POLI 221 Chapter Notes -Omnipotence, Giuliano Zaccardelli, List Of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioners

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The quiet unraveling of Canadian democracy
James Travers
Compares how safe and democratized Canada is in comparison to many African
oLegal, civil, human rights
oWealth, lack of corruption, health
“Africa, despite popular perception, despite the Somalias and Zimbabwes, is moving
in one direction, Canada in another.”
Canada = situational democracy
Since Trudeau, power has been taken out of Parliament and into the PMs office,
turning it more authoritarian
Some changes understandable
oOn account of globalization and subsidiarity
Trade, economy, environment = global
Health, education, quality of city life = provinces/municipalities
Politics/politicians = reflex response to remain/gain power
oPower = ability to do anything to these people
Donald Savoie – “court government”
oPower drift to opaque political centre
oIn between elections, PMs are omnipotent manner of kings
oHave subservient cabinet barons
oFawning unelected courtiers
oAnswer to no one
PMs freeing themselves from the chains put by voters, Parliament, cabinet and party
Example – David Emerson = former forestry executive/BC bureaucrat
oCalled Paul Martin’s most competent minister
o2006 – ran for re-election in Vancouver-Kingsway as a liberal
oWeeks after – named Conservative cabinet in trade portfolio
oRationale – no point in being in the capital if there’s no possibility of
influencing the nation’s course
oMade a joke of electoral process
Giuliano Zaccardelli (former RCMP Commissioner) leaking Liberal plans through
force to show not to tax income trusts
oConservative strategist Tom Flanagan says it was the tipping point
oLiberal scandals/ethics were bad therefore voters looked at that
oElection won by Conservatives even though the Liberals were on the way to
oDidn’t end up in any criminal charges but it was bad publicity
Parliament has been failing a lot recently
oDidn’t notice $millions going from Quebec sponsorship from treasury to PM
Jean Chretien’s office
oDidn’t notice runaway costs of Liberal long-gun registry
Ruling parties are keeping Parliament in the dark – causing independent officers to
struggle for freedom of jobs
oHiding public information by using untraceable verbal reports/post-it notes
Jean Chretien started this focus group stuff
Civil servants don’t leak
Parties themselves were changing rules so that the outcomes they wanted would
oForced Stephan Dion to become leader
Governor General is supposed to keep political check on the PMs but haven’t in
recent years