, on May 2, have also not fully invested in that vote. And the NDP, while important, is not and will not become a 'Quebec first' national party. It is, however, not only by dividing region from region that Harper seeks to govern. It is also by dividing the wealthy corporations from the "people" and their legitimate interests (see environment, health care, education costs, housing and opportunity for First Nations peoples, seniors' capacity to live in dignity and security) and not new prison cells, or new fighter jets, or less public support for political parties...
We have now a "profit-driven" and a corporate dependent government that could not care less about the living conditions of ordinary Canadians. Ms Depape understood this; you and I understand this, and now we have to find ways to wake up several million Canadians to these realities.
Appointing two right-wing conservative judges to the Canadian Supreme Court is not going to help the cause of the Canadian people, either. And yet that is the power and opportunity Canadians have given to Harper. It is like a blank cheque, and as the Bruins responded to that whallop of a hit on Nathan Horton last night, so should Canadians come back from the wake-up call of May 2, and take the country back from these corporatist puppets.