Gee, They Look the Same
Western Multi-Party Democracies like the US, Canada, Australia and the UK are essentially one-man governments - the true definition of a dictatorship.
Let's look at Canada as a typical example of a so-called "democracy".
Stephen Harper is the Leader of Canada's Conservative Party. When that party won the election, Harper automatically became Canada's Prime Minister.
Canada, like most governments has an "inner circle", a 'cabinet' - perhaps analogous to China's government Politburo. This is a group of about 40 persons who exercise all the power in Canada's government. From this group are appointed all the Ministers of all important government departments.
The Prime Minister alone chooses the members of this cabinet; he can appoint and fire members at his whim, and there is no appeal to this process. He selects, and therefore controls, the cabinet that makes all decisions, decides all policies, drafts all laws.
The Prime Minister naturally selects only those people who are of a like mind, who already agree on all aspects of government policy. He will select a defense minister who agrees with his personal views on the military; serious disagreements will result in dismissal and replacement.
This cabinet has exclusive control over any new laws that will be introduced, amended or deleted. No member of the government is permitted to initiate new legislation without cabinet approval and support. The cabinet makes all major decisions relating to all portions of Canada's government.
When the cabinet decides on new policies or legislation, these are presented to the full government body for discussion and a vote. In all cases, all members of the ruling party vote for, and all members of the opposition party vote against. Since the ruling party has more votes, the legislation is always passed.
These minor members of the party in power have only one real responsibility - to vote as they are told. Any member voting against his government's proposal will be ejected from the party and forced to sit as an independent member, ending his political career.
It almost never happens that members of Canada's parliament are permitted what is called a "free vote", where members can vote according to their beliefs or their conscience rather than their government ideology or orders.
Since the Prime Minister effectively controls the entire government, very little will proceed that is contrary to his wishes and ideology, and certainly nothing major.
These members of the Opposition Party consist of almost half (sometimes more than half) of the government that was elected "by the people", but have no influence whatever on the acting government, and are totally disenfranchised and isolated, as if they didn't even exist.
They are "the opposing team", essentially "the enemy" who lost the battle, and whose wishes and initiatives are now ignored. They are not only the enemy, but their political ideology is diametrically opposed to that of the party in power.
They have a right to discuss issues and new legislation, but no more, and since their voting numbers are in the minority, they have no power of any kind.
A member of the opposition can introduce new legislation, but the ruling party can (and does) simply ignore it until the government term ends, at which point the proposal dies.
To my knowledge, it has never happened that an opposition party's proposals were accepted for discussion and voting. No ruling party will permit this opposition to receive credit for something good, and possibly affect the results of the next election.
It is only in fairy-tale children's stories where the opposition participates and consults and is a real part of government. In truth, they are simply a useless appendage to parliament, a nuisance to the government, and a huge needless expense.
In practical terms, this losing party serves no purpose whatever. It might just as well go home after the election and return four years later to try again.
But we don't quit just because our team lost the last game; instead, we spend our time preparing for the next game. So this opposition party uses that four years to obstruct, hamstring, discredit, embarrass and frustrate the governing party as much as possible.
They do this in the hope that four years of effective obstruction and embarrassment of the ruling party will bring their team a victory the next time.
As in most 'democracies', the President or Prime Minister has rather wide latitude to sign into law any pet project without consulting the 'government'. In Canada's case, Mr. Harper and his cabinet can formulate and pass binding laws on most anything without reference to the Parliament.
It shouldn't be necessary to point out that these are essentially the wishes of one man, creating whatever new legislation happens to fit his agenda and ideological position. His own cabinet may not be in favor, but obstruction would lead to dismissal.
The US is the same. Mr. Obama has the authority to declare that the total destruction of Libya by the US military wasn't really a "war", and therefore didn't need the approval of Congress. George Bush did the same with Iraq. Cute.
President Obama, nice man that he is, recently declared an official US policy of putting out hit contracts on anyone he doesn't like - anytime, anywhere, in any country, with citizens of any nation - and all done, not only without Congressional approval, but without violating "American moral standards and values".
This is an aside, but perhaps one of the most telling signs of the deep and frightening racism underlying the US psyche, is that the only public debate on this issue of government-sponsored extra-judicial executions was on the issue of killing 'Americans'. I'm not aware that any Congressional leaders, or indeed any Americans at all, raised even feeble objections to these (obviously illegal) murders of citizens in any other country.
If these aren't the true behaviors of a typical brutal and murderous dictatorship, I really cannot imagine what would be.
It should be clear from the above that one man - the Prime Minister - controls Canada's entire government. He personally selects the cabinet that decides all policy and legislation, and personally directs all government members on how to vote. Nothing happens without his approval.
If this isn't a "dictatorship", then what would be? This is the dictionary definition of a dictatorship - a government ruled by one man, which is precisely what Canada has. The UK under Margaret Thatcher was worse, and it wasn't better with Tony Blair.
It is an axiom now that Canada is governed in a series of four-year one-party dictatorships. All Western "democratic" countries are similar - the UK, Australia, Europe, Taiwan, South Korea . . . Only during periods where these countries have a weak and indecisive Prime Minister do other elected officials have much influence.
The US system is worse, though rather less transparent and more confusing.
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