A Question of Democracy?

Michael Ignatieff speaking at the anti-prorogation rally on Parliament Hill yesterday. “This is a demonstration that shows that Canadians understand their democracy, care for their democracy and if necessary, will fight for their democracy,” Ignatieff told the crowd.

Well, we shall see about that… I’m still inclined towards a more cynical disposition when it comes to Canadians by and large understanding their “democracy” let alone caring all that much for its parliamentary procedures or partisan political machinations.

Why, for example, do all these protesters earnestly shouting “Back to work!” accept without question the adjournment of parliament for a full two and a half months during the summer each year? Perhaps they’re unaware that parliament actually sits for just 136 days out of the entire year. Or if not, do they presume that government isn’t “working” for the remaining 63 percent of the year?

As H.L. Menken famously said, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

Update: Video from the rally in Victoria.

From today’s Times-Colonist report of the event:

About 1,500 people gathered at Centennial Square, from teens to seniors and Greens to Conservatives.

Victoria organizer Craig Ashbourne, a 26-year-old sociology student, told the crowd the numbers of people of all political stripes drawn together after only two weeks of Internet postings and e-mails is proof something profound is happening in Canadian politics.

“And people are coming up a little bit inspired,” said Ashbourne after the event. “They are talking about what we can do here and [they’re] not just going to sit back and wait for the next election.”

Speakers included Victoria-area NDP MP Denise Savoie of the NDP and Liberal MP Keith Martin, along with University of Victoria political scientist Dennis Pilon, who said he knew of many Conservative voters who were offended by the move.

Whether the Dear Leader will be impressed by the fact that 0.5% of folks here in Victoria were sufficiently frustrated with his government’s (in)action to turn out to a protest rally is, I would suggest, doubtful to say the least.