This just in — Canada is not a dictatorship
I have read the recent letters that claim Canada is a dictatorship and others that point out that Canada is not.
The simple fact that citizens can publicly criticize the government, and that such letters can be freely printed in a newspaper, is clear and undeniable proof of our democratic freedoms.
The Collins English Dictionary defines a dictator as, "A ruler who is not effectively restricted by a constitution."
So, to the case in point. In May 2011, Prime Minister Harper led the Conservatives to their third consecutive election victory. The Conservatives increased their seats in Parliament to 166, up from 143. The Conservatives also received a greater number of total votes than in 2008.
Given the constitutional limits on a government, protected by the Supreme Court, sometime in the fall of 2015 we will have another federal election. Canadian voters will enjoy universal suffrage, freedom of association, freedom of speech, a free and unfettered public press, public debate, and a secret ballot.
All these freedoms are enshrined in our constitution and Charter of Rights, which are the envy of many people around the world. Dictatorship? I think not, and to call us one makes a mockery of those around the world who suffer under such rule, and examples abound.
Finally, the age-old debate on reforming the vote to get rid of the "first-past-the-post" never seems to be raised by the members of political parties that were successful in the election.
The federal NDP went pretty quiet on vote reform when they won a huge victory in 2011 and became the Official Opposition.
The system is not perfect, but it has served us well since Confederation, and Canada continues to be among the very best places on earth.