Canadian Federal Government Far From Owning
the Podium on Democracy and Government Accountability
Monday, March 1, 2010
OTTAWA - Today, at a public forum on Parliament Hill in Ottawa
organized by the Liberal Party of Canada, Democracy Watch called on all
federal political parties to undertake a similar effort as the Olympic
"Own the Podium" program to make Canada's federal government the most
democratic and accountable in the world.
According to the international organization Global
Integrity's New Annual
dropped from 10th to 11th out of the almost 100 countries
evaluated in the past few years (and will very likely drop to 15th to
20th position as Global Integrity evaluates more developed countries
around the world). The Report is the world's most
comprehensive, detailed assessment (using more than 300 indicators) of
national government accountability, integrity and democratic process.
"Canada's federal government
has significant loopholes in its democratic process and government
accountability systems when
compared to other countries, and has a lot of work to do to become the
world's leading democracy," said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of
Democracy Watch and Assistant to the Coordinator of the Democracy Education Network.
integrity continues to be undermined by loopholes that allow for
donations to some candidates and to political party trust funds, and
other loopholes that
allow for excessive government
secrecy including secret, unethical lobbying, and also undermined by
patronage appointments, arbitrary election calls and a flawed voting
system, lack of Prime Minister, judicial and
Senate accountability and
weak government accountability lapdog agencies."
"The good news is that if federal politicians pass another comprehensive Accountability Act, Canada can win the gold as the most democratic and accountable national government in the world," said Conacher.
Each national government is assessed by Global Integrity’s
experts by providing answers to Global Integrity’s more than 300
questions in its
Integrity Indicators Scorecard. The Scorecard is divided into six
categories (with 23 sub-categories in total), as follows: 1. Civil
Public Information and Media; 2. Elections; 3. Government
4. Administration and Civil Service; 5. Oversight and Regulation; 6.
and Rule of Law.
None of the national governments that have been assessed
since 2006 have received a "Very Strong" rating. In Canada,
increasing problems with government secrecy and
lack of enforcement of key government accountability laws, as well as
the arbitrary 2008 federal election call by Prime Minister Harper and
2009 and 2010 shutdowns of Parliament,
has put the federal government at the "Moderate"
As a result, of the national governments that have been assessed since 2006, Canada still ranks behind Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland and Romania, as well as Germany, Israel, Japan, Spain, South Korea and the U.S. (with Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland, South Korea and the U.S. comfortably at the "Strong" rating level, while Germany, Italy, Japan, Romania and Spain just barely made it into the "Strong" rating tier).
See for details:
Overall, while Canada's Legal Framework mark is 90%, its
Implementation mark is only 68% mainly because of an overall weak
government accountability law
In Global Integrity's six categories in its Integrity
Indicators Scorecard, Canada has its worst scores in categories (To
full report on Canada, click
[NOTE: See also Democracy Watch's 2009 Report
Card on the Federal Conservatives' Accountability and Democratic Reform
Record which details the federal Conservatives' 29 broken promises
in the loophole-filled, so-called "Federal Accountability Act" (FAA)
and other measures, which along with the inaction of past Liberal and
Conservative federal governments have failed to close the 90
undemocratic and accountability loopholes and flaws in the federal
and decision-making systems (To see a summary of the 90
[NOTE: See also Democracy Watch's Summer 2009 submissions
submissions to the Oliphant Inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair
-- the Inquiry's fact-finding and policy reports will be made public in
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For more information, contact:
Democracy Watch's Clean Up the System webpage