Michael Ignatieff has a warning - parliamentary democracy is in big trouble and may fall victim to today's authoritarian prime ministers.
“I think something really bad has happened to parliamentary democracies
all over the world — not just in my country, Canada. What’s happened is
increasing power to the prime minister, increasing power to the
bureaucracy, and the legislature — parliament — is a kind of empty,
pointless debating chamber because it’s all stitched up in advance by
party leaders,” Ignatieff said during a weekend panel discussion, aired
by the BBC during its annual Free Thinking Festival.
Ignatieff told Postmedia News by email that his message at the Free
Thinking Festival was that, “what is in a party leader or prime
minister’s interest is not always in the interest of democracy.”
He added that a “loosening of the party whips may be necessary to keep our democracy from suffocation.”
“Honesty requires me to say I was a party leader once,” Ignatieff
quickly acknowledged, “and my instincts were always to shut those people
[dissenting Liberal MPs] down wherever I could. So I’m completely,
flagrantly contradicting what my interests were not two years ago.”
Kind of makes you wonder where was this Ignatieff during those years he spent in Ottawa?