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Conservatives promised fair, transparent, and democratic races

The following letter-to-the-editor written by Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch, was published in the Hill Times on May 13, 2014

Your article about the battle among local Conservatives over the nomination race in the Alberta riding of Calgary Skyview could have reminded everyone about two key Conservative platform promises from the 2006 federal election (Conservatives question acclamation of Tory MP Devinder Shory — April 28).

The Conservatives promised to: “Ensure that party nomination and leadership races are conducted in a fair, transparent, and democratic manner” and to “Prevent party leaders from appointing candidates without the democratic consent of local electoral district associations.”

The Conservatives broke these and more than 30 of their so-called “Federal Accountability Act” promises, and opposition party leaders did nothing to make these democratic changes during the minority governments of 2006-2011.

As a result, most of the federal parties are going to experience many more nasty, party-splitting fights over the next year as riding associations or party leaders try to rig some of the nomination races across Canada.

Canadians deserve better politics, but they will only get it when strong rules that are strongly enforced with high penalties effectively require everyone in politics to be honest, ethical, open, representative and to prevent waste.

Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch