Lawrence Martin asks Is this still a democracy? Then goes on to answer his own question in a scathing dissection of Harper and his anti democratic tactics. "Real democracies, as we learned in high school, are supposed to be open and tolerant of dissent and have checks and balances and run fair elections. Those kinds of things." I can't and won't argue with any of the points Martin makes in laying out his case against Harper and his minions, however I believe his focus is too narrow.
A functioning democracy also requires a free and independent media as well as an engaged citizenry. neither of which we have today. The corporate medias message is Harper's message and vice versa,as theirs is a symbiotic relationship.
As for the engaged citizenry well that one is obvious, too many have tuned out. This is perhaps the most significant component of the troika as the absence of an aware and engaged public is what allows Harper to continue to thrive despite the damage he has and continues to wreak on the fabric of Canadian democracy.
So if we can no longer call it democracy, what can we call it? Many i know favour the term fascism, this I believe to be a mistake. Despite the fact that Harper does display fascist tendencies we do not live in fascist state. Certainly not of the type most people would think of fascist anyways. When average Canadians think of fascism they think of Franco, Mussolini and yes Hitler. This is why I think it a mistake to use the term fascism when describing Harper, it turns off the very people we need to be reaching if we ever hope to turn this thing around.
So in the end if it was up to me I'd just call it dysfunctional.