Much has been made recently of the fact that the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has invited Canadians to submit questions via You Tube, some of which he will answer on March 16. While many see this as just another stunt to make Harper look more human and accessible (who can forget his performance of “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends”?), I see something potentially much more sinister in this ploy.
Call me paranoid if you will, but given the contempt the Harper government has shown to Parliamentary democracy, e.g., proroguing Parliament twice within a year for no good reason, refusing to hand over the reports on Afghanistan torture to Parliament, I can’t help but think that this so-called exercise in direct democracy is but a Machiavellian way of subtly conveying to the people of Canada that our elected representatives really are not important, and that his government’s disdain for our constitutional democracy is nothing to be concerned about, since he wants to interact with us without that pesky intermediary called Parliament.
Of course, any interaction is illusory, since there will be no opportunity for follow-up questions and, of course, he will be free to put any spin he likes on each query, after having had adequate time with his advisers to prepare his rhetoric.
All in all, an empty exercise, but quite possibly a dangerous one, given his on-going animus toward true accountability.