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News Release

Democracy Watch Marks First International Day of Democracy -- Calls on Political Parties Across Canada to Make Democratizing Changes

Monday, September 15, 2008

OTTAWA - Democracy Watch today marked the first United Nations International Day of Democracy by calling on political parties across Canada to work together to close the 90 undemocratic and accountability loopholes and flaws that effectively allow people involved in governments across Canada to act dishonestly, unethically, secretively, unrepresentatively and wastefully without any penalty (To see a summary list of the 90 loopholes, click here).

The results of the first assessment of Canada's federal government in 2007 by GlobalIntegrity.org, whose methodology for measuring government integrity and good governance practices has been called "best practice" by the World Bank and other international institutions, revealed the following about Canada's overall ranking and ranking in six categories:

  • Canada’s federal government ranked 8th out of the 55 national governments assessed (none of which received a "Very Strong" rating), behind Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania, as well as the U.S., Spain, Japan, Italy (with Bulgaria, the U.S. and Latvia comfortably in the "Strong" rating tier, while Spain, Japan, Italy, Romania and Canada just barely made it into the "Strong" rating tier);
  • Canada had its worst ranking in the Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law category (15th overall, worse than countries such as Jordan, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Romania, Latvia, Argentina, India, Vanuatu, Kenya and Ukraine);
  • Canada had its second worst ranking in the Government Accountability category (13th overall, worse than countries such as Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania, Malawi, Philippines, Peru, Pakistan and Colombia);
  • Canada had its best rankings in the categories of Elections (4th overall); Administration and Civil Service (6th overall); Oversight and Regulation (6th overall). and; Civil Society, Public Information and Media (8th overall) -- however, in all of these categories Canada had serious loopholes and flaws in its rules and enforcement record.

"Canadian politicans and wealthy interest groups continually try to convince us that our democracy is already world-leading, but in fact in many key areas Canada is worse than countries most Canadians view as banana republics," said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch.

As GlobalIntegrity.org adds more assessments of more countries each year, unless federal political parties take action to close the loopholes and flaws, it is very likely that Canada will drop in the rankings even further.

Provincial, territorial and municipal governments across Canada may have closed some of the loopholes that still exist in Canada's federal government, but they have also left loopholes open that the federal government has closed.  As a result, every government in Canada has about 90 undemocratic and accountability loopholes and flaws in its system (To see a summary list of the 90 loopholes, click here).

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Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179

Democracy Watch's Federal Election 2008 webpage

Democracy Watch's Clean Up the System webpage