20 Steps towards a Modern, Working Democracy
Democracy Watch’s mandate, 20 Steps towards a Modern, Working Democracy (set out below) proposes changes that all governments in Canada should enact (according to their respective powers) to ensure that Canadian citizens have a greater and more meaningful role in government and corporate decision-making in Canada.
Democracy Watch’s “20 Steps” mandate is based upon Democracy Watch’s Definition of a Democratic Society.
You will see that most of the 20 steps below are “links”. By clicking on any of the “linked” steps you will be taken to the webpage for the Democracy Watch campaign that addresses that step. If you want to see details about all of Democracy Watch’s campaigns, go to the Campaigns page.
Please note that due to lack of resources, and Democracy Watch’s decision to focus on democratic reform issues that other groups are not already addressing, Democracy Watch does not work directly on the following issue areas that are key issues for a democratic society:
- protection of fundamental human rights (Please contact the following government agencies and non-governmental organizations concerning this issue: Canadian Human Rights Commission and provincial human rights commissions, Amnesty International, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Canada Without Poverty);
- protection of rights of workers (Please contact the following organization concerning this issue: Canadian Labour Congress), and;
- while Democracy Watch works on issues concerning the process of government budgeting and spending and waste prevention, it does not work specifically on the content of government budgets, nor on social equity issues generally (Please contact the following non-governmental organizations concerning the content of government budgets, and social equity issues: Canada Without Poverty, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canadian Labour Congress and Canadian Taxpayers Federation).
Steps to empower Canadians as voters:
Steps to empower Canadians as citizens:
Steps to empower Canadians as taxpayers:
10. Establish a simple checkoff on tax returns that invites taxpayers to become fee-paying members of their own national taxpayers association, which will audit government efficiency, spending and purchasing and will advocate for their interests.
11. Decrease the economic gap between elected officials and Canadians and increase ethical standards in government. (in addition to the Government Ethics Campaign, see also the Honesty in Politics Campaign)
12. Link public ownership of public assets with public control of these assets and set aside portions of the revenues collected from the private use of public assets (e.g. Crown land) to fund a citizen watchdog group that will monitor the use of these assets. (See #15 below for related campaign)
13. Recognize public ownership of the public airwaves and give Canadians direct access to TV and radio broadcasting. (See #15 below for related campaign)
Steps to empower Canadians as consumers of information and services:
15. Require financial institutions, insurance companies, TV cable companies, telephone, natural gas, hydro-electricity, water and sewage utilities, and other government institutions and businesses to include periodic inserts in their billing envelopes or other mailings that invite consumers to become fee-paying members of their own consumer associations which will act as watchdogs to negotiate and advocate for their interests.
Steps to empower Canadians as shareholders of private and public wealth:
16. Recognize worker ownership of pension funds and give workers greater control over pension assets (NOTE: Please contact the Canadian Labour Congress for information about this issue)
18. Recognize that there are other “shareholders” of a corporation – for example, its employees, and members of the community in which it operates – and create mechanisms for these shareholders to participate in corporate decision-making and hold corporations accountable for their activities.
20. Encourage the creation of local currency systems to support community economic development and community service. (For example, the Time Bank system)