Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.
Our previous post on gags … here … brings to mind the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s 2012 report called “Losing Touch” in which ECO Gord Miller says: “Lately there has been a marked change in the behaviour of some ministries in respecting the rights of the citizens of Ontario under the EBR [Environmental Bill of Rights]”
He goes on to say: “This disregard for the rights of Ontarians has increased to a scope and degree such that I find it necessary to break out this portion of my statutory reporting requirements into its own part, so that Legislators can focus on the implications of the situation.” and: “in recent years, the ministry has increasingly evaded its obligations under the EBR, depriving the public of its established rights.” (emphasis added)
Because Ontario Government Ministries are avoiding their responsibilities in seeking input from Ontarians via the EBR, the citizens of Ontario are being effectively MUZZLED, or as we say, GAGGED.
But we go even further. We suggest that even when comments are properly sought and received, they are rarely if ever properly considered and incorporated into the legislation or regulations affected.
The ECO concludes that “it appears that elements of the bureaucratic institution called the Ontario Public Service, which was created to support and implement the will of the people’s Legislative Assembly, are somehow losing touch with their role and responsibilities, at least with regard to the Environmental Bill of Rights.”
The Environmental Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association has commented on this sorry state of affairs, where the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Natural Resources simply ignore their responsibilities. You can read the OBA report here: http://www.oba.org/en/pdf/sec_news_env_oct12_Ministries_Shaw.pdf
The result of all this avoidance and ignoring of citizen input is a sense of futility on the part of ever-growing segments of society. The attitude becomes: “Why comment when they don’t listen anyway! What’s the use?”
This attitude gives the politicians and bureaucrats an opportunity to deceive themselves into thinking that they have the tacit consent of the majority of their constituents, when the truth is that vast numbers of citizens are fed up with the futility of the exercise.
So we should not be surprised when we see more and more public tantrums organized by people who are fed up with being gagged.
Is this what you would call a ‘civilized representative democracy’?
Wouldn’t it be better to remove the gags and actually be heard by those we hire (elect) to work for us?