As an average citizen of Canada, I believed in Canadian democracy and democratic institutions. Unfortunately, yet again my belief was broken by a system that works for the powerful and the elite.
On June 24th, 2022 I was a candidate to be the councillor for Etobicoke North in the Toronto city council for the balance term of Michael Ford as he had moved on to greener pastures. This constituency is popularly known in Toronto as the core of ‘Ford nation’ as only a Ford can either rule over it or decide its destiny. I was about to get my primary lesson 101 on how not to dream differently in Ford territory and how the power of the name goes beyond the boundaries of the riding and rules over the minds of politicians all across the aisle.
That I had impeccable educational and professional qualifications for the job backed by great community work was unimportant. That I had stood up umpteen times to fight hate, discrimination, bigotry and racism meant nothing. My strong voice which has always spoken on behalf of the muted and effectively presented my case at the City Hall fell on deaf ears. (You tube link-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEa4QT5z76I&t=2692s)
Why? Because the election process was rigged, a sham and the result was pre-decided.
A candidate who had the outright support of Michael Ford was elected as the new councillor of ward one. In a story in various media agencies posted on June 24th 2022 itself, the spokesperson of the Mayor and councillor Layton confirmed that the decision was taken just on the basis of the recommendation of Michael Ford. The spokesperson also confirmed what was clearly evident in an earlier election this month for two other ridings that the Mayor and the council purely went by the recommendation of the outgoing councillors.
That the candidate ‘elected’ resigned within hours due to her past hateful views was disappointing but as an ordinary citizen, it was equally disheartening to see a sham being made of the democratic process by its very guardians.
If the Mayor and the council members went purely by the recommendations of the previous councillor then why have make ordinary citizens dream that they too can participate in the political process? Just inform us that we have no chance and the power will continue to be concentrated among a few directly or through their handpicked associates!
And what is the vetting process in the City hall? Despite having an army of staff and having ample time, yet not once they bothered to vet the credentials of the candidates and made this process a costly, wasteful exercise which has also become a blot on the reputation of this institution. At the least they could have vetted this candidate who was already the chosen heir by the ex-councillor!
To say that I am deeply dismayed with the system is an understatement. The system is broken and that is why the same set of powerful and the elite continue to rule over us. Yet I will continue to date and fight this corrupt system.
As an activist who has stood up for truth, I have suffered in the past and this time too may pay the price for speaking out. Such is the fate of truth speakers in today’s society.
Zelensky just a popular comic rose to become not just the leader of its people but a guiding light in defence of democracy all over the world. Ordinary people are capable of extraordinary acts if allowed an opening in the system.
The process is going to be carried out again on August 15th 2022 and again the selection may be pre-decided by now and including me there would be another 19 candidates out of the 21 applicants who may just be viewers to the crowning of the chosen one. Or have the learned politicians learned from this incidence and would let democracy take its true shape. Only time will tell.
In hope of seeing a better world, I keep walking ahead!