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LETTER: Hope for a better democracy

"Solutions to problems will be more readily accepted and supported when citizens feel an ownership and responsibility in the decision-making process and are willing to self-impose these solutions on themselves."
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The current adversarial design of our system of democracy, continues to be a game of winning and losing. Collaboration is seen more as the enemy than the means to better solutions for all of us. The shrill of power easily becomes the end rather than the harmony of peace and progress we desire.

Intelligence, wisdom, a depth of life experiences and competence are drowned in a sea of social media hype and self-congratulatory tweets. We all, some more than others, buy into the celebrity and consumer images we are taught and programmed to be. Ambition, self-interest, individual rights and financial success are all built into our understanding of purpose and happiness. We all have a yearning and desire for more. Less is not a word associated with progress. We are also well conditioned and taught to compete and fight for our share of the collective pie.

How then do we, as citizens, help move our system of democratic governance to achieve progress, equity, justice, trust and confidence in the institutions and political leaders of our nation? How do we make our democracy better?

Solutions to problems will be more readily accepted and supported when citizens feel an ownership and responsibility in the decision-making process and are willing to self-impose these solutions on themselves. Our democracy will then be allowed to breathe the air of freedom that comes with our shared responsibility for each other. A harmony between our liberty and equity (share of the pie) will more easily become a reality because of a new collective emphasis on collaboration rather than the competitive scramble for a bigger piece of the pie.

Language and words are important tools in conveying ideas and thoughts. It is important that we not only share these thoughts respectfully but we also know what we are saying and the impact these words have on those listening. From this shared understanding and civil discussion, we can all benefit and learn from each other. This will allow for a more nurturing social environment, rather than one filled with the negative tensions of anger and verbal abuse. Fear, division and the threat of losing will be replaced by respect and the strength that comes through a more collaborative and co-operative spirit.

Within the context of the above, may I applaud Prime Minister Trudeau for his appointment of Chrystia Freeland as his new Minister of Finance. I have followed Ms Freeland over the course of her political career and have also read her book published in 2012, “The Plutocrats,” the rise of the new global super rich and the fall of everyone else. Ms Freeland proudly comes from the Northern Alberta farm community of Peace River. Her sterling academic achievements, which includes a Rhodes Scholarship and her accomplishments in journalism from around the world are truly amazing. I congratulate her and wish her well along with our governments in dealing with the many complicated issues during these troubling times. With the likes of Ms Freeland, I see and feel much hope for our future and democracy, directed more by understanding and self-imposition than by bullying and the imposition of power, position and privilege.

Wilf Borgstede, St. Albert




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