We should all wait patiently for the time soon when we have to admit that democracy might be a ghost. A ghost is something that people talk about but we are not sure we have really seen it. Democracy might just be a fleeting idea—admittedly lost in the face of expediency and corruption. It might not have the profitability or decisiveness for business use but believing in democracy can be an effective sop for the hoi polio.
But magic minorities that can out-vote majorities are not common in most democracies. For premier Doug Ford to legislate it for Toronto and Ottawa, it makes you wonder where it came from. His only experience with a city other than Toronto is the time he spent likely losing money for his father’s company trying to move some of their business to Chicago. Yet that city is known for having strong mayors in what is considered, in the U.S.A., as a weak mayoral system.
The explanation of what I just wrote is simple. Because of their control of the agenda, budgeting, police services and other key appointments, Chicago mayors have appeared strong over the years. It also helps that the democrats usually hold all or almost all of the 50 council seats. And Doug Ford would have been there in the middle of Richard M. Daly’s reign of 22 years as mayor of that city.
(I remember how impressed I was with the smooth running of Chicago city hall. I was in Chicago in the same time period, researching a book about Chicago in the 1920s that I was writing.)
And if Doug Ford got the idea for Toronto’s super minority from his late brother, maybe Rob Ford was into his crack-cocaine habit at the time.
Mind you, I would also disagree with super majorities also. Some jurisdictions put the brakes on democracy by requiring a super majority. Any proposal for having 65 per cent or anything more than 51 per cent to carry, is just as anti-democratic. It makes it obvious that the perpetrators are opposed to any change in their handiwork.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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