We could learn about politics and the various legislated processes to change in the municipal, provincial and federal arenas. We could write our elected officials or make complaints to tribunals and review boards or both. Then there are petitions, the advocates, ombudsman, critics and other independent oversight panels and committees. But if you are not a seasoned change-maker, be prepared to navigate through a plethora of processes meant to keep our democracy, a democracy.
I don’t use the word plethora lightly. The processes for change in Canada are time-consuming, compartmental and complex, having an effect opposite of their intentions. They keep the oppressed fatigued and frustrated. Legislation is difficult to read, even for the educated. A single word can negate your entire argument if you happen to miss it in the legislation, or the sub-section of another piece of legislation that has precedent, or case law and then there are levels of court for appeals should you happen to make a change and the government disagrees. You get the picture?
Legislation is created by the privileged class, favoring them and perpetuating oppression, I believe intentionally. The first step to defining solutions, is defining the problems. Done.
What is the solution?
There is a court where our elected officials have little influence and probably fear being all over. This is the court of public opinion that now largely takes place on social media. The answer is satire. The answer is memes. The answer is hashtags. One meme or satirical video may not make a difference, but if you can empower your friends and colleagues to do the same or even just share your idea, you are starting your own process for change. One not constricted by tricky wording, publication bans, censorship, etc.
Social media has recently helped to amplify backlash on everything from policy changes, to bad judges, lawyers and child protection reform. Former Minister of Child and Youth Services, Tracy MacCharles was demoted recently to a Minister without portfolio for her changes to IBI, an important therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder. These changes outraged parents all over the province. Parents took to social media to organize rallies and raise awareness to what was happening to their children. In my small town, when our town council voted against sending a delegation to speak with a minister about hosting a basic income pilot project here, there was so much backlash on social media that council actually held the vote again, ultimately reversing their original stance.
The information revolution has given the people their voice back. We are at the very beginning of this realization, and politicians know this. Want change? Want transparency? Want compliance? There are so many free programs and apps out there to help you make that perfectly fitting meme or video. Get creative, have fun and empower yourself, your family and friends to do the same. The days of convoluted processes to change are ending. No one likes their face to circus music, just saying.