Thursday, November 12, 2015

Participatory Democracy


Justin Trudeau has made a lot of promises. And, Susan Delacourt writes, he's calling on Canadians to help him keep them. That's a complete turnaround from the man he replaced:

The difference boils down to this: Stephen Harper only made promises that he had the power to deliver on his own. Trudeau, on the other hand, needs help from people and institutions outside his government to make good on his campaign pledges — help from premiers, from other countries and, perhaps most importantly, from Canadian citizens themselves.

Consider Trudeau's promise to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada before years end:

Citizenship and Immigration Minister John McCallum has made no secret of the fact that Liberals can’t pull this off by themselves. Getting the Syrian refugees here is something the government can organize, McCallum has said, but making the necessary settlement arrangements requires Canadians to suit up for service too — by providing homes or other aid to newcomers in their communities.

“There are many Canadians across the land who want to reach out to help us in this endeavour,” McCallum said this week.

Let’s be clear — that’s more than just a platitude. It’s a condition for making this promise a reality by Dec. 31.

And, then, there's Trudeau's promise to tackle climate change:

What this means, in essence, is that Canada’s prime minister will not be sitting alone at the table in Paris — and any commitments from Canada at these talks won’t be the product of a simple declaration from on high. As the Ottawa Citizen’s Glen McGregor observed on CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning this week, it means that Canada’s future plans on climate change will be hammered out in Paris hotel rooms as well as at the big UN negotiating table. Trudeau’s going to Paris to negotiate with the world — but while he’s there, he’ll also have to negotiate with the Canadian delegation he’s bringing with him.

Trudeau's approach to governing is risky. When other people have skin in the game, they don't always do as you would wish them to do.  But it's a refreshing change from the last guy. And it could change our politics:

This attitude speaks to an idea of government very different from the one held by the last government — that the responsibility for making things work in government belongs to citizens as well as politicians. In this version of government, citizens aren’t merely passive “taxpayers” — they’re participants.

We shall see what the future brings.


Steve said...

Harper screwed every pooch, crossed every line, bribed every foucus group, and still he lost. So why not just do the right thing and hope for the best.

Owen Gray said...

There's a lot of hope riding on Trudeau, Steve. Let's hope he does the right thing.

Lorne said...

Considering the remarkable contrast between the new and the old regime, Owen, the latter of which so actively discouraged citizen participation, I can't help but think of what Macduff says to Malcolm in the play Macbeth:

Such welcome and unwelcome things at once
'Tis hard to reconcile.

Owen Gray said...

I agree that the change seems to be breathtaking, Lorne. Let's hope the change is "real change."