No, there is no such thing as a mandate in Canada

The secret no government wants you to know: No leader has a ‘mandate’

Opinion: Leaders across Canada’s political spectrum have used their ‘mandate’ as a defence for their actions. But voters beware: that’s not how our system works

By David MoscropJuly 27, 2018

Democracy is like former U.S. Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart’s opinion on pornography: It’s difficult to define, but you’ll recognize it when you see it. And people see democracy all over the place. Do an informal poll around the dinner table or on the pitch or at the pub, ask “What is democracy?” and you’ll get an array of responses: It’s elections, or it’s the government doing what you want them to do, or it’s the freedom to choose, or it’s the ability to affect outcomes by participating in political decision-making.

Governments also see democracy all over the place, but they conveniently adjust their definition to fit their ambitions, their agendas, and the particularities of the moment. Often, governments from across the political spectrum will cite a “mandate” as justification for what they have done or intend to do. “The people chose us and our plan,” rings the voice in the hall, “and that is what we are going to do!”

It’s a familiar justification for policy, especially right now. In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford has decided to intrude into municipal politics—returning to what he claims to know—by announcing that his government will nearly halve city council seats in Toronto to 25 from 47 and cancel regional board chair elections in the province, just before election season. It’s like a referee stopping a match midway to inform the players that rules have changed and, if you don’t mind, half of you need to hit the showers and don’t bother coming back to the field.

But this maneuver is certainly not a Ford invention. His execution of it may be ham-fisted and inelegant, and his painting of the political landscape may be a shade or two darker than his recent predecessors, but governments in Canada from the right, left and centre at both the federal and provincial levels have long cited a vision, agenda, mandate or some combination of the three to justify their actions.

And here’s what they don’t want you to know: the concept of a mandate is fuzzy, foreign to our Canada’s electoral and political system, and a tool of political control. And when politicians employ it, voters should beware: they are about to be taken on a ride.

READ MORE: Premier to Ford Nation: You voted for this, and eventually we’ll tell you what ‘this’ is

Can Ford make these sweeping changes, claiming that the reforms will make council leaner, meaner, and run like a corporate board, with those changes coming quickly, without consultation, review, or even so much as a democracy-washing town hall? Well, yes. In Canada, the Constitution clearly assigns cities as “creatures” of the province. They enjoy no protection that would stop Ford’s reforms. But the law and politics aren’t the same, and the premier must also contend with the public. But how will he do that? Quite likely the same way that party after party and government after government and premier after premier before him has: by claiming that he has the right.

In June, voters in Ontario returned 76 Progressive Conservative MPPs to the legislature, giving the Tories a majority government. It’s no matter that the Blue Side secured just 40 per cent of a 58 per cent turnout—that is, 23 per cent support of the province’s citizens. In the Westminster, single-member plurality system that we have had since the 19th century, the party with the most seats tends to form government. Once they do, they are largely free to do what they please within the boundaries of the law—and occasionally just outside them—until several years later, when their heads are placed in the cradle of The People’s guillotine as they face another election. Then the people decide whether to pull the cord.

Until that moment, the head of government and his or her cabinet governs as long as they have the confidence of the legislature. In theory, members can withdraw that support, bring down the government, and usher in a new one through election or selection by the lieutenant governor (in the provinces) or governor general (federally). In practice, that rarely happens. So, governments plod along and along and along and do what they wish, will, or must. This is our grand old system.

But from time to time, this irks citizens who look upon their mighty governments and despair. Usually, this despair comes from the people who were not among the supporters of the winning party, but all the same, it’s at this point that premiers or prime ministers will often pull the mandate card: “We were elected by the people to govern and to implement our vision.” Or “our agenda.” Or “our plan.” Or our “platform.” The language tends to be slippery and sometimes sloppy, though, because the broader “mandate” trope itself is a sneaky mess: The very concept is Play-Doh. It’s malleable, and can be shaped to fit the moment—and made to defend things far outside the intended scope of an election victory.

Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario Liberal government, for instance, did not have a mandate to make Toronto Hydro private—the Liberals merely campaigned on plans to review provincial assets to find money for infrastructure projects—but the sale went ahead all the same.

B.C. Premier John Horgan deployed his “mandate” silver-bullet by saying the NDP’s opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline was an offshoot of a promise from the 2017 election campaign which, through the act of winning—even though the B.C. Liberals took more seats and votes than Horgan’s New Democrats—empowered them to defend the coast. “We were abundantly clear about our concerns about a lack of federal action to protect our marine environment,” he said, “and we put that question before the public and they spoke.”

Federally, the Trudeau Liberals justified a significant decision in 2015 by pointing to a single plank in their platform: “We made a clear commitment in the campaign to stop the bombing mission by Canadian jets and replace it with a role for Canada that is still a serious military role, but leaned more towards training of local troops to be able to bring the fight directly to [ISIS],” Trudeau said in 2015. “That’s the commitment we made very clearly throughout the campaign and we have a mandate to do that.” And recently, too, Premier Ford told the Prime Minister that the PC leader had earned a mandate to axe the carbon tax. “I have a mandate too,” Trudeau said to CBC Radio at the time, referencing his campaign promise to institute a federal carbon pricing scheme. In fact, neither of them really have one: they do not have unambiguous permission from voters to pursue a plan, because that isn’t how our system works.

READ MORE: Doug Ford’s foolhardy, costly fight against carbon pricing in Ontario

Indeed, when it suits a government, they will tell the people that they are doing the people’s business as the people understand it—mostly, in fact, because people don’t seem to understand it. When that happens, bits of what were once part of the “mandate” are dropped—for instance, Trudeau’s promise to reform the electoral system (“We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system”) or Jean Chrétien’s plan to reverse the GST (“The tax won’t be long in place when the Liberals win the next election”). Turns out a mandate is only a mandate when it’s useful.

The reality is that voters rarely select a member of the legislature or support premiers/prime ministers on the basis of a single, coherent, and comprehensive “mandate.” When they arrive at the ballot box, people are not calculative machines who have carefully constructed a spreadsheet of the pros and cons of all the promises and to-do items offered by Party A, B, C, or, god help us, D, and then choose the whole lot as-is. They are happy, or they are angry. They are hopeful, or they are frustrated. They go to the ballot box and, per the design of the system, vote for their local candidate for whatever reason they may have. There will be some policies supported by that candidate and her party they prefer and some they don’t. They may like the leader but not their local candidate, or the reverse. They may vote strategically and they may hold their noses as they do. There’s a lot going on when someone registers a vote, and to say after the fact that “The people have chosen us to fulfill our mandate” is incorrect.

Our system simply wasn’t built and didn’t evolve to allow for mandates. It wasn’t even built for party politics. Residents in a local riding return a representative who supports an executive (premier/prime minister and cabinet) or doesn’t. That representative may end up in government themselves or may end up holding the government to account, but that has nothing to do with any mandate because in Canadian electoral politics there is no such thing as a mandate. There is only government and the confidence of the legislature or its absence.

And as for the people? They’re stuck with the government they return until the next election, unless they can persuade the members of the legislature to withdraw their support, in which case the government may be welcomed into opposition or oblivion.

Whether the leaders’ ideas are good or bad in these cases is moot—it’s the mechanisms by which powerful politicians turn their ideas into policies that is troubling. Citing a mandate and leaving it at that is simply inconsistent with how we do democracy, which is why mandates are sneaky tools for manipulation. Governments should be accountable and responsive to all the people they serve. Merely citing a mandate chosen by some mythical voter runs counter to this democratic imperative. Instead of offering an open, responsive, inclusive politics, when a politician like Ford cites a “mandate,” he is preparing to steamroll through some policy or law by citing some fabricated moral authority. As voters, if we dislike what the premier and his cabinet are doing, we can protest. We can write scathing opinion pieces. We can write to our representatives to voice our displeasure. We can launch court challenges. We can run for office ourselves. We can vote for another party in the next election. We can dedicate ourselves to reforming the system. That is what we can do. And before we start, we can understand how our system works so that we are prepared to counter the sophistry or ignorance of cynical or lazy politicians who dare wield the wobbly sword of the “mandate.”

No, there is no such thing as a mandate in Canada—but there is government by the people. That, however, requires us to own self-government by resisting politicians who would relieve us of our right to resist them.

Founder of bankrupt FTX crypto exchange lost billions but not before donating millions to Dems, left-wing causes

 The corporate world’s financial fealty to cancel culture Democrats continues to the detriment of investors who have now lost billions of dollars after foolishly handing money over to a left-wing con artist.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of crypto exchange FTX, has vanquished more than $15 billion in claimed assets, but while he still had other people’s money to play with, he donated millions to Democratic candidates and leftist causes, according to Fox News Digital, which reported that he “infused at least $38 million into left-wing groups during the 2022 election cycle.”

Bankman-Fried was, in fact, the second-biggest donor to Democratic political action committees and groups, behind far-left financial magnate George Soros, who shelled out some $127 million during the campaign cycle, including money going to the campaigns of far-left ‘district attorneys’ who go on to adopt soft-on-crime policies that are destroying American cities.

But it was the collapse of FTX this week that has called Bankman-Fried’s finances into question as now the exchange appears to be totally bankrupt.

“A full-fledged liquidity crisis forced FTX to file for bankruptcy Friday, and Bankman-Fried’s wealth, which was estimated to be $15.6 billion earlier this week, has sharply plummeted, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The index currently estimates Bankman-Fried has no material wealth,” Fox News Digital added.

Man Charged With Spiking Wife’s Drink to Force Her to Have Abortion

A once esteemed Houston, Texas attorney could go to jail for up to 10 years after his pregnant wife accused him of repeatedly spiking her drinks with an abortion drug in an attempt to abort their unborn baby.

The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports a grand jury recently indicted Mason Herring, 38, a founder and managing partner of the Herring Law Firm in Houston, for alleged assault to force an abortion and assault of a pregnant person. He could face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, if convicted.

The baby survived, and although born prematurely, his wife said the child now is doing well.

The case adds to pro-life advocates’ growing alarm about a rise in forced and coerced abortions, especially after the Biden administration began allowing abortion drugs to be sold through the mail without even a visit to a doctor’s office.

Where Herring allegedly obtained the abortion drug is not mentioned in news reports, but abortion drugs have become increasingly easy to buy over the internet.

According to ABC 13, Herring and his wife were living separately in February and going to marriage counseling when he learned that his wife was pregnant. The couple also has older children.

“My understanding is that it wasn’t well-received by (Herring),” Assistant District Attorney Anthony Osso said. “That came out through marriage counseling, as well as through text messages later on.”

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On March 17, Osso said Herring stopped at the house to bring his family breakfast and brought a cup of water to his wife in bed. He said Herring repeatedly talked to his wife about “needing to stay hydrated,” and insisted on staying until she drank the water.

“She thought it was odd. She thought the water was cloudy. She questioned him a little bit, but, nonetheless, did drink the water, and then he leaves and takes that cup,” Osso said.

According to the Star Telegram, authorities said the wife began to feel very sick about half an hour later and began to bleed. She went to the hospital emergency room for treatment and continued to bleed through the evening, they said.

During the next several weeks, she told authorities that her husband continued to bring her drinks, but she did not drink them. The wife said she noticed an unusual substance in several of them and kept the liquid as evidence, fearing he may be trying to poison her.

On April 24, authorities said the wife found a package for the abortion drug misoprostol in the garbage that her husband had taken outside. She said it was unusual for him to take out the garbage, so she decided to check the bag after he left.

Two days later, on April 26, she said a security camera that she had placed in the kitchen showed Herring mixing a powder into a glass of liquid that he later took to her, according to the report. Authorities said she contacted police later that day, and Herring was arrested.

Lab tests of the drinks show the abortion drug misoprostol in at least two of six samples, according to authorities.

“It’s manipulative,” Osso said in a statement. “It’s pre-meditated. What we are alleging Mr. Herring did, which we believe the evidence supports, is a pretty heinous act. To do that to someone who trusts you, it’s taking advantage of that trust.”

Herring’s next court date is Dec. 2.

Pro-life advocates and even some abortion workers have expressed alarm about new mail-order abortion businesses and the already too prevalent problem of forced and coerced abortions.

Mothers frequently are forced or coerced to abort their unborn babies, and sometimes their decisions to protect their babies’ lives lead to more abuse. A 2022 BBC survey found 15 percent of women of childbearing age in the United Kingdom felt pressured to have abortions that they did not want.

Often the pressure comes from an intimate partner. Another new study from Lifeway Research found that 42 percent of men whose partners had abortions said they either “strongly urged” or “suggested” that she have an abortion. In 2009, research by the Elliot Institute found 64 percent of post-abortive women said they felt pressured to have an abortion, often from a spouse or partner.

A 2014 study found that forced abortions are common among sex trafficking victims. In “The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking and Their Implications for Identifying Victims in Healthcare Facilities,” researchers found that 55 percent of sex trafficking victims had at least one abortion, with more than half saying they were forced to abort one or more unborn babies.

Studies also have found high rates of violent abuse among women seeking abortions and pregnant women. Homicide is one of the top causes of death among pregnant women, according to a 2021 study in the journal “Obstetrics & Gynecology.” Often, abuse also is connected to a mother’s refusal to abort her unborn child.

LifeNews has been keeping track of reports of forced and coerced abortions as well as abuse when women refuse to abort their unborn babies. They include:

England – Husband Sets Pregnant Wife on Fire Because She Refused to Get Abortion

Virginia – Pregnant Woman Killed Because She Refused to Have Abortion, Navy Lt. Charged

Michigan – Detroit Man Accused of Making Threats, Demanding Pregnant Partner Have an Abortion (Click on Detroit News 4)

Illinois – Man Accused of Killing Pregnant Ex-Girlfriend and Her Unborn Baby Faces 2 Murder Charges

England – Woman Faked Being Pregnant, Bought Abortion Pills to Trick Lover’s Pregnant Girlfriend into Aborting Unborn Baby

England – Man Accused of Lacing His Lover’s Drink With Abortion Pill to Kill Their Baby and Hide His Affair

Georgia – When His Girlfriend Told Him It Was Too Late for an Abortion, He Punched Her in the Stomach to Kill Her Baby

Scotland – When She Refused Abortion, Her Boyfriend Threatened to Kill Their Unborn Baby With a Coat Hanger

India – Doctors, Family Members Forced Woman to Have Abortion, Killed Her 5-Month-Old Unborn Baby

Washington, D.C. – Washington D.C. Assistant Police Chief Was Told to Kill Her Baby in an Abortion or be Fired

Kentucky – Man Charged with Murdering His Pregnant Wife and Injuring Her Unborn Baby

England – Nurse Fired, Jailed for Helping Man Force Girlfriend to Abort Unborn Baby with Abortion Pills

Ohio – Doctor Pleads Guilty after Attempting to Murder Unborn Son after Wife Refused an Abortion (Canton Repository)

New York – Woman Says R. Kelly Forced Her to Get an Abortion Against Her Will

Brazil – Pregnant Woman Set on Fire, Killed After She Refused Boyfriend’s Demand to Get Abortion

Michigan – Man Convicted of Assaulting His Pregnant Girlfriend, Trying to Abort Her Baby

India – 15-Year-Old Girl Brutally Raped and Then Forced to Have Abortion

Canada – Man accused of killing toddler tried to force abortion on mother, court records show (CBC)

Minnesota – Man Charged for Allegedly Kicking Pregnant Woman in Stomach after She Refused an Abortion (Star Tribune)

Michigan – Man Charged With Raping Teen, Choking Her Until She Blacked Out Because She Refused Abortion

India – Parents Force Their Daughter to Have an Abortion Because Her Husband Was From the Wrong Caste

India – Abortion Pills Kill Woman 5 Months Pregnant After Partner Forced Her to Take Them

Brazil – Man Kills His Girlfriend’s Unborn Baby By Putting Abortion Pills in Her Vagina During Sex

Pakistan – 14-Year-Old Girl Dies After Rapist Allegedly Forced Her to Have Abortion

Tennessee – Man Kills His Pregnant Girlfriend and Her Baby After She Refuses to Have Abortion

England – Man Threatens to Slit His Baby’s Throat if His Ex-Girlfriend Didn’t Have Abortion

England – Husband Orders His Wife to Kill Their Unborn Baby in an Abortion

India – Police: Former Officer Rapes Teen Girl, Then Forces Her to Kill Her Baby in an Abortion

Florida – Jeffrey Epstein Rape Victim Says She Was Pressured to Have Abortion

California – U.S. Swim Coach Accused of Sexual Abuse, Pressuring Girl into Abortion

Pennsylvania – Man Allegedly Used Abortion Pills to Hide Sexual Abuse of Daughter and Stepdaughter When They Got Pregnant

India – Woman’s Parents Allegedly Strangle Her to Death After She Refuses to Kill Her Baby in an Abortion

Philippines – Police Officer Charged with Raping Intern, Forcing Her to Abort Her Unborn Child

Uganda – Man Stabs 18 Year-Old Girlfriend to Death After She Refuses to Have Abortion

India – Teacher Rapes 13-Year-Old Student, Then Forces Her to Have Abortion

England – Pastor Raped Multiple Women and Children From His Congregation, Forced Them to Have Abortions

Wales – Man Accused of Brutally Strangling His Pregnant Girlfriend, Demanding She Get an Abortion

Texas – Man Jailed for Life After Killing His Pregnant Girlfriend Because She Wouldn’t Abort Their Baby

California – Man Reportedly Forced His Girlfriend at Gunpoint at Take Drugs to Kill Her Baby in Abortion

Wisconsin – Man Allegedly Slipped Abortion Drugs into Pregnant Girlfriend’s Drink

England – Man Allegedly Tries to Force Girlfriend to Abort Their Disabled Baby: “It Would be Cruel to Have a Baby Like That”

Indiana – Teen Kills Pregnant Girlfriend After She Waited Too Long to Get Abortion: “I Took Action, I Took Her Life”

Tennessee – Man Kills Girlfriend and 4-Month Old Baby, She Refused to Abort So He Could Escape Child Support

New York – Attacker Kills Woman 5 Months Pregnant, New York’s New Abortion Law Says Her Baby Isn’t a Human Being

Utah – Man Reportedly Killed His Pregnant Ex-Girlfriend Because She Refused to Have Abortion

Virginia – Doctor Convicted of Spiking Pregnant Girlfriend’s Drink with Abortion Drugs

Hawaii – Man Stabs His Girlfriend More Than Two Dozen Times Because She Refused an Abortion

California – Man Hired Hitman to Kill His Girlfriend and Unborn Son Because She Refused Abortion

Florida – Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Tricking Pregnant Girlfriend into Taking Abortion Drugs

Norway – Man Convicted of Killing Unborn Baby after Slipping Abortion Drugs into Girlfriend’s Drink

Indiana – Man Charged with Attempted Feticide for Allegedly Spiking Girlfriend’s Drink with Abortion Herbs

New York – Man Convicted of Attempted Murder after Secretly Giving Girlfriend Abortion Drugs

Pennsylvania – Abortion Doc Allegedly Tried to Force His Girlfriend to Abort Their Baby, Then Beat Her When She Refused

Colorado – Man Uses a Skewer to Force His Girlfriend to Abort After She Refuses Demand to Have an Abortion

Indiana – Man Tries to Force Pregnant Girlfriend to Have Abortion By Poisoning Her Drink

England – Man Jailed for Tying Up His Girlfriend, Forcing Abortion Drugs Into Her Vagina