Democracy Watch releases “Report Card on 2011 Good Gov’t Election Platforms”

No 166, Posted by fw, April 28, 2011

“All the federal parties except the Green Party have failed to respond to high voter concern about democracy and trust issues, but voters focused on these issues should still come to the polls and at least mark their ballot “none of the above” to show their concern.  One can only hope that the parties will actually address these concerns when Parliament opens again so that everyone in federal politics will finally be effectively required to act honestly, ethically, openly, representatively and to prevent waste,” said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch, in an email release to all Democracy Watch donors.

The Report Card – which weighs in at a hefty 14,786 words — bases its grades on the platform pledges of the five main parties. Cutting right to the chase, here are the highlights:

  • The Green Party had the best overall grade of B- (mainly because they made many specific pledges), and the best grade in three of the five areas (the Efficient Government area, the Representative, Citizen-Driven Government area, and the General Government Accountability area);
  • The Bloc had the best grade in two of the five areas (the Honest, Ethical Government area, and the Open Government area);
  • The Liberals had the worst results, with an overall F grade, and the worst grades in all five areas, and the Conservatives were almost as bad;
  • The NDP had the most surprising result with an F grade, given that they have actually pushed for many democratic, ethics and government accountability reforms in the past (but they didn’t include them in their election platform for some bizarre reason, especially given that a focus of their campaign is to “Fix Ottawa”);
  • The strongest overall area grades for all the parties were in the Open Government area, with the Bloc the best with a A- grade (although, again, the NDP made no promises in this area);
  • The worst overall area grades for all the parties were in the Honest, Ethical Government area, in which none of the parties had better than a D- grade (which the Bloc received);
  • A main area in which all of the parties are weak is in empowering citizens and citizen groups to hold the federal government directly accountable, and;
  • All of the parties promise action to make Parliament work better.

Conacher concludes:

“Given the lack of a federal honesty in politics law, and the lack of a clear pledge by any of the parties to pass such a law, voters should be wary of trusting any political promises.”

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