All parties do best in Representative Government reforms, and worst in Honest, Ethical Government reforms – Greens lose marks for vague promises, Conservatives fail in two of five categories
Honesty, lobbying and whistleblower protection reforms missing in all party platforms
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 19, 2015
OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch released its Report Card on the Federal Parties’ 2015 Democratic Reform Platforms (See the Report Card below).
The Liberals and NDP tied with a B – matching the best mark Democracy Watch has ever given in its Report Card – as they each promised about 75 democracy changes. The Greens lost marks for vague promises in a couple of areas and so ended up with a B- grade.
The Conservatives failed to make any promises in two of the five categories measured by the Report, and had overall poor marks and ended up with a D grade. This is a big change from their 2006 election platform when they were first elected – in that platform the Conservatives promised 60 democratic reform and government accountability changes in their so-called “Federal Accountability Act”, and earned them a B grade.
However, the Conservative’s weak platform is consistent with their weak performance in the area of democratic reform in the past few years – they only kept 29 of their original 60 promises, and weakened ethics and open government rules in 2006, and they have been involved in many secrecy and ethics scandals.
All parties did best in the area of promised Representative Government reforms, and worst in the area of promised Honest, Ethical Government reforms.
Clear and strong honesty-in-politics, ethics, lobbying, whistleblower protection reforms, and reforms to strengthen enforcement by watchdogs (such as the Ethics Commissioner and Lobbying Commissioner) and citizen group watching of government and big businesses, were missing from all the parties’ platforms.
“While the federal Liberal and NDP democracy and government accountability promises resulted in a B grade, some of their promises lack details and promises are missing in key areas of honesty, ethics, lobbying, whistleblower protection and overall enforcement and penalties,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch and Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa. “They will have to keep all their promises, and also do more, to make the key changes needed to give Canadians the fully democratic and accountable federal government they deserve, and that many surveys over the past 15 years have shown voters want.”
“Voters should be skeptical of politicians’ promises, and even if the Liberals and NDP made all the changes they promised everyone in politics and government would still be allowed to lie to voters, politicians would still be allowed to make money from their decisions, secret lobbying would still be legal, wealthy individuals would still be allowed to use money to have unethical influence, whistleblowers would still not be effectively protected, and enforcement and penalties would still be too weak to stop wrongdoing,” said Conacher.
Many surveys over the past 15 years have shown that a large majority of voters do not trust politicians, and want honesty, ethics, lobbying, open government and other reforms to stop politicians from abusing their power. Hundreds of thousands of messages have been sent to federal party leaders and politicians through Democracy Watch’s campaigns calling for the 100 changes needed to ensure fully democratic and accountable federal government and politics.
Democracy Watch and the coalitions it leads will continue to push for all 100 key changes.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Democracy Watch’s Campaigns page
Report Card on the Federal Parties’ 2015 Democratic Reform Platforms