[Democracy Watch Logo] [Op-ed]

Federal Conservatives broke almost half of their accountability and democratic reform election promises, and as a result have not increased their voter support -- will any federal political party become a leader on this issue?

Set out below is a letter-to-the-editor by Democracy Watch Coordinator Duff Conacher which was published in slightly different, edited form in the July 22, 2008 issue of the Globe and Mail.

Dear Editor,
Jeffrey Simpson claims in his column that the federal Conservative's Federal Accountability Act (FAA) was "overwrought" (Here's the thing - what do the Harperites do next? - July 19).

In fact, the FAA was underdone, not overdone, as the Conservatives included only 30 of their promised 57 democratic reform and government accountability measures in the law, and still haven't implemented one of the most important changes, the Public Appointments Commission, aimed at ending patronage and cronyism in Cabinet appointments. (To see Democracy Watch's December 2008 Second Report Card on the Conservatives' record, click here)

If the Conservatives wanted increased voter support, they should have kept their accountability and democratic reform promises instead of violating the public trust.

And if any federal political party wants to be more popular, all it has to do is introduce a blockbuster Accountability Act II, and make the sequel better than the original by including not only the 27 changes the Conservatives promised but failed to make, but also measures to close the dozens of other legal loopholes that currently allow everyone in the federal government to act dishonestly, unethically, secretively, unrepresentatively and wastefully. (To see the list of the 90 loopholes that remain in the federal government's accountability and democratic governance system, click here)

The key question is whether any federal political party leader wants to be a leader in the area of government accountability and democratic reform, or are they as committed to being a misleader as Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has proven himself to be.

Duff Conacher, Coordinator
Democracy Watch

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