Skip to content

Lt. Gov. warns residents not to take democracy 'for granted'

'Democracy is about so much more than a vote,' Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell says during Midland Public Library stop Thursday. 'It’s about decisions that we make together'

Without perseverance and careful attention something as sacred as democracy can crack and crumble; even in a country like Canada.

While that may be paraphrasing, Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell’s message to those gathered at the Midland Public Library Thursday afternoon emphasized the importance of never taking democracy for granted.

“It’s clear that democracies in the world are very fragile,” she told about 40 area residents and staff gathered on the library’s main floor.

“There are cracks showing and change is coming so quickly. We take it for granted that it will always be here, but we need to be very vigilant.”

Dowdeswell, who was on hand to celebrate the Speaking of Democracy exhibit that’s been enjoyed by patrons to the library since September, said visiting Midland gave her a chance to “play hooky” from her Toronto office.

“There’s a lot of people in and around Queen’s Park for a variety of reasons,” she said, likely referencing the impending job action by the province’s educational workers.

On loan from her office, the exhibition explores the roots of, threats to and promise of democracy, through quotes from contemporary and historic individuals as well as the official slogan of the Washington Post adopted in 2017: ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness’.

“This is really the first opportunity I’ve had to see this huge exhibit transferred into something that can travel around to smaller spaces,” Dowdeswell said, noting she appreciates how library staff opted to get in touch with her office to host the exhibit.

“I’m so glad you put up your hands and said you wanted it.”

Dowdeswell added that ensuring democratic thought is more than just heading to the polling station during elections.

“Democracy is about so much more than a vote," she said. "It’s about decisions that we make together. Our hope is that the exhibit will cause people to think.”

While Dowdeswell noted she has been through Midland, this was really her first visit to the Georgian Bay town.

“I’m reminded that this is where my predecessor (David Onley) grew up, it was his home,” she recounted. “I’m always curious about smaller towns around Ontario.”

Dowdeswell was originally slated to help the library officially open the exhibit in September, but had to cancel due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

“She was dedicated to service and was such an amazing role model,” Dowdeswell said, noting many Canadians regularly follow the late Monarch’s dedication by serving others in both their careers like first responders and military personnel and through volunteer work.

“We can pay tribute to her by remembering those who provide service to the community. I hope Her Majesty knew about our comings and goings and that we’re following in her footsteps.”

Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country’s most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
Read more

Reader Feedback