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LETTER: Democracy’s doing fine, Carol

Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Carol Lorimer says in her recent letter “For over 50 years, I have believed I was living in a democracy. Lately, I’m not so sure.” (‘What happened to democracy?’ June 20.)

I’d like Carol to rest assured, democracy’s fine.

Providing information to a business about who they’re renting space to so they can decide if they want to host them, is democracy. Carol wants to “Let the people decide what’s racist.” Hasan Hai and John Riche did just that, so I’m not sure why she’s so worried.

Perhaps a hint is when she talks about “people like that.

People like what? Facebook people? Twitter People? Male people? People are equal in democratic Canada, Carol.

She’ll be delighted to know Hai and Riche are not “appointing themselves as the ultimate authority on what constitutes racism and bigotry,” as she frets. But if they were, more democracy!

I’d like some clarity regarding her statement “as if they think we are somehow too stupid to make up our own minds and must be led, like sheep, to the “correct” decisions,” as to who the we and our and they are in that sentence? Because if she’s referring to Canadians or NLers, then we and our includes both Hai and Riche.

“I don’t like being lectured on my commitment to democracy by some come-from-away from Ottawa whose idea of democracy is dictating to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who we should be allowed to support in a free election,” says Carol.

Being lectured to by anyone totally sinks my bobber as well. Perhaps Carol missed how N.L. was not a democracy from 1933 to 1949. Confederation restored it, which means people from Ottawa can and must participate in it! Is it possible that her umbrage is not entirely that the “come from aways” are from Ottawa?

“In a democracy, candidates shouldn’t feel they have to withdraw from the race because their family members feel threatened, as Kenney has just done.”

In democracy, Carol, people have the right to feel however they want. Perhaps Kenney wasn’t cut out for the grind if the minute he encountered opposition, as is likely to happen in a democracy, he tucked tail and quit.

“In a democracy, a local restaurant that has been in business for almost a century shouldn’t have to worry about losing customers just because some social media mob decides to dictate which

Again, in what way is providing information, or even protesting businesses and consumers, not democracy, Carol?

She also quotes David Maher’s story in The Telegram. That’s freedom of the press, a cornerstone of democratic principles. Sure, I’ve got democracy all over me now like ice cream dripping down my chin on a summer’s day!

Essentially, in the first part of her letter, Carol declares PPC candidates and members are not bigots, racists, xenophobes or Nazis. Then in the second bit, she quotes xenophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric common to the racist/xenophobic factions in this country. She even quotes a comedian who makes a blatantly xenophobic “joke.”

That could have upset me, but it provided further evidence that democracy is alive. After all, I was reading it in a newspaper— freedom of the press yet again!

Mentioning Omar Khadr provided me the opportunity to talk about the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest check to democracy in Canada. In the Khadr case, it determined that even the government isn’t to infringe on a Canadian’s rights, and indeed, must protect them. This is the best indicator of a healthy democracy in the entire letter.

“Playing the race card is insulting to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” says Carol.

Let’s scramble some metaphors and cliches.

If we’re playing with a full deck we ought to call a spade a spade. It’s Carol who played the race card, even if she’s trying to hide it up her sleeve. It’s all over her letter. Bad news for Carol, her poker face failed.

Carol’s just upset that Hai and Riche participated in democracy and that she only has equal rights, not superior rights.

I’m glad Carol wrote her letter to the editor. It was her democratic right to do so.

And I considered it my democratic obligation to respond.

Carolyn Parsons Chaffey,


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