[Democracy Watch Logo] [Op-ed]

Prime Minister Harper misleads Canadians again -- Conservatives broke most of their democratic reform and government accountability promises

Set out below is a letter-to-the-editor by Democracy Watch Coordinator Duff Conacher which was published in the January 25, 2011 issue of the Ottawa Citizen, the January 27, 2011 issue of the New Brunswick Times and Transcript, and in the February 7, 2011 issue of the Hill Times

Prime Minister Harper's claim that the Conservatives have "delivered" what they promised five years ago is as misleading as the promises were.

The Conservatives promised a Federal Accountability Act that would strengthen good government rules in 55 ways, but introduced an Act in April 2006 with only 29 changes.  The Conservatives also rejected more than 20 changes to strengthen the FAA proposed by the opposition parties in 2006.

The FAA also weakened government accountability by cutting eight key ethics rules, and the Conservatives also broke their promises to fix election dates, hold free votes on most issues, stop appointing election candidates, and stop appointing party supporters to the Senate and other positions.

As a result, as several scandals have revealed in the past few years, dishonesty, secret, unethical donations and lobbying, patronage and cronyism, unfair snap elections, wasteful spending, and excessive government secrecy are all still legal.

So another, stronger Federal Accountability Act is clearly needed to close the dozens of loopholes left open by the first FAA.  The question remains, which party will finally deliver the good government promised to Canadians in the Constitution 144 years ago?

For more details, go to Democracy Watch's Report Card on the Conservatives' accountability and democratic reform record, and to the Clean Up the System page