Liberals and NDP get an "E" as best grade of very bad grades in Report Card on Ontario Parties' Democratic Good Government Platforms -- Greens and PCs get an "Incomplete"

Liberals and NDP get an “E” as best grade of very bad grades in Report Card on Ontario Parties’ Democratic Good Government Platforms — Greens and PCs get an “Incomplete”

Despite high voter concern about democracy and trust, incredibly all parties fail to promise the many needed changes to have effective democracy, government ethics and accountability in Ontario

Voter turnout likely to drop to new record low of about 45% -- many more would likely turn out if Elections Ontario informed voters that they have the right to decline their ballot

News Release
Monday, June 9, 2014

OTTAWA - Today, Democracy Watch released its Report Card on the 2014 Democratic Good Government Election Platforms of the five main Ontario political parties, the only election report card on these issues.

The Liberals and NDP tied with a "best" grade of E while the Greens and Progressive Conservatives made so few promises to clean up politics in Ontario that they received an Incomplete.  A Dishonesty Downgrade of one full grade is also shown in the Report Card results -- usually only half of all promises are kept because of the lack of an honesty-in-politics law which is needed to effectively penalize promise-breakers and misleaders.

"All the Ontario parties have failed to respond to high voter concern about democracy and trust issues, but voters focused on these issues should still come to the polls and at least exercise their legal right to decline their ballot and vote none of the above to show their concern," said Duff Conacher, Founding Director of Democracy Watch and chairperson of its four nation-wide coalitions.  "The party leaders should not be surprised by the lack of support they will receive from voters on election day.  One can only hope that the parties will actually address these concerns when the legislature opens again so that everyone in Ontario politics will, finally after 147 years, be effectively required to act honestly, ethically, openly, representatively and to prevent waste."

"None of the Ontario political parties seem to realize that every party that has made strong promises to clean up politics and government in the past 20 years across Canada has won more votes and seats, and elections," said Conacher.  "No one should be surprised if voter turnout drops to a new record low of about 45% because voting for a candidate is like recommending someone for a job, and given the lack of promises to clean up politics, most voters won't feel motivated to recommend that any party form the next Ontario government."

"The Green Party platform has the words 'honesty' and 'integrity' on the cover, but they made only two promises that won't even do much to ensure honesty and integrity in provincial politics.  In contrast, the federal Green Party in the 2011 election made extensive promises and received a grade of B- which was the highest grade for the Report Card that election and in part was why the Greens elected their first MP." said Conacher.  "The Progressive Conservatives have complained a lot about lack of integrity in Ontario politics but they only made a couple of promises to cut spending and increase spending accountability a little bit.  In contrast, the federal Conservatives made 60 democratic reform and government accountability promises in the 2006 federal election, and received the best grade in the Report Card for that election, which they won."

The Report Card grades the four main parties' platform pledges based upon 16 sets of key changes in five areas that Democracy Watch and its coalitions believe are the changes that will most effectively require everyone in the Ontario government to act honestly, ethically, openly, efficiently, representatively and, if they don't act in these democratic ways, to be easily and thoroughly held accountable.  In total, the 16 sets of changes add up to 100 key changes needed to the Ontario government's democracy, ethics and accountability system.

The measures are a compilation of the proposals of the five nation-wide coalitions Democracy Watch coordinates (Government Ethics Coalition, Money in Politics Coalition, Open Government Coalition, Corporate Responsibility Coalition, Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition).  A combined total of more than 140 citizen groups with a total membership of more than 3 million Canadians belong to the coalitions, groups that work on anti-poverty, bank accountability, community economic development, consumer, corporate responsibility, environment, labour, social justice, women and youth issues.

Many national surveys over the past several years have shown that a large majority of Canadians support the 100 democracy, ethics and government accountability reforms set out in the Report Card, as do many commentators on democratic reform.  The federal government, and every province and territory and municipality across Canada, all have a similar list of 100 loopholes and flaws in their government systems (each with a slightly differect set of loopholes flaws, depending on which have been closed or corrected in the past).

The 16 sets of changes, divided into five areas, all reflect the following five key elements for ensuring that large, powerful government institutions act responsibly and follow rules: 1. strong laws with no loopholes; 2. requirement to disclose details of operations and violations; 3. fully independent, fully empowered watchdog agencies to enforce laws; 4. penalties that are high enough to encourage compliance; and 5. empowerment of citizens to hold governments and watchdog agencies accountable.

The parties were given a grade ranging from A (Platform makes clear promise to implement proposal) to I (Platform does not mention proposal), with grades B for a vague or partial promise to implement the proposal, C and D for clear to vague promises to explore the proposal, E for mentioning proposal and F for mentioning the theme of the proposal.  Grades were averaged for each of the five sections, and the averages of section grades were used to calculate the overall grade for each party.

"Given the lack of a provincial honesty-in-politics law, and the lack of a clear pledge by any of the parties to pass such a law, voters should be wary of trusting any political promises," said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch.  "However, if they want their concerns addressed, voters should always turn up and at least exercise their legal right to decline their ballotto send a message to the parties."

The 2014 Report Card is an updated version of the Report Cards issued by Democracy Watch during the 2011 and 2007 Ontario elections, and reflects changes that have occurred in Ontario laws since 2007.

Democracy Watch graded the parties' election platforms by reviewing the platforms.  Statements by party leaders or representatives were not taken into account as they are not fully accessible to all voters, nor are they binding in any way on the party (as admitted by many party leaders) and as a result are even less reliable than promises made in the parties' platforms.

- 30 -
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
info@democracywatch.ca


Report Card on the 2014 Democratic Good Government
Election Platforms of the Ontario Political Parties

(Set out below are quotations from the Ontario parties' platform documents upon which the Report Card grades were based for each of the 16 sub-categories graded in the 5 issue areas categories)

GRADING SYSTEM
A - Platform makes clear promise to implement proposal
B - Platform makes vague or partial promise to implement proposal
C - Platform makes clear promise to explore proposal
D - Platform makes vague or partial promise to explore proposal
E - Platform mentions proposal
F - Platform mentions theme of proposal
I - Platform does not mention proposal

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario platform webpage
Green Party of Ontario platform webpage
Liberal Party of Ontario platform webpage
NDP of Ontario platform webpage


OVERALL REPORT CARD GRADES
best to worst

Party Grades Dishonesty Downgrade*
(one full grade)
Liberal Party
E
F
New Democrat Party E F
Green Party F I
Progressive Conservative Party F I

* Dishonesty Downgrade applied because past performance of all parties shows that they usually break half their promises, and the lack of an honesty-in-politics law means they can't be held accountable.


I. Honest, Ethical Government Measures
1. Requiring honesty-in-politics
2. Strengthening ethics standards . . . and ethics enforcement
3. Making the political donations and election spending system democratic
4. Closing down the revolving door
II. Open Government Measures

5. Strengthening access-to-information system
6. Exposing behind-closed-door communications
7. Strengthening lobbying disclosure and ethics, and the enforcement system
III. Efficient Government Measures
8. Increasing powers of Auditor General
9. Restricting government and campaign advertising
IV. Representative, Citizen-Driven Government Measures
10. Increasing meaningful public consultation
11. Restricting power of Cabinet to make appointments
12. Making the legislature democratic
13. Ensuring free, fair and representative elections
V. General Government Accountability Measures
14. Facilitating citizen watchdog groups over government
15. Ensuring effective whistleblower protection
16. Ensuring loophole free laws and strong penalties for wrongdoers

I. Honest, Ethical Government Measures
SECTION I OVERALL GRADES
Green Party - F
Liberal Party - I
New Democrat Party - I
Progressive Conservative Party - I 

1. Requiring honesty-in-politics - Pass a law that requires all Cabinet ministers, MPPs, political staff, Cabinet appointees and government employees (including at Crown corporations, agencies, boards, commissions, courts and tribunals) nomination race and election candidates to tell the truth, with an easily accessible complaint process to a fully independent watchdog agency that is fully empowered to investigate and penalize anyone who lies. (Go to Honesty in Politics Campaignfor details about Democracy Watch's proposals)Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform
Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform
Liberal Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform
New Democrat Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform 2. Strengthening ethics standards for politicians, political staff, Cabinet appointees and government employees, and ethics enforcement - Close the loopholes in the existing ethics rules (including closing the loophole that allows Cabinet ministers, MPPs, their staff and Cabinet appointees to be involved in decisions in which they have a financial interest, and including requiring resignation and a by-election if an MPP switches parties between elections) and apply them to all government institutions (including all Crown corporations), and as proposed by the federal Department of Finance place anyone with decision-making power on the anti-corruption watch list of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (Fintrac) so deposits to their bank accounts can be tracked, and; strengthen the independence and effectiveness of all the newly created politician and government employee ethics watchdog positions (the Integrity Commissioner for Cabinet and MPPs and lobbyists, the Conflict of Interest Commissioner for government employees) by giving opposition party leaders a veto over appointees, having the legislature (as opposed to Cabinet) approve their annual budgets, prohibiting the watchdogs from giving secret advice, requiring them to investigate and rule publicly on all complaints (including anonymous complaints), fully empowering and requiring them to penalize rule-breakers, changing all the codes they enforce into laws, and ensuring that all their decisions can be reviewed by the courts.  (Go to Government Ethics Campaignfor details about Democracy Watch's proposals)Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in party platform
Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in party platform
Liberal Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform
New Democrat Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform 3. Making the political donations and election spending system democratic - Prohibit secret, unlimited donations or gifts of money, property or services by anyone for any reason to nomination, election and party leadership candidates; limit donations to $200 annually from individuals, and bank donations from corporations, unions and other organizations; also limit loans, including from financial institutions, to parties and all types of candidates to the same level as donations are limited; establish $1 per vote public funding of political parties (50 cents per vote for parties that elect a higher percentage of MPPs than the percentage of voter support they receive, and; ensure riding associations receive a fair share of this per-vote funding (so that party headquarters don't have undue control over riding associations); require disclosure of all donations, gifts and loans of money, property or services (including the identity of the donor's employer (as in the U.S.) and major affiliations) quarterly and before any election day; limit spending on campaigns for the leadership of political parties; limit advertising spending by the government and opposition parties and third parties in the six-month period leading up to an election, and limit advertising spending by third parties during the election campaign period (as spending by parties and candidates is limited)..  (Go to the Money in Politics Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I

Green Party - B-
- "we will push to end corporate and union donations to political parties." (Our Environment section, under Commitment #3)

Liberal Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

New Democrat Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

4. Closing down the revolving door - Prohibit lobbyists from working for government departments or serving in senior positions for political parties or candidates for public office (as in New Mexico and Maryland), and from having business connections with anyone who does, and close the loopholes so that the actual cooling-off period for former Cabinet ministers, ministerial staff and senior public officials is five years (and three years for MPPs, senators, their staff, and government employees) during which they are prohibited from becoming a lobbyist or working with people, corporations or organizations with which they had direct dealings while in government.  Make the Integrity Commissioner and Conflict of Interest Commissioner more independent and effective by by giving opposition party leaders a veto over their appointment, by having the legislature (as opposed to Cabinet) approve their annual budget, by prohibiting the Commissioners from giving secret advice, by requiring the Commissioners to investigate and rule publicly on all complaints (including anonymous complaints), and by fully empowering and requiring the Commissioners to penalize rule-breakers, by ensuring all decisions of the Commissioners can be reviewed by the courts. (Go to Government Ethics Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Liberal Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

New Democrat Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform


II. Open Government Measures

SECTION II OVERALL GRADES
Green Party - I
Liberal Party - E
New Democrat Party - I
Progressive Conservative Party - I
5. Strengthening access-to-information system - Strengthen the federal access-to-information law and government information management system by applying the law to all government/publicly funded institutions, requiring all institutions and officials to create records of all decisions and actions and disclose them proactively and regularly, creating a public interest override of all access exemptions, giving opposition party leaders a veto over the appointment of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, having the legislature (as opposed to Cabinet) approve the Information and Privacy Commissioner's annual budgets, and giving the Information and Privacy Commissioner the power and mandate to order changes to government institutions' information systems, and to penalize violators of access laws, regulations, policies and rules.  (Go to Open Government Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Liberal Party - C
- "OPENING UP GOVERNMENT. We will continue to open up government. We will increase transparency and help the public become more involved in decision-making. We will re-introduce the Accountability Act and we will move on the recommendations of the Open Government Panel. We will:
Improve disclosure of MPP expenses . . .
Introduce an Open Data Directive that makes government data open by default" (Making Government Work section, p.2)

New Democrat Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

6. Exposing behind-closed-door communications - Require in a new law that Ministers and public officials and MPPs and their staff disclose their contacts with all lobbyists, whether paid or volunteer lobbyists.  (Go to Government Ethics Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Liberal Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

New Democrat Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

7. Strengthening lobbying disclosure and ethics, and the enforcement system - Strengthen the Lobbying Registration Act by including in it a Lobbyists' Code of Conduct, by closing the loophole that currently allows corporations to hide the number of people involved in lobbying activities, and by requiring lobbyists to disclose their past work with any Canadian or foreign government, political party or candidate, to disclose all their government relations activities (whether paid or volunteer) involving gathering inside information or trying to influence policy-makers (as in the U.S.) and to disclose the amount they spend on lobbying campaigns (as in 33 U.S. states), and; strengthen the ethics and enforcement system by extending the limitation period for prosecutions of violations of the Act to 10 years, and; by giving opposition party leaders a veto over the appointment of the Integrity Commissioner for lobbyists, by having the legislature (as opposed to Cabinet) approve the Commissioner's annual budget, by prohibiting the Commissioner from giving secret advice, by requiring the Commissioner to investigate and rule publicly on all complaints (including anonymous complaints), by fully empowering and requiring the Commissioner to penalize rule-breakers, by ensuring all Commissioner decisions can be reviewed by the courts.  (Go to Government Ethics Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Liberal Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

New Democrat Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform


III. Efficient Government Measures

SECTION III OVERALL GRADES
Green Party - E
Liberal Party - D
New Democrat Party - C
Progressive Conservative Party - D
8. Increasing powers of Auditor General - Increase the independence of the Auditor General by requiring approval of appointment from opposition party leaders; increase auditing resources of the Auditor General by having the legislature (as opposed to Cabinet) approve the Auditor General's annual budget, and; empower the Auditor General to audit all government institutions and also audit projected spending (like the federal Parliamentary Budget Officer does, or create a PBO-like position to do this)), and also empower the Auditor General/PBO to make orders for changes to government institutions' spending systems, and to penalize violators of Treasury Board spending rules or Auditor General/PBO orders or requests for information.  (Go to the Stop Fraud Politician Spending Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - C
- "1. Eliminate rules that prohibit competitive bids on government construction projects" (Eliminating the red tape section)
- "Eliminate the excessive bureaucracy, unreasonable rules and lavish subsidies that have driven up hydro bills" (Eliminating the red tape section)
- "ACTION – REDUCE GOVERNMENT SPENDING
Review every government program, keeping those that work, fixing those that require it and cancelling the ones that don’t give taxpayers good value. This is the key step to a smaller, more focused government, one that we can afford. Over the course of our two-year balanced budget plan, total spending on government programs will go down. Because health care is the most important service government provides, health care spending will continue to grow predictably so that you receive excellent care where and when you need it.
ACTION – SHRINK THE CABINET
Reduce the number of ministries, and the number of cabinet positions at the swearing in of a PC government, from 27 to 16. In a legislature of 107 MPPs, we don’t need 27 people responsible for spending decisions. In addition, we will tie ministers’ salaries to specific performance goals, like reducing the regulatory burden on job creators and meeting budget targets. A smaller, more effective government starts at the top.
ACTION – STOP THE RUNAWAY GROWTH OF GOVERNMENT WAGES
Implement a two-year pay freeze, by legislation if necessary, that will apply to all public servants, including MPPs, senior civil servants and the more than 4,000 collective bargaining agreements across the entire public sector payroll as part of our comprehensive plan to control government spending. . .
ACTION – BRING BALANCE BACK TO GOVERNMENT BENEFITS
Bring government benefits in line with those of the private sector while ensuring that the pensions already earned by government workers will be protected. Pensions are a good thing, but government pensions have become increasingly unsustainable for Ontario taxpayers. Six out of ten Ontarians have no workplace pension at all – a figure that rises to eight out of ten for small business employees. On the other hand, most government workers have expensive pensions and benefits that leave taxpayers on the hook for any shortfalls. New government workers will still get pensions, but not the type that guarantees defined and expensive future payments. We will offer the type of coverage that most of those who have pensions in the private sector receive. This will reduce one of the biggest financial risks the government faces.
ACTION – REDUCE THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT PAYROLL
Decrease the number of positions on the government payroll by 100,000, about 10 per cent. That’s the size the government was as recently as 2009. Vital frontline services such as those performed by nurses, doctors and police will not be affected. . . .
ACTION – ENCOURAGE BETTER SERVICE THROUGH COMPETITION
Get the best price for services government provides you. For as many government services as possible, we will open contracts to competition, to get the best deal for taxpayers. I. . .
ACTION – CREATE A 21ST CENTURY CIVIL SERVICE
Refocus government on jobs that only government can and should do. This will mean a smaller, more vibrant civil service, one that sets clear goals, measures outcomes and rewards excellence and high performance. We want the best and brightest Ontarians to help us rebuild our province. Right now, only current government employees are allowed to apply for many government jobs. This system is unfair and ineffective. That’s why we will make as many new or vacant government jobs as possible open to competition, so that every Ontarian has a fair chance at them."

Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Liberal Party - C
- "INTRODUCING A FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICER: We will introduce a Financial Accountability Officer who will provide independent analysis to MPPs on the state of the province’s finances." (Making Government Work section, p. 6)
- "REVIEWING ONGOING PROGRAMS. We will establish a committee of Ministers to continue to find savings in the province’s budget, totaling $2.25 billion over three years." (Making Government Work section, p. 7)

New Democrat Party - C
- "Save $600 million with a Minister of Savings and Accountability
This will be achieved by implementing measures such as:
• Shrinking Ministers’ office budgets and cutting the size of cabinet by a third;
• Consolidating agencies that overlap; and
• Capping the salaries of public-sector CEOs."
(Respect your tax dollars and invest responsibly section, p.1)
- "Appoint a Financial Accountability Office to stop waste before it happens
• Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government promised to get the Financial Accountability Office up and running by the end of 2013, but the office is still empty.
• New Democrats will immediately move to fill the Financial Accountability Officer position." (Respect your tax dollars and invest responsibly section, p.1)

9. Restricting government and campaign advertising - Empower a government watchdog agency to preview and prohibit government advertising contracting out if there is no reason to have the advertising developed by a contractor, and to reject any government advertising that is essentially a partisan ad for the ruling party, and strictly limit all advertising spending by the government in the six-month period leading up to an election.  (Go to the Stop Fraud Politician Spending Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal related in platform

Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Liberal Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

New Democrat Party - B-
- "New Democrats will ensure that all provincial government advertising – including online advertising – is vetted by the Auditor General"  (Respect your tax dollars and invest responsibly section, p.1)


IV. Representative, Citizen-Driven Government Measures

SECTION IV OVERALL GRADES
Green Party - I
Liberal Party - E
New Democrat Party - F
Progressive Conservative Party - I
10. Increasing meaningful public consultation - Pass a law requiring all government departments and institutions to use consultation processes that provide meaningful opportunities for citizen participation, especially concerning decisions that affect the lives of all Ontarians.  (Go to the Democratic Voting Systems Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Liberal Party - C
- "Empower communities to develop their own community wellness strategies. The development of Community Hubs, and the active engagement of our partners in public health units across the province, will provide local places to house community-driven programs that can focus on health and wellness." (Health Care section, p.4)
- "ENCOURAGING SMARTER GROWTH. We have introduced award-winning land use planning legislation that encourages smart growth and protects green spaces for future generations. We know that communities and citizens need more support to determine how their neighbourhoods grow. We will therefore introduce legislation to:
Ensure new residential development projects provide more revenue for transit.
Enhance respect and protection for local official plans when municipalities do comprehensive, up-front planning and zoning.
Reduce the number of development applications that go to the Ontario Municipal Board.
Ensure citizens are consulted sooner and that there is more citizen input into the land use planning process.
Require municipalities to work with school boards to develop Park Plans to protect green space in growing communities." (Sustainable Communities section, p.3)
- "DEVELOPING AND SUPPORTING COMMUNITY HUBS. We will develop and support school-community hubs to promote efficient use of public assets, build better ties between schools and municipalities and other community organizations, and ensure that more viable schools are able to remain open." (Sustainable Communities section, p.4)
- "Introduce a new online platform to enable increased public input into Government decisions." (Making Government Work section, p.3)

New Democrat Party - E
- "Conduct an Environmental Assessment of pipeline projects that impact our communities
• We will commit $2 million annually to ensure proper community consultation and environmental protection through provincial Environmental Assessments of pipeline projects that impact Ontario communities." (Keeping schools open and foster healthy communities section)

11. Restricting power of Cabinet to make appointments - Require approval by opposition party leaders for the approximately 2,000 judicial, agency, board, commission and tribunal appointments currently made by the Premier, especially for appointees to senior and law enforcement positions, after a merit-based nomination and screening process.   (Go to the Democratic Voting Systems Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Liberal Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

New Democrat Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

12. Making the legislature more democratic - Change the law to restrict the Premier's power to shut down (prorogue) the legislature to only for a very short time, and only for an election (dissolution) or if the national situation has changed significantly or if the Premier can show that the government has completed all their pledged actions from the last Speech from the Throne (or attempted to do so, as the opposition parties may stop or delay completion of some actions).  Give all party caucuses the power to choose which MPPs and senators in their party sits on legislature committees, and allow any MPP to introduce a private member bill at any time, and define what a "vote of confidence" is in the law in a restrictive way so most votes in the legislature are free votes. (Go to the Democratic Voting Systems Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Liberal Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

New Democrat Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

13. Ensuring free, fair and representative elections - Change the current voting law and system (the Elections Act) to specifically restrict the Premier's power to call an unfair snap election, so that election dates are fixed as much as possible under the parliamentary system.  Change the Act also so that nomination and party leadership races are regulated by Elections Ontario (including limiting spending on campaigns for party leadership), so that Elections Ontario determines which parties can participate in election debates based upon merit criteria, so that party leaders cannot appoint candidates except when a riding does not have a riding association, so that voters can give a reason if they decline their ballot (ie. vote for "none of the above") and so Elections Ontario is required to educate voters about their legal right to decline their ballot, and to provide a more equal number of voters in every riding, and a more accurate representation in the legislature of the actual voter support for each political party (with a safeguard to ensure that a party with low-level, narrow-base support does not have a disproportionately high level of power in the legislature).  (Go to the Democratic Voting Systems Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Liberal Party - D
- "ALLOWING CHOICE IN MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS. We will give municipalities the option of using ranked ballots as an alternative to first-past-the-post in their own elections." (Making Government Work section, p. 3)

New Democrat Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform


V. General Government Accountability Measures

SECTION V OVERALL GRADES
Green Party - E
Liberal Party - D-
New Democrat Party - E
Progressive Conservative Party - I
14. Facilitating citizen watchdog groups over government - Require provincial government institutions to enclose one-page pamphlets periodically in their mailings to citizens inviting citizens to join citizen-funded and directed groups to represent citizen interests in policy-making and enforcement processes of key government departments (for example, on ethics, spending, and health care) as has been proposed in the U.S. and recommended for Canadian banks and other financial institutions in 1998 by a federal task force, a legislature of Commons Committee, and a Senate Committee.  (Go to the Citizen Association Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Liberal Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

New Democrat Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

15. Ensuring effective whistleblower protection - Require everyone to report any violation of any law, regulation, policy, code, guideline or rule, and require all watchdog agencies over government (for example: Auditor General, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Integrity Commissioner, and Conflict of Interest Commissioner) to investigate and rule publicly on allegations of violations, to penalize violators, to protect anyone (not just employees) who reports a violation (so-called "whistleblowers") from retaliation, to reward whistleblowers whose allegations are proven to be true, and to ensure a right to appeal to the courts.  (Go to the Open Government Campaign for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Green Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Liberal Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

New Democrat Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

16. Ensuring loophole free laws and strong penalties for wrongdoers - Close any technical and other loopholes that have been identified in laws, regulations, policies, codes, guidelines and rules (especially those regulating government institutions and large corporations) to help ensure strong enforcement, and increase financial penalties for violations to a level that significantly effects the annual revenues/budget of the institution or corporation. (Go to the Campaigns page for details about Democracy Watch's proposals)

Conservative Party - I
- Nothing related to proposal in platform

Green Party - C
- "Loopholes in the Aggregate Resources Act, Provincial Policy Statement, Endangered Species Act and other legislation mean we fail to protect the people and places we love.
Developers use the Ontario Municipal Board, SLAPP suits and backroom exemptions to overturn local decisions and legislative protections.
Ontario must put the people and places we love first. Laws designed to protect communities and natural heritage should not have loopholes and exemptions.
Your Green MPPs will push to close loopholes in legislation that allow activity that threatens your community and our natural heritage from harmful activities." (Our Environment section, under Commitment #3)

Liberal Party - B-
- "Work with business and industry to find ways to provide Ontarians with better information about chemicals linked with cancer, and identify ways to support industry to ensure children’s products on Ontario shelves are as safe as products in the US and European Union.
Renew our efforts to build a Smoke-Free Ontario.
We will ban flavoured tobacco targeting children, broaden restrictions for smoking in public places, and double penalties for selling tobacco to children and teenagers.
We are increasing the tobacco tax by $3.25 per carton." (Health Care section, p.4)
- "ESTABLISH A PATIENT OMBUDSMAN. We will establish a Patient Ombudsman to resolve complaints and concerns and to drive improvements across the health care system. ACCOUNTABILITY AT ORNGE. We will build on the management changes we made at Ornge and re-introduce legislation that will give us the powers we need to safeguard patient care, stop future abuses, and get better value for our air ambulance dollars." (Health Care section, p.8)
- "Increase oversight by the Ontario Ombudsman" (Making Government Work section, p.2)
- "We will improve Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario so that they are more responsive to customers." (Making Government Work section, p.3)
- "INTRODUCING A CONSUMER BILL OF RIGHTS. To protect and support consumers, we will bring in a Consumer Bill of Rights. We will provide new protections against identity theft and credit rating agency abuses. The legislation will also enhance oversight of moving companies, home renovation services, and the sale of consumer debts to debt-collection agencies. We will also introduce a professional designation for financial planning, in consultation with consumers and the industry." (Making Government Work section, p.3)
- "PROTECTING CONDO OWNERS. We will improve the condo experience by licensing condo managers and allowing condo owners to resolve disputes more quickly outside the court system. We will modernize the rules relating to condo reserve funds, making the management of these funds more transparent, rigorous, and better able to address an expanded scope of renovations, such as those related to accessibility and energy efficiency." (Making Government Work section, pp.3-4)
- ENSURING FAIR PAY FOR CONTRACTORS. We will modernize the Construction Lien Act to ensure that it reflects the reality of today’s construction industry, and we will introduce legislation to address payment risk within the sector, ensuring that companies are paid in a timely way for the work they have done."
(Making Government Work section, p.4)
- "CRACKING DOWN ON THE UNDERGROUND ECONOMY AND THOSE WHO EVADE TAXES. We will aggressively pursue tax cheats and evaders, and call on the federal government to release a national strategy to combat the underground economy." (Making Government Work section, p.7)

New Democrat Party - C
- "We will increase compliance, crack down on the underground economy, and enhance auditing and collection measures." (Respect your tax dollars and invest responsibly section, p.1)
- "Protect tenants by enforcing building standards and maintenance rules
• An NDP government will help municipalities enforce inspections to ensure landlords respect their commitments to tenants." (Keep schools open and foster healthy communities section)


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