At the time this article was printed Keith
Penner was the Member of Parliament for Cochrane-Superior. Morris Shumiatcher
is a well known lawyer in Regina. Steve Neary represented a St. John's riding
in the Newfoundland House of Assembly and Sir Charles Gordon was former Clerk
of the British House of Commons.
As part of the Ninth Canadian Regional
Seminar a debate was held on the motion "be it resolved that the American
Congressional System is better suited to meet the needs of a modern democratic
society than the British Parliamentary System". A complete transcript of
the seminar was prepared by the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, The
following is an edited extract from those proceedings.
The Congressional System Encourages
Keith Penner, MP: Our debate today is on the
topic of the suitability of one or the other, parliament or congress, in meeting
the needs of a modern and a democratic society. As one who has been active
within the parliamentary system for the past 16 years, I think Canada would be
far better served if we adopted a modern congressional system and relinquished
the inappropriate and unsuitable parliamentary system which we inherited from
the United Kingdom during the 19th century and have retained ever since.
The following quote from a recent editorial
in the Edmonton Journal is, I think, illustrative, "Canada is ill served
by an imported political system designed for a small island several centuries
ago and characterized by simple majority rule, (dominated by an extremely
powerful executive branch."
Parliament is, in almost every respect, an ineffective
instrument for controlling the executive. The executive in our parliamentary
system dominates in fact, suffocates parliament. A Member of Parliament is
little more than a slave 'o the system, and at times that poor slave yearns to
cry out, in the words of a spiritual: "Lord, there 'aint no breathin'
space down here."
The Business Council on National Issues,
representing Canada's largest corporations, noted in a recent book
Parliamentary Democracy in Canada, as follows: "Parliament is no longer able
to exact effective accountability from the Prime Minister and the executive for
policy and administration, or for public expenditure. Members of Parliament,
whether as individuals, members of committees, or in opposition. have lost
ground in two important respects: (1 ) in holding the executive accountable:
and (2) in shaping legislation. In Canada, our MPs are unable to act as checks
and balances against the executive. In Canada, our MPs cannot be considered as
legislators. Federal power is increasingly concentrated in the cabinets, in the
bureaucracy, and to some degree outside parliament itself, through
federal-provincial agreements. There is a need an urgent need, to control and
direct to a great extent these privileged sources."
Reform of the parliamentary system is not
enough. Mere tinkering will not do. In a modern democratic society like Canada
s, with a federal system of government, we would be much better served with a
congress than we are with parliaments.
Michael Pitfield, a former principal secretary
of the Prime Minister, now secure in the Canadian Senate and able to observe
the political scene more objectively, has commented recently that our
parliamentary system does not operate as it should. The senator, I submit, has
missed the point. The parliamentary system is operating as best it can. The
parliamentary system is operating as it was intended to do. It is not, however
functioning as would a congress.
Pitfield goes on to make two other cogent
observations. Both of these support my contention that what we need in Canada
is a congress and not a parliament. First, he finds a tendency within the
executive to conclude that once it has arrived at a policy decision, the job is
95 per cent done. Well, of course it is, because a government can then rely
upon an unthinking majority in parliament to support that decision and because
it can depend upon nothing more from the opposition than confrontation, thereby
eliminating the possibility of intelligent and substantive debate on the
issues. Governments do not like too much debate.
Gordon Gibson, another former principal
secretary 'o the Prime Minister and at one time a member of the Legislative
Assembly in British Columbia, has written: "Nothing is more convenient to
a government than to have a supine legislature to do its bidding." The
President of the United States does not have that. He must wheel and deal with
the Congress every day. And so it should be. The parliamentary system is
structured in such a way as to make confrontation necessary. The congressional
system encourages co-operation in political decision-making.
The other point noted by Mr Pitfield is that
politicians, are dependent for their career advancement upon those above them
in the ladder. Now choosing a cabinet from the legislative branch from among
the elected MPs on the government side not only stills the ambitious, it also
limits the range of talents and it restricts regional representation. I ask
you, three cabinet ministers from Windsor? It also creates enormous conflicts
of interest where ministers use their powers and prerogatives to give their
constituencies special attention. Some have even been known to take their
entire departments home with them.
Now under a congressional system where the
ministers or the secretaries of the cabinet, as, they are called, do not hold
elective office and therefore have no constituencies to represent, this does
not happen. They have the opportunity to focus on the national interest, and,
as, with most other presidential appointments, they must receive congressional
confirmation before they can take office. In Canada, Privy Council appointments
are the sole right of the Prime Minister, a shocking state of affairs, but part
of the parliamentary system. With the parliamentary system a majority government
is supreme, subject only, in Canada's case, to the restraints of the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms, and that leaves a lot of ground in which to play.
Gibson has argued that it is time to change
our system so that the ordinary elected MP can be more representative of what
their constituents think on a day-to-day basis and a bit less responsible in
the sense of always voting, supporting, and speaking the party line. By
agreeing, Gibson is really advocating adoption of the congressional system and
abandonment of the parliamentary system.
Parliamentary System has Withstood Test
Steve Neary, MHA: With all due respect to my
worthy opponent, only one political system on this earth manifests in practice
the following combination of virtues, new ideas, principles , conventions and
rules that evolve daily – that daily reflect the spirit of the times as well as
the realities, and above all the will of its personalities, the people – only
one system that has been used and perfected for more than 700 years in the
United Kingdom, and is still used and is still being shaped, that has been
tried and truly tested and approved by time and change. Under it the voice of
the masses – the people they choose to represent them in the House of Commons –
Remember the old saying The voice of the
people is the voice of God. In this one single unique political system the
British parliamentary democracy, and only this system, is that assertion and
principle deployed in truth. Under this magnificent democracy the executive is
completely responsible and subservient to its legislature, and thereby to the
people. Under the congressional system this is not so. The President is not
held accountable to the Congress to answer in debate his policies as is the
Prime Minister under the British system through daily oral questions and so on.
If the British legislature feels the executive is not acting in the best
interests of the people it can withhold support. The executive, in its throne
speech, for example, must present its policies before parliament and be
prepared to defend them after detailed scrutiny not only by backbenchers, but
by the opposition members as well. All public expenditures must be approved by
parliament which can actually withhold sanction if it deems fit. If this were
to happen, then of course the administration must resign. If a new one can t be
found, then once again the people have the decision-making power, through the
electoral process, to choose a new cast of members for a parliament or for a
In the American system the President merely
explains his policies through press conferences and televised addresses to the
nation. This system is weak and inclined towards easy abuse. For example, the
Possibility of Watergate cover-up progressing as far as it eventually did in
the United States would be highly unlikely in Great Britain or Canada because
of the executive's direct accountability to the legislative body. The long and
cumbersome impeachment process would have been unnecessary. If it became necessary
to excise the head of the executive, a simple change in the leadership of the
party, and hence the office of Prime Minister, would do the trick. A good
example of this Process can be studied in my own province of Newfoundland and
Labrador. When Frank Moores resigned from Public office he was still premier of
the province. His party held a convention forthwith. Brian Peckford won the
leadership and became Premier simple – quick and clean.
The British parliamentary system works. Look
at how it handles cabinet appointments and ministerial responsibility. Under
the British system, cabinet ministers are chosen from an elected parliament, a
parliament chosen by the People. As the cabinet shares the collective
responsibility for their actions, they must defend both the administration and
their own departments in parliament. Under the American congressional system,
cabinet ministers, or secretaries, as they are called, are chosen for their
loyalty to the president and are not responsible to congress, only to the
The parliamentary system also allows various
minority and small ethnic groups representation in the legislature, either
through the established party system or through the formation of their own
parties. It also allows for the formation of political parties that differ
radically in ideology from the governing party or established parties. In
Canada this has led to the establishment of the New Democratic Party, a
minority political entity that has had a great influence on Canadian society and
Canadian politics. In Great Britain the flexibility of the electoral system has
seen the Labour Party replace the Liberal Party as one of the country's two
major political engines.
Under the American system, however, it is
still to be branded "un-American" it you express a difference of
opinion with the establishment. Recall, if you would, Senator Joseph McCarthy
in the 1950s and his source of anti-Communism that swept across the United
States in one of its darker eras. McCarthyism is never far below current
American consciousness. Today, citizens are required to register as foreign
agents if they engage in paid lobbying, for example, for a foreign country. You
may recall a couple of years ago. Billy Carter, brother of the then president
Jimmy Carter had to register as a foreign agent when he received money for
lobbying on behalf of Libya.
The enormous flexibility of the Canadian
system was demonstrated in 1949 when Newfoundland joined Canada under the
special terms of union enjoyed today under the Constitution Act. Under the
parliamentary system enjoyed in Canada and Britain, political leaders must be
ever ready to accept the defeat of government. The opposition, therefore, must
be particularly prepared to offer alternatives and Policies that may at any moment
be called upon to guide the country. Oppositions must be vigilant in seeking
faults and contradictions in government measures and can actually learn to
correct these shortcomings through the process of official opposition.
It is the beauty of the parliamentary system
that government and opposition exist in the same legislative body, yet
represent opposing points of view. I can think of no Political system healthier
than this, that allows for ultimate political freedom. each Party at the mercy
and whims of the electorate, and therefore both sides doing their best for the
people at all times.
In the British parliamentary system, the
people vote for a party and a leader they expect will form the government. In
the United States, where elections for the Senate and the House of
Representatives are held at different times, you do not necessarily vote for
the party which will ultimately produce a president. If the presidency and the
congress are of different political stripes, then you have a built-in political
conflict where policies which the public endorsed are chosen, and selecting a
president becomes distorted under various compromises and ballot coalitions
with Congress, whose members are often chosen on the basis of individual and
local issues rather than on that of a broad, national platform.
As well, you often have in power a Congress
and a President managing the country while simultaneously hoping each other
will tail because of different political alignments. Some optimistic political
dreamers may feel that is a great failsafe method of running a country, but I
say this is the establishment of a mountain in the path of progress and
expediency. The only system of democratic government on the earth that daily
moves to the changing pulse of the people and the times is the British
parliamentary system. No other has the same freedoms, the same failsafe
devices, the same fluid motion, the same forward shift as this system of
government. It has withstood the test of time. With all its weaknesses and
shortcomings, there is no other system on the face of this earth today that can
take its place.
Loosen Chains that Bind Members to the
Dr. Morris Shumiatcher: When we speak of a
modern democracy and the needs of a modern democracy, I think it is incumbent
upon us to remember that we are not talking about a kind of democratic system
that existed in the Greek city state when all Athenian tree men could gather in
the Acropolis and make decisions for the people of Athens. Quite the contrary.
We re talking about a type of representative democracy, a centralized kind of
democracy when we view the kind of political organizations which exist in
The centralized democracy that we have
become accustomed to raises two key questions. The key question here today is:
what are the needs of our modern democratic society? There are two
possibilities. Viscount Hailsham. who has for some years been the Lord
Chancellor of England, recently considered this question. He pointed out that
there are two kinds of centralized democracy, both, of course, depend upon
universal adult elective suffrage.
The first asserts the right of a bare
majority elected on the principle that winner takes all, which is our system,
the right of that majority to assert its will over the whole of the nation
Hailsham called this elective dictatorship. We've learned the maxim that when
parliament sits no man's life or properly are sate. The fact of the matter is
that traditionally parliament has prided itself or its right to do anything It
is supreme. It can do anything, it's been said, except change a man into a
woman and a woman into a man, and I suppose these days with the help of the
surgeons it is able to do, and is doing, just that.
The second stems from the ancient principles
that go back to the time of Bracton and Bacon. It is the concept that those
holding political authority may not rule absolutely. Neither kings nor cabinet
ministers nor parliament itself ought to be above the law. It is the principle
that those in political authority may not make laws which affront the
instructed conscience of the commonality.
Austin's political doctrine was that the
will of the ruler is law. That concept, married in the time of Bentham to the
idea that the greatest good to the greatest number is the end-all of political
activity, has produced a kind of society where parliaments and legislatures use
that awesome power to do most anything they wish. Justifying it all on the
basis that they are helping the majority and that they, with their power and
superior knowledge know better than the individual what should and ought to be
done. They have ignored the old Chinese maxim, that the art of government is
like the art of cooking a fish – don't overdo it' They have overdone it. This,
I suggest. can be controlled – this vast power – in two very simple ways. The
first is by loosening the chains that bind the member of Parliament: to his
party, and the second, by a constitution that limits the powers not only of
prime ministers but of parliament itself. Upon these two principles rests the
basis of the congressional system. It is the concept which distinguishes the
congressional system in America from the British or our own. Together, they
assure that the democratic form of government will survive, and surely that is
the first and most important need of a modern democratic society.
Let us talk about political parties. In
respect of the parties, Congressmen in fact are legislators, and they represent
their constituents. In this country and in Britain Members of parliament are
simply voting tokens, with all deference, and they represent not their
constituencies so much as their party. There is no pressure of the same kind
upon the Congressman as there is upon a Member of Parliament, who must always
be looking back to see whether he is following his leader's directive.
MPs, of course, are compelled to vote for he
party and the party line, and we find this to be so, by virtue of one of the
oldest, and I don't know why it still is regarded as one of the most respectable,
instruments in parliament. It's called the party whip, Surely the very name is
repugnant to all concepts of a tree and democratic society. The whip is a
weapon the whip is a weapon to inflict on recalcitrant individuals: to inflict
punishment upon Prisoners to inflict pain; to train horses, and to discipline
dogs, and to punish parliamentarians who don't do their leader's bidding
I wonder that today we are so concerned
about wife beating and child abuse, to say nothing about the abuse of Members
of Parliament at the hands of the whip. Whips and scorpions that is what makes
parliament tick today. Cattle were never so driven'
In the United Kingdom a whip may be
withdrawn, it s true, but if the whip is withdrawn so is the seat in the next
election. I think of this whole system as it was exemplified by Gilbert and
Sullivan. You remember it. (singing)
I always voted at my party's call, And I
never thought of thinking to, myself at all I thought so little they rewarded
me. And now I am the ruler of the Queen s navy'
Well, times haven't changed very much since
Pinafore The only difference in Canada is that as a result of our parliamentary
system we haven't even got a navy. None at all'
Now a word about the constitution. and this
is the other important factor that proves the superiority, I think of the
congressional over the parliamentary system. To prove the superiority, of the
congressional system, we in Canada. on April 17, 1982 adopted a Constitution
and a Charter of Rights for Canada. The British parliamentary system brooks no
restraints upon its powers and authority, and this was understandable in the
days when public life was a contest that existed between parliament, on the one
hand. and the executive represented by the king on the other. But since the Act
of Settlement of 1701, all that has changed. The powers of the monarchy are
trifling compared with what, they were prior to that date, so that there has
been concentrated not in the Crown, but in the executive. now grown vastly in
power, all of the ultimate authority for drawing legislation. for developing
budgets for levying taxes, which of course, Members of Parliament simply
approve in order to keep their places.
The executive and a compliant Parliament
have virtually assumed all the powers of the king, and has added a few to their
mighty arsenal. So parliament no longer can be expected to restrain its powers,
especially under the party system which depends so much upon rewards and
punishments since there must be some restraint upon absolute authority and that
restraint is one which can come from a written constitution and a charter of
rights. That is exactly what we have established in Canada. It is a
congressional kind of law, or constitution. It is a law which is described now
by the courts as "the supreme law". For the most part, it now stands
over and above the authority of parliament.
I submit that our acknowledgement of the
significance of this constitutional law really decides the question we are
considering. The congressional system is being adopted in Canada this very day.
Call it plagiarism if you will, but by our acts, we have already agreed that
the congressional system of government best serves the needs of all of us who
live, and hope to continue to live, in a free and democratic society.
What A way to Run A Railway!
Sir Charles Gordon: I have to start off by
admitting that I myself have never seen the congress in action and I have no
personal experience of United States politics. My knowledge is therefore
limited to what I have gathered from colleagues who have been in Washington and
seen Congress in action and reported to me about it, and also that incomparable
work, Congress and Parliament, written by Kenneth Bradshaw, my present
successor as Clerk of the House, and David Pring, another of my former
colleagues. On the other hand, I do have 37 years experience of the
parliamentary system in the United Kingdom and I can testify that it works
after a fashion, maybe, but it does work. It is not perfect, but it is
susceptible of improvement and indeed it has been improved in numerous ways
during my time.
We have seen the great development of the
committee structure and we have now gone some way to meeting the criticism
which has been advanced against us that we do not have sufficient control over
the financial operations of the executive. That is being remedied. But what we
are talking about today is not a matter of improvement but replacement. If we
were to agree to this motion, what we would in effect be saying is that the
United Kingdom ought to replace its present system by another. Well now, I do
net think that it ought to do anything of the sort, 'or several reasons.
First of all, there is the nature of the
political system in the United Kingdom. Ever since I've had anything to do with
it there have been two main parties opposing each other. There nave been other
smaller parties; there are now perhaps rather more smaller parties than there
used to be. But the conflict, the confrontation, to use the expression which my
opponents have used, is between the two main parties and it is not a simple
question of ins and outs, Nor, except for some of the minor nationalist
parties, is it a question of local interests. There are genuine philosophical
differences between the parties and in general in the main, the electors are
voting not so much for people as for parties.
This one cannot carry to its total
conclusion. I myself would be inclined to support some members and candidates
even though I was temporarily out of sympathy with their party. On the other
hand, there are some members and candidates that I would in no conceivable
circumstances support even if their party had my total support. Nevertheless,
the personal influence of a member, I have been told, is perhaps limited to 500
votes one way or the other.
It follows from this that the electors wish
to have their party predilections translated into action. Now the idea that a
properly elected president –a properly and directly elected president –being in
conflict with a directly elected legislature, simply is not acceptable and
would not be acceptable in the United Kingdom The electors whose party have won
a majority expect their representatives to support the prime minister who leads
that party. But this does not mean that they expect uncritical support. The
electorate expect their representatives to prod or restrain the government as
appropriate, and, my goodness, they do. This is achieved, in the main, by the
fact that the ministers are members and therefore they are in parliament, they
are in the arena, they are directly answerable in parliament to criticisms, not
only from their opponents, but from their supporters as well. Thus
parliamentary committees can have a great deal of influence on governments by
constructive criticism which they voice in their reports, and they may even
serve to embarrass the government by this means. But what they cannot do
directly is to obstruct a government program, least of all because that happens
to be against the personal predilections of the committee chairman. This I
believe can happen in a congressional system and in my view comes perilously
near to a negation of democracy.
Woodrow Wilson once described the
congressional system of government as government by the chairmen of standing
committees. Well, one may allow here for an element of pique, but is not a
criticism that any British prime minister has ever come near to uttering.
Of course, we all know that !he original
intention if the United States' congressional system was to separate the
powers. Was not this what Montesquieu prescribed in his great work L'Esprit des
Lois? The president should administer, congress should legislate; the supreme
court should adjudicate. But this is not how it was worked out. The power of
congressional committees, I understand, is such, and their continuing
supervision of government agencies so all-pervasive, that it has been seriously
suggested that the committee exercise more influence over administrative
agencies on a day-to-day basis than does the president himself. I think that
the majority of my compatriots would say, "What a way to run away!"
The result of all of this is that Congress,
although its individual members cannot claim to be more democratically elected,
than the president himself, has achieved an overspill of its powers into what
ought to be the presidential preserve. Now under the Westminster system this
couldn't happen except in the case of a prime minister who had lost or was in
the process of losing, the confidence of the democratically elected body on which
his cower is actually founded. But in such a case there would be no dichotomy.
The democratic representatives would withdraw the power which they had
conferred on the prime minister and confer it on another.
But apart from these, there is another quite
different reason which compels to resist this motion. Over two centuries ago,
Alexander Pope wrote the Essay on Man, which was described by a schoolmaster at
whose feet I sat as "Pools of common sense in the middle of a lot of
rather rum stuff." Four common sense lines have stuck in my mind:
For forms of government let fools contest
Whate'er is best administered is best;
For mode of faith let graceless zealots
He can't be wrong whose life is in the
Now translating the particular to the
general, a modern democratic society is the equivalent of an individual whose
life is in the right. The U.S. with its congressional system and the U.K with
its parliamentary system are both, in their different ways, shining exemplars
of right-thinking, right-living societies. The congressional system is accepted
by the citizens of the United States to be the way the United States is best
administered, and from my own personal knowledge, the Westminster system is
similarly accepted as the only acceptable way of administering the United
Kingdom To say therefore, as the terms of this motion do, that one system is
'better suited to meet the needs of a modern democratic society" is quite
indefensible and I could not support the motion whichever way round it was phrased.
Keith Penner, MP: Mr Speaker, Sir Charles
very defensively pointed out that parliament is capable of improvement Well,
parliament is always – always in the process of improving itself or showing
that it s in need of reform, and by his own admission it works after a fashion.
Well I submit that that's not good enough. What we must have is an institution
that is effective, that is representative, and that serves the nation and does
not dominate it.
I want to thank Mr. Neary so much for
contributing to the arguments that I made. He talked about the oral question
period being accountability. Please. Mr. Neary, oral question period is nothing
more than political theatre and we all know that. Watergate unlikely in Canada?
Yes, certainly unlikely. Watergate in Canada would last in question period for
about a week. It would end with a motion by the opposition which would end in a
vote of confidence for the government.
Mr Neary indicated that the voice of the
people is the voice of God. So be it. For my final point I go directly to the
people the root and source of all democratic institutions. According to a
recent Gallup poll. Canadians have little or no interest in the activities of
parliament. No wonder it's impotent. That same survey, however, reveals that 62
per cent of those polled want more independent MPs who out constituents needs
before party loyalty.
Well, the message is clear. A congressional
system such as the Americans have is much better suited than a parliament to meet
the needs of a modern, democratic society.
Sir Charles Gordon: I have fully taken
account of what my worthy opponents have expressed about the shortcomings which
do exist in the parliamentary system. Yes there is the party whip. Yes. members
do from time to time vote without thinking what they are voting for
Nevertheless, they are there and the ministers are there on the floor of the
House They are being assailed by members; they are being assailed by members
even on their own side. At question time in the House of Commons, just as many
questions and just as many hostile questions are directed at ministers from
behind them as come from in front of them. There is no way in which a minister
and particularly a prime minister in parliament, cannot be conscious of the
fact that he is riding a wave. The wave may be going in his direction, on the
other hand, there may be the odd crosscurrent and the prime minister and a
minister can very well be unseated from his surf-board.
On the other hand, we do not have what I
would describe as the undemocratic element of general policy being conceived
and administered, not by the president, but by committee chairmen, who may be
out of sympathy with their parties, may be out of sympathy with anybody else in
the country except their own constituents. Nevertheless, simply because they
have been elected on local issues by their constituents, able to shape the
general policy of the country in a way which would be quite unacceptable in my
parliament, and in my view rightly so.
Dr. Morris Shumiatcher: My able opponent,
Sir Charles, criticized congressional committees. It was his contention, as I
understand it, that congressional committees, in effect, are the most powerful
agencies under the American system. This, I submit, was, of all the contentions
put forward by my worthy opponents, the only one which I think deserves some
mention at this time, because the question, of course, can quite legitimately
be raised. as Sir Charles has done, as to where ultimate power resides.
I don't think he would for a moment advance
the theory that in the United States sovereignty actually resides in the
congressional committee. Far from it. There is a Senate and of course there is
a presidential veto. But in raising this issue I think he puts his finger upon
an aspect which demonstrates the great weakness of the parliamentary system,
both here and in the United Kingdom. It is true we do have a multiplicity of
committees, but what do our committees do, and what real authority have they?
Let s take the public accounts committee or
the committees in Ottawa which deal with expenditures. These are not committees
designed to assist parliament in shaping laws or presenting legislation. They
are simply post mortems. All they do is look at what the government has done,
look at its errors and omissions over a period of a year or two, and says.
"Ah, this is wrong and that is wrong". Ultimately these are the
matters that come before the Auditor General in this country, and as we well
know the Auditor General is a voice crying in the wilderness. He has very
Steve Neary, MHA: Our worthy opponents had a
very difficult task before them today. It was virtually impossible for them to
argue that you should vote for the congressional system over and above the
British parliamentary system of government. What my worthy opponents said today
was, "Let's improve the British parliamentary system. That is the message
that I got. Their arguments were in the direction of improving the system
rather that condemning it. For instance, Dr. Shumiatcher argued that we should
change the British parliamentary system because we use the word 'whip.' Well,
why not change the word "whip' and keep the British parliamentary system?
In Canada under the British parliamentary
system a coal miner or a farmer from Saskatchewan, a coal miner from Cape
Breton. can become premier or prime minister of his country. In the United
States, with the powerful machine, it s virtually impossible for a newspaper
boy to become president of the United States. There s too much back room
politics, too much politics played on television, whereas the prime minister
and the premier have to answer to the legislature.
Now, Dr Shumiatcher, you were in great form
this morning You were in good voice when you sang us a few verses, so I will
end up be seeing if I can do as well as you did, and I'll sing you a few
verses: (Editors note: Sung to the tune of "where have all the flowers
"Where have all our democratic freedoms
Someone took them every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?'