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Tyranny of the Majority

March 16, 2011

Ok, some somebody doesn’t know what Tyranny means or actually, what democracy means. That somebody today is Scott Armstrong. Here’s the quote from the Globe and Mail article regarding this week’s committee about obtaining government estimates of spending:

Fellow Tory Scott Armstrong suggested opposition parties are abusing their dominant position in a minority Parliament, making unreasonable demands for information that would normally be regarded as cabinet confidences and sending officials on “wild goose chases.”

“At what point does the tyranny of majority run roughshod over the ability of parliamentarians from all parties really to do their job that they were sent here to do?” Mr. Armstrong asked.

Lets be clear here. “Tyranny of the Majority” is an important concept that has its place. If a majority of citizens try to remove the rights of a minority group or enslave part of the population then this is Tyranny of the Majority and it should be stopped. The reason we have the Charter of Rights is to avoid the Tyranny of the Majority regarding fundamental rights in our society. Since our voting system highly favours giving majorities in parliament it is a very important precaution.

At the moment of course, parliament is not in a majority situation despite our majority favouring, first-past-the-post voting system.  The Harper Government™ has a minority of seats in parliament.  So the ‘tyranny’ that Mr. Armstrong is talking about is not the domination by a majority of the population against a challenged ethnic group or gender. He is taking about the ‘tyranny’ of a majority of the duly elected members of parliament trying to get their way against the complaints of the minority who actual control the levers of power.  What he is complaining about is exactly the opposite of Tyranny.  If anything he is whining that the Conservatives are having their Tyranny of the Minority interfered with by the majority of MPs.

This is the most shocking statement I’ve heard from a government official since, well since

Am I wrong here?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2011 5:53 pm

    Tyranny of the majority; I wonder if Mr Armstrong felt the same way about ADSCAM?

  2. Greg permalink
    March 3, 2012 4:23 pm

    Your missing the point. All national parties are nothing more than Proxy govt/parties for the majority of the population. Nothing else matters in parliamentary democaries. There is no ways or means for a vision for the nation vs a vision for the pop toi be defended or promoted.

    • March 4, 2012 5:53 pm

      I don’t understand your point. Was this about a vision for the nation or was it about the majority of members of parliament having priority over a minority of members who happen to have the largest number of seats?


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