First estate was the clergy, second the nobility and the third everyone else.
This was later modernized, with government leaders and politicians becoming the first estate. Behind them are business leaders, who were to act as Captains of Industry, and though amassing small fortunes, were expected to contribute positively* to the country in some way.
The third are the consumers and working class and the fourth estate, journalists, reporters, and other media representatives.
It was the duty of the fourth estate to keep a watchful eye on what the first and second estates were doing, while providing valuable information to the consumers, workers, and taxpayers of the third estate.
All part of a healthy functioning democracy.
However, what has been happening over the years, is a merger between the first and second estates, which has accelerated since Stephen Harper came to power. He no longer even pretends that corporations don't take precedence over Parliament.
But more troubling is the fact that he has also swallowed up the fourth estate, as independent media in Canada is becoming a thing of the past. The Globe and Mail was the latest to fall.
And they have also pulled in religious leaders, who now have a place at the first estate table. But not really members of the clergy. Most of them still belong to us. But they have brought in the for-profit religious leaders who have traded their souls for power and money. And they are the ones who get to decide our morality and foreign policy.
And in a country with a national police force, they couldn't leave them out. RCMP Shelley Glover, now a Harper MP, is thrilled that hers is the "only party that has elected police officers" And they hope to add one more in a by-election.
The G-20 was evidence that the Canada's police forces are now part of that first estate.
But there is a fifth estate that I haven't mentioned yet. I'm not talking about the TV show, but unofficially the fifth estate is comprised of the social media, including bloggers and all "'networked individuals' enabled by the Internet in ways that can hold the other estates accountable".
So the first estate is the government, corporations, the mainstream media, high paid religious leaders and the police. The second estate are ordinary citizens, while the third are those of us, like Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper, who care about the direction this country is headed, and are determined to do something about it.
And our weapon of choice is information.
We have some great allies, like Rabble, the Tyee, Cornwall Free Press, Winnipeg Free Press, Mark News and other independent sources. And we also have several investigative journalists who still remember why they became journalists in the first place, and many great columnists, who continue to get the word out, often at the expense of their careers.
So here are my plans. We merge with the "new" second estate, making Canadians the acclaimed nobility. We then have the numbers to decide the fate of the "new" first estate.
First - we get rid of our current government.
Second - we demand that corporations become responsible and pay their share of taxes. They can no longer pollute and must return to their places as good corporate citizens.
Third - We remind the police that they work for us, the taxpayer. Their job is to serve and protect the public, not run interference for a prime minister who refuses to answer questions, or bash anyone who disagrees with him.
Fourth - We expose the Religious Right leaders as the money grubbing bottom feeders that they are.
Then we redesign the estates of the realm, with the first estate being us, and all those below us will serve our needs.
It can be done. But we have to get involved and get others involved and make sure that every citizen in this country, tired of being ignored, VOTES!
*Suggested reading: The Myth of the Good Corporate Citizen: Canada and Democracy in the Age of Globalization, By Murray Dobbin, James Lorimer & Company, 2003, ISBN: 1-55028-785-0