Sunday, November 9, 2014

WATCHDOGS AND ACCOUNTABILITY

It has been over a month since I last posted.  My apologies to my loyal readers, critics and those of you that check in on my little piece of cyberspace from time to time.

I have a love hate relationship with blogging. This forum started as a place to have a discussion about issues, technology, boardgames, offbeat news, parenting and politics. It was my personal soapbox from which to wax polemic and some times take contradictory positions to generate discussion.

Over the years, I have had many a friend say, Peter - are you not worried that your stinging criticism of public officials, partisan figures and party politics might come back to kick you in the ass?  

The truth is that some of my posts have cost me some sleep, a few jobs but few regrets. We have become a society full of sheep, I want no part of that.

I do not pretend to be right or block negative comments. I simply write what is on my mind and hope not to get sued for libel.  

The truth is that my childhood dream was to be a journalist or a talk show host. The reason was simple enough, I grew up in a little outport where social injustice reigned supreme. From the indebiture of fisherman to buyers to horrible pothole filled roads, it seemed that we accepted our lot in life instead of challenging authority and working together for change. 

I became more politically aware, became a news hound and began debating policy and politics. Before long I was writing letters to the editor of the local paper about the success of co-ops and questioning partisan politics.

I have lived through three political cycles in our province. Two PC and one Liberal. The common denominator seems to be the arrogance that develops with time inside the bubble of power.  

2003 brought the Liberal era of governance to an end. Danny Williams promised change - renewal, transparency & accountability.  11 years later & four P.C. Premiers later we are witnessing a loss of confidence in the governing party that is uncannily similar to the lead up to the 2003 election. 

The majority of the population want change. They really do not seem to care who leads them or what they offer. They feel anything is better than what we have.

Once again, we hear the whispers of renewal, transparency & accountability. I have been around long enough to watch the cycle repeat itself three times. I worry about the province electing another lopsided majority government that results in a tiny opposition up against a huge majority whose members are whipped into party solidarity.  I have high hopes for real change but my skepticism is strong.  

I fear that without a strong commitment to democratic reform - eliminating corporate fundraising,  stronger legislative committees, less votes along party lines,  empowering the caucus and even introducing recall mechanisms - we are on the verge of another cycle of the same worn out top down arrogance that we have been subjected to so often in the past.

Sometimes,  I wish that I had stayed on the path of journalism, of being a watchdog. We need independent journalists to sort through the spin, the vast universe of information that bombards us everyday.  It is vital that we have those that do not fear the institutions that run our lives. 

We need independent media that informs the public about government decision making, that keeps an eye out for illegal activity, immorality, liars, hacks and propagandists.

We need checks and balances. 

We need to be less selfish , more engaging and more demanding.

We need to be less afraid and more confident . 

We need to elect independent minded people who will put our best interest head of their party or hopes of advancement.

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