22 January 2010

Supreme Court further undermines U.S. democracy

I have frequently emphasized in these pages that Canada is not a democracy. When corporations own most of the mass media, dominate the economy and fund political parties, think tanks and lobby groups, we are as much a plutocracy as a democracy. We have a hybrid system.

Occasionally we do take measures to advance the democratic component. The federal government, for example, has banned corporate funding of election campaigns. 

Our neighbours to the south have just been told they will not be allowed to take even this reasonable step to protect democracy from the corruption of wealth. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, by a 5-4 margin, that governments can not restrict corporations and unions from spending on ads expressly urging a candidate’s election or defeat. Big money is moving quickly to exploit the ruling. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has promised the largest, most aggressive election campaign in its history to defeat congressional Democrats who support Obama's proposals for overhauling the health insurance and financial systems and limiting carbon emissions.

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