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Canada needs more honest, ethical, open government

Set out below is a letter-to-the-editor by Democracy Watch Founder Duff Conacher which was published in the Toronto Star and the Hill Times June 16-18, 2012

While it is dangerously undemocratic, if not clearly unconstitutional, for the Conservatives to have introduced a huge budget bill that includes dozens of amendments that have nothing to do with spending the public’s money, opposition parties are also to blame for this current fiasco.

There was a minority federal government from June 2004 until May 2011, and all the opposition parties had to do, some time in those seven years, was cooperate and pass a bill that clearly restricted budget bills to changes to spending.

Instead, as they almost always do, the opposition parties (including the Conservatives between 2004 and 2006, and yes even Jack Layton’s NDP) competed over who would get attention for complaining about government actions, attacked each other trying to better position themselves for the next election and, in some cases, tried to stop democratic reforms because they feared the ruling party or another party would be applauded.

If any of them would, instead of opposing and competing, propose working together to make government more honest, ethical, open, representative and waste-preventing, let alone to solve many other societal problems, they would not only make the other parties look very bad if they refused to work together, and be widely applauded by voters, they would also give the 40 per cent of Canadians who don’t vote a reason to vote.

One would think that political parties trying to get into power would want to do things to attract votes from 40 per cent of Canadians. One can only hope that at least one of them will soon break their addiction to corrupt, destructive politics as usual and start proposing solutions, and cooperative processes for implementing those solutions.

For more details, go to Democracy Watch’s Clean Up the System page