LOG CABIN CHRONICLES

The political parade reaches West Quebec

Posted 10.16.16
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Recently, West Quebec was treated to some old-time political showmanship, as Pontiac's MNA André Fortin ushered multiple provincial cabinet ministers around the region. They met municipal and MRC officials, spoke to groups, and, generally, "showed the flag.". The flag, to be sure, was the Liberal Party's flag. Shore up the base was the goal, and there's no base more solid that West Quebec.

This is a well-used practice; we, here in the "regions", have seen this before. The officials carry messages here from their government -- but are not here particularly to listen to us. No doubt each minister and entourage had a list of regions to visit and each collected a stack of requests. Imagine the size of that stack at the end of this exercise! Where do we suspect our West Quebec priorities are within that pile?

It will be interesting to note just when our region's priorities will be addressed by Quebec City. Any estimates?

It's a screwy system we've let develop, where our so-called representatives and our so-called government leaders are not representative at all, and, in many cases, hardly leading anyone real at all. If they represent anything, our reps represent not us to the government, but they represent the government to us.Our system has morphed into a top-down governing process, rather than what we used to romantically call "grass roots" democracy.

This includes most government offices, departments, and agencies -- school boards are prime examples. Instead of electing leaders to take our priorities and concerns to higher levels of government, we elect leaders and these leaders who then tell us what will be done (on our behalf). This is not exactly how democracy should work, although I imagine it's world-wide.

When we have a population that's half-asleep at the wheel, in terms of government and public issues, no wonder a system develops which feeds the plans and ambitions of those who are awake -- and who do have the authority to govern.

These may be harsh words for a public already running all-out earning their living, raising their kids, and caring for their elders, but, frankly, if we (us, the royal Public), if we really expected or wanted specific and local actions on our region's behalf we would have met these touring ministers with large crowds, demonstrations, protests, petitions, requests for interviews, etc., etc. And no one did, that we know of.

Both our provincial federal deputies are working hard at their job (however it's defined) and surely they are frustrated by the public's apparent limited interest in participation. Mr Amos has been very busy with riding-wide consultations. Excellent first step, but it's pretty clear by now, we the public will continue our political snooze-fest -- defined in part as getting our news from social media. Social media has become as much a tool of mis-democracy as have, say, "public consultations"!

Maybe that's where our deputies should begin. Right at the base: stir up public conversation -- stimulate interest and participation -- and encourage dissent and comment.

john@johnmahoney.com




Copyright © 2016 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/10.16