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Democracy Watch's blog
Democracy Watch sets out news, opinion, analysis and proposals for change from Democracy Watch, Canada's leading democratic reform, good government and corporate responsibility organization.
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Some politicians and commentators have recently made proposals that won't stop big money from corrupting Canadian politics.
The most questionable claim is that the federal law is the best model. While the federal government banned corporate and union donations in 2007, its $3,050 annual donation limit for individuals ($1,525 to a party and the same amount to its riding associations) is much more than an average Canadian can afford.
Conservative MPs recently had an historic, unprecedented chance to throw off their chains and empower themselves and all MPs, and political party riding associations, to represent voters. A House Committee was reviewing Bill C-586, known as the Reform Act, which takes away many party leader powers (as a majority of voters want).
Instead, the Conservative MPs (who hold a majority of seats on the Committee) changed the bill into the "Hope for Reform Act" by taking out clear restrictions and replacing them with measures that allow MPs and parties to choose if they want to restrict any of their party leader's powers.
Will the House Committee strengthen the Reform Act as most Canadians want, or will it weaken it into a "Hope for Reform Act?"
As the Procedure and House Affairs Committee reviews the Reform Act (Bill C-586) this week, Democracy Watch is calling for measures that restrict the powers of party leaders and free and empower MPs in key, reasonable ways, as a majority of Canadians want.
Very unfortunately, there are signs the Committee may instead bend over to please party leaders by weakening the bill so much that it’s name should be changed to the "Hope for Reform Act."
The federal Conservatives are finally backing off on some of the measures in their proposed so-called "Fair Elections Act" (Bill C-23). Minister for Democratic Reform Poilievre is trying to claim he has listened with an open mind, but this is yet another misleading spin statement from him about the bill.
The truth is much more that playing games with democratic voting issues was hurting the Conservatives with their soft supporters, and with swing voters, and they realized they would only recover by compromising.
Today, Democracy Watch has filed a complaint letter with federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson requesting that she launch an inquiry into former Conservative Cabinet minister Chuck Strahl’s activities as the Chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) since June 2012, and his work with Enbridge and other clients since he left Cabinet in May 2011.
Claims, counterclaims, spin, counterspin -- what's a person interested in truth and justice in the Senate scandal supposed to do? Here's how to ensure all the evidence comes out about the Senate scandals, and all wrongdoers are held accountable, and this kind of mess can't happen again.
The first problem is that the various senator's cases are currently in the hands of the RCMP, and also the Commissioner of Canada Elections (concerning Senator Duffy and Senator Wallin's election campaign activities for the Conservatives).
Democracy Watch announced today that it will file complaints with every provincial and territorial ethics/integrity commissioner about the benefits every premier is receiving from various corporations who are sponsoring the Council of the Federation meeting, and will also ask the police to investigate as the premiers are directly selling access to themselves at the meeting, given the Criminal Code anti-bribery measures.
Today, Democracy Watch called for transparency in the Wright-Duffy situation in order to ensure that Canadians can be confident that those making decisions relating to charges and prosecution are fully independent and cannot be influenced by the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister’s Office, or any federal politician.
The RCMP recently revealed that the Prime Minister’s former Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, gave Senator Mike Duffy $90,000 in return for two things, which means that it is fair to say that Wright should be charged and prosecuted for bribing Senator Duffy, and Senator Duffy for taking the bribe.
A country’s Head of State is not just a hollow symbol of old history. The person represents the people of a country -- their values and common purpose, their sense of unity, their loyalty to each other and their national pride.
A survey of more than 2,000 Canadians conducted by Harris-Decima in February 2013 found that a majority of Canadians (55%) want to change to a democratically chosen Canadian Head of State, while only 34% want to continue with a member of the British royal family.
Justin Trudeau's speaking fees affair, and the Senate and MP expense and ethics scandals, all reveal how negligent federal politicians have been in establishing strong, clear rules for their jobs and ethics. And as many other ongoing scandals reveal, politicians across Canada have been equally negligent.