[Democracy Watch Logo] [Op-ed]

Prime Minister Harper's Conservatives have broken as many government accountability promises as they have kept, have failed to clean up the federal government and have increased voter cynicism, just like Jean Chretien's Liberals did

Set out below is a letter to the editor by Democracy Watch Coordinator Duff Conacher which was published April 8, 2009 on Canada.com and in that day's issue of the Nanaimo Daily News  and addresses inaccuracies in a Canada.com article published on April 3-4, 2009

Dear Editor,

The headline "Harper passes report card: Observers" (April 3-4) is not accurate, at least as a summary of the statements in the article I am quoted saying about Democracy Watch's report card on the Conservative government's accountability and democratic reforms.

Yes, the Conservatives have strengthened accountability in the federal government in 21 ways, and tried to strengthen it is another 6 ways, mainly through their Federal Accountability Act.  However, the Conservatives have weakened accountability in 8 ways, and failed to keep 27 democratic reform promises (To see Democracy Watch's December 2008 Report Card on the Conservatives' 29 broken promises, click here).

This is a very similar record as the Liberals under Jean Chretien from 1994 to 2003.

Breaking so many election promises, especially promises to increase government accountability, is one of the most cynicism-breeding things a government can do.

Very unfortunately, the Harper Conservatives and Chretien Liberals went even further, both misleading voters by claiming they had kept promises they had actually broken.

As a result, overall Democracy Watch's report card gives the Conservatives' an E -- the same failing grade the Chretien Liberals were given (To see Democracy Watch's December 2008 Report Card on the Conservatives' 29 broken promises, click here).

Another Accountability Act containing the more than 30 measures left out by the Conservatives, as well as a few dozen other key measures, is needed to actually clean up the federal government (To see the list of needed changes, click here).

If they want increased voter support to help them win elections, all MPs have to do is start supporting each other, instead of serving their party leaders, and respond to voters' concerns and frustrations by making these key democratizing changes.

Almost 142 years have passed since Canada became a country -- how much longer do voters have to wait to have a truly democratic and accountable federal government?

Duff Conacher, Coordinator
Democracy Watch 

For more details, go to Democracy Watch's Voter Rights Campaign and Honesty in Politics Campaign