The Friendly Dictatorship Revisited
07 May 2007, 15h35 EDT (GMT-4)
The Agenda on TV Ontario
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Democracy is founded upon the conviction that the wisdom of society lies with the many and not the few. In this context, the massive centralisation of power in the PMO, under a succession of Prime Ministers of varying political hues, undermines not only the efficacy but also the legitimacy of the Canadian state.
Steve Paikin and The Agenda assembled a panel to examine what impact the minority parliament has had on the impulse to amass ever more power at the centre: Jeffrey Simpson, of the Globe and Mail; Norman Spector, Brian Mulroney's Chief of Staff; Janice MacKinnon, Roy Romanow's Minister of Finance; and myself.
I was surprised that my colleagues on the panel seemed less alarmed by the steady concentration of more and more power in fewer and fewer hands. In my view, the greatest guarantor of liberty and good government is an engaged and sceptical populace standing between its leaders and the levers of power, but this is clearly not a universal sentiment.
An audio file of the full panel discussion is available variously at my Television page, my iTunes vodcast, and via subscription to my RSS newsfeed.