A year ago, the country I live in swore in a leader who promised hope to a population that reveres the government’s executive office.
A year ago in the country that I hold citizenship to, the leader allowed the country’s government to shutdown for a month.
A month ago, in the country I hold citizenship to, the leader allowed the country’s government to shutdown again. This time for two months.
In both cases, dozens of potential laws died on the table.
In both cases the majority of the people’s representative’s felt the government was shutting down government to prevent debate.
My personal beliefs about the motivation aside, these actions represent a complete betrayal of the intent of a parliamentary democracy. The defining advantage of the system is that the leader of the government is held accountable by the people (via their representatives) on a daily basis. By turning a prime minister’s role into one that mimics the executive authority of a president circumvents centuries of carefully established checks and balances. This repeated prorogation risks turning an admired democracy into a glorified puppet state.
As an ex-pat, I’m painfully aware of how powerless my voice is. The inability to affect change in my country of residence and my home land is a frustrating reality few native citizens can understand.
While clever hash tags and green avatars may feel like political action, it’s not. Democracy requires active participation, and for that, nothing beats a ballot in a box and feet on the street.