[reverting to british colonialism]
Despite all of the ballyhoo over declining voter participation, there is a growing return to a social ill here in Buffy’s Corners.
William Lyon MacKenzie coined the term, “Family Compact”. He was describing a hierarchical class structure in Canada. Left unattended, this elite little group manipulated and controlled all the levers of political and administrative power.
The recent municipal elections in Brampton Ontario give off an ominous odor of history repeating itself. Three of the eleven elected are the children of former council members. In a town of 500,000 that is much more than simple coincidence. In fact, it is downright troubling.
Looking locally outside of City Council, the trend is much wider than just municipal government. One of the elected Members of the Legislature is the offspring of a former Member of Parliament the child of another former MP is currently being discussed as a potential candidate in next year’s federal election.
Of course, the current leader of the Liberal party of Canada is the son of a former Liberal Prime Minister.
But, the levers of power that met with Lyon Mackenzie’s scorn extended much deeper than elected politicians. Even though many of the gentry and lords of colonial Canada achieved power and control by way of appointments, their underlings held great sway in most facets of government.
Many of the “executive councils’ in existence during the golden days of the Family Compact were (allegedly) dismantled and replaced by “responsible government”. However, look around at various appointed board, committees and agencies and questions about representative/responsible government are most troubling.
In the recent Municipal election, two issues were obvious: a hospital and the viability of light rail transit. Few are aware that the entire decision making process of both issues is in the hands of committees appointed by your Provincial government. In health care, control is in the hands of a “Local Health Improvement Network”. They alone dictate resources such as hospitals. On the transit side, another agency “Metro Links” not only drives $1.6 billion LRT projects but DICTATES to all municipalities in Ontario which manufacturer of rolling stock (buses, rail stock etc) but also have great sway over which construction company is chosen. Either the municipalities comply or the Provence will not contribute a share of YOUR tax dollars.
If you do not think that potential conflicts of “political interest” are a distinct possibility as a result of vesting such great power in the hands of appointed agencies like LHIN and MetroLink, I suggest that you are overlooking a basic human tendency: humans have a predisposition and affinity to feathering their own nests.
I have LONG advocated a fully elected Police Board for similar reasons. Policing, after all is among the most financially significant portions of how your residential tax dollars are spent. Moreover, in a predominantly multicultural community such as present day “Buffy’s Corners” hardly a year passes without a racially based flare up involving such subjects as profiling.
Later this week, your Peel Regional government will meet and (without public voice) will select one of their own who will hold the Region’s top “elected /(wink)” position as Regional Chair.
When the family Compact was reigned in during 1837, it required much more than intellectual protests. Let’s hope that modern day Canadians can not only wrest control of agencies such as LHINs, MetroLinks and Police Boards in a non-violent manner. Democracy is not served by way of family elites holding inherited political offices nor does it serve to stimulate voter participation in elections.
True treasures of any democratic society ought not to be handed over to cliques by way of our collective indifference.