CANADIAN DEMOCRACY WAS NOT TARNISHED
IN QUEBEC CITY
I am writing in response to the May 9 letter from Prof.
David Josephy. I was intrigued by his statement that April
21 "was a dark day for Canadian democracy." I
was curious as to how the issues discussed in the letter
were a mark on democracy.
According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, democracy is
"government by the people." This is a very pure
definition. The second part of the definition may be a better
description of the Canadian democratic system: "a government
in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised
by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation
usually involving periodically held free elections."
According to this definition, the most undemocratic gesture
on that day would have been the protests themselves - by
trying to prevent the freely elected representatives from
doing what they were elected to do by the majority of Canadians.
The infringements mentioned by Prof. Josephy were not of
democratic rights, but rather of the fundamental freedoms
of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Most poignant
would be the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.
Even here, there may be debate as to whether or not these
freedoms were violated. Was all of the assembly peaceful?
Did the spillover from curtailing violent protests infringe
your (and others') freedoms? Was the fence not an attempt
to protect the same rights of the freely elected representatives?
I do not wish to debate the existence and extent of violations
of these freedoms, nor do I want to make a statement for
or against the demonstrations in Quebec City. I just wish
to note that April 21 was not as dark a day for democracy
as suggested by Prof. Josephy and certainly not in the facet
presented. There didn't seem to be any violations of Canadian
democratic rights, and I don't think your readers should
believe that our democracy has been tarnished in any way
by the events on that Dark Day.
Jeremy Brown, M.Sc. candidate
Department of Agricultural Economics and Business