7 News Archive
Democracy loses out
By Ulli Diemer
Seven News, November 4, 1978

With all the elections happening these days, we’re being reminded again and again how lucky we are to live in a democracy.

But it takes something like the Toronto Islands affair to remind us just how our democracy really tends to work.

The decision to evict the islanders is dubious enough (see the article elsewhere in this issue). But what is even more dubious is the way the decision is being carried through.

These are the facts:
–The 650 Island residents don’t want to leave.
–The local ward aldermen don’t want them to leave.
–Their MPP doesn’t want them to leave.
–Their MP doesn’t want them to leave.
–Toronto City Council doesn’t want them to leave.
–The people of Toronto don’t want them to leave: Eight different public opinion polls have been conducted, including three by professional polling organizations. Every one of the public opinion polls showed overwhelming support for the Islanders.

Yet, despite all this, a group of Metro Councillors and bureaucrats headed by a non-elected politician, Paul Godfrey, has the power to impose their will on everyone else, and evict these people from their homes.

So much for democracy.

The people can say what they want, they can vote how they want, but the bureaucrats make the decisions. What we need is a new kind of democracy, a democracy in which the people themselves decide. Nowadays, that's a revolutionary idea.

P.S. As long as our democratic rights are restricted to marking an X on a ballot paper every few years, we might as well be careful about how we use our vote. I hope not too many of us waste a vote on Tony O’Donohue, the only candidate for mayor who wants to bulldoze the Island homes.

This article was published in Seven News, Volume 9, Number 13, November 4, 1978

Related Topics:
Anti-Democratic Ideologies & StructuresToronto IslandsToronto Politics