Reflection Oct 15, 2018 (Socials 10)

Last week we learned how to make change in government.

The three main ways to make change in government are lobbying, making a petition and civil disobedience.

Lobbying is seeking to influence a politician or public official on an issue and can be done by joining a lobbying or interest group. In these groups a lobbyist is elected then the group uses that lobbyist to put direct pressure on the official or mobilizes voters and provides information for the official.

Next, a petition is a formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority with respect to a particular cause. These petitions can be made by following the guidelines on the parliament of Canada website. For the government to read it, it has to have at least 25 signatures. Governments are only obligated to read these petitions and not act on them. But they are responsible to respond within 120 days of receiving the letter.

The last way to make change in government is Civil Disobedience this is the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest. Gandhi wrote 3 principals to doing civil disobedience properly. 1. it must not include violence, 2. it must be directed against laws that are significantly unjust and 3. it requires taking responsibility for one’s actions. Willingness to face punishment shows the strength for one’s beliefs. I think Gandhi is right for saying this because civil disobedience seems like a last resort if you can’t get through to your government.

One example of lobbying I found was from CBC news at their site: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/enbridge-lobbying-of-harper-government-a-success-story-1.1152513
In a nut shell major energy companies lobbied the Harper government to build the Enbridge pipeline so they can move more bitumen from Alberta oil sands to BC. This change is negative to society because it is bad for the environment and shows how much control over government big money companies actually have. I disagree with this change and how it was done because it was probably done by these companies paying off the Harper government. Benefits of lobbing include: you can try to get change directly from a politician and drawbacks include: only big organizations can successfully lobby on the provincial and federal level.

One Example of a petition I found was on plastic bags being banned in Victoria because of their affect on the environment. They achieved this by getting 29,279 people to sign their petition. I agree with this change because plastic bags are bad for the environment and we should ban more throw-away plastic items. I think this was a perfect way to get this done because it shows the government that many people wanted the change. Benefits of petitions include: they seek the attention you need in a peaceful way and drawbacks include they need a lot of people to actually do successfully and the politician can choose whether to say yes or no.

One example of civil disobedience I found was on bill 78 in Quebec that stopped people from protesting and put fines on it because of increasing protests on tuition cost raising. Thousands of people wearing red went out on the streets in civil disobedience of this bill and the bill was removed. I agree with this change because in any democracy people should be allowed to protest so that the government works for the people like it is supposed to. I like the way they went about changing the bill because it was not violent at all and got the point across strongly. Benefits of civil disobedience are: It can end in fast change if done properly and drawbacks include: it could end in violence if done wrong.

In conclusion, I found that the order in which you should try to influence government is lobbying first so they know all the info they need to make a decision. Then if they don’t do anything, making a petition to show them lots of people want the change. And lastly if all else fails and you need to stop an unjust law you should use civil disobedience.

Another interesting thing I found that pertains to how our electoral system works and how to make change in government is this image:

This shows that some companies can get around the rules against donating to a political party by using the lobbyist as a sort of ‘middle man’ to secretly fund/influence politicians. I find this very deceptive and probably also illegal. What do you think of it Mr. Chan?

Sorry I got carried away with one topic and wasn’t able to do anything on elections. I think this is how it will be with all my reflections because one topic is just too broad to cover in one reflection.