[Democracy Watch Logo] [Op-ed]

Canada only 14th out of 34 countries in OECD Governance rankings

Set out below is a letter-to-the-editor by Democracy Watch Coordinator Duff Conacher which was published on May 24, 2011 on TheTyee.ca website, in the May 26, 2011 edition of the Toronto Star, and in the June 6, 2011 edition of the Hill Times

As usual in reporting such general indices as the OECD's Better Life Initiative rankings, problem areas in various countries get covered up by the overall scores.

Many people will likely be surprised that Canada ranks only 14th out of the 34 OECD countries in governance, the lowest ranking it received in the 11 categories scored by the OECD.

The OECD used very only three indicators in its scoring system for governance, and Canada's low voter turnout rate and level of secrecy in government -- including lack of privacy protection for people who request information from government, and lack of whistleblower protection -- caused Canada's low overall governance rating

In the most comprehensive evaluation of Canada's federal government integrity and level of democracy ever completed, Global Integrity's 2010 Report which used 320 indicators, Canada ranked 19th out of 100 countries (a drop from 11th place in 2008).   Canada's main problem areas were lack of effective ethics rules for everyone involved in politics, patronage and cronyism in appointments, and weak enforcement of all good government rules.

Clearly, all indicators point to the need for many changes to make Canada's government more open, honest, ethical and representative.  And provincial, territorial and municipal government across Canada are plagued by similar problems and in need of similar good government changes.

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