ISSUE: Strengthening the Federal Corporate Responsibility and Bank Accountability Systems
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No matter what issue or problem in Canada concerns you, making the largest corporations and banks in Canada more responsible and accountable will help win the changes and solutions you are seeking.
A total of 155,000 corporations and 40 banks that the federal government regulates are not effectively required to act honestly, ethically, openly, responsibly or to prevent waste.
Incredibly, the laws and enforcement of parking a car illegally are stronger than most corporate responsibility and bank accountability laws and enforcement systems in Canada, and in some cases the penalties for parking illegally are higher than for corporate executives who act dishonestly, unethically, secretively, irresponsibly or wastefully!
No federal political party has focused on Canada's corporate responsibility system in the past 140 years. Most recently, the federal Liberals had majority power from November 1993 to June 2004, and then after the June 2004 election controlled a minority of seats in Parliament, and then the federal Conservatives have controlled a minority of seats in Parliament since the January 2006 election until they won a majority in the spring 2011 election.
The federal Liberals did not do nearly enough between
1993 and 2004 to ensure that Canada's largest corporations
and banks are effectively required to act honestly,
ethically, openly, representatively or to prevent waste,
and the federal Conservatives have also not done enough
since January 2006.
In fact, the federal Conservatives used the public's
money through the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation to
bail out Canada's big banks by buying $70 billion of home
mortgages from the banks, and also used the Bank of Canada
and other subsidy programs to help the banks, for a total
of almost $200 billion in subsidies in 2009 -- yet
not require anything from the banks in return.
And while the federal New Democratic Party (NDP), the
Bloc Québecois Party, and the Green Party have
focused more than the Liberals and Conservatives on
strengthening the federal corporate responsibility and
bank accountability systems, they have also not made these
changes a top priority issue.
Canada's largest 1,000 corporations spend more than $25 billion annually on their lobbying and promotion efforts (advertising etc.), including on about 10,000 full-time lobbyists across the country. In contrast, there are only about 500 full-time citizen group lobbyists, and citizen groups spend only about $50 million annually on lobbying and promotion. As a result, Canadians must all work together and push hard if there is any hope to counter the corporate lobby and win key corporate responsibility changes.
There are many key corporate responsibility and bank accountability measures that are under ongoing review by the Canadian federal government. No matter what issue or problem concerns you, strengthening the federal corporate responsibility and bank acountability systems will help you win the changes and solutions you are pushing for.
The federal Bank Act and Insurance Companies Act are under an ongoing review by the federal government, with changes planned for 2012.
The federal Canada Business Corporations Act, under which 155,000 of Canada's largest corporations operate (including half of the largest 500 corporations), is also under an ongoing review by the federal government.
And, all of the federal political parties have an ongoing review of priority issues and proposals they can make for changes now, or in their next election platforms.
For all of these reasons, now is a key time to send a strong message to the leaders of all the federal political parties that you are fed up with the dishonest, unethical, secretive, unrepresentative, and wasteful actions of corporate and bank executives and you want key changes to make everyone involved in Canada's large corporations and banks act honestly, ethically, openly, responsibly and to prevent waste.
On corporate and bank honesty, ethics, openness,
responsibility and waste prevention reforms, the federal
government has not heard from citizens or citizen groups
enough to counter the power of corporate lobby
groups. It is important that you let the government
know that you want significant corporate responsibility
Canada's biggest corporations spend more than $25 billion annually on their lobbying and promotion efforts (advertising etc.), including on about 10,000 full-time lobbyists across the country. In contrast, there are only about 500 full-time citizen group lobbyists, and citizen groups spend only about $50 million annually on lobbying and promotion. As a result, Canadians must all work together and push hard if there is any hope to counter the corporate lobby and win key corporate responsibility changes..
Democracy Watch coordinates the Corporate Responsibility Coalition, made up of 31 groups from across Canada representing over 3.5 million Canadians, which pushes the federal government to strengthen corporate responsibility in Canada as part of Democracy Watch's Corporate Responsibility Campaign.
Democracy Watch also coordinates the Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition, made up of 100 groups from across Canada representing over 3.5 million Canadians, which pushes the federal government to strengthen bank accountability in Canada as part of Democracy Watch's Bank Accountability Campaign.
Democracy Watch also has a Citizen Association Campaign, which pushes federal and provincial governments to use an innovative method for creating broad-based, well-resourced, citizen-funded and citizen-run associations to act as watchdogs over many corporate sectors. Both the Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition and the Corporate Responsibility Coalition propose that creating such watchdog groups is a key step to increasing corporate responsibility and bank accountability in Canada.
PLEASE SEND A LETTER to all the federal political party leaders right now calling for key corporate responsibility and bank accountability changes.
The SAMPLE LETTER set out below provides a detailed list of changes -- all of which Democracy Watch and the 2 nation-wide coalitions Democracy Watch coordinates are pushing for to make Canada's largest corporations and banks responsible and accountable in key ways. You can easily pick and choose from among the list of changes to highlight the ones you think are most important, or send a letter demanding that all of the changes be implemented by the federal political parties.
To be most effective, please use the SAMPLE LETTER only as a model for writing your own letter, and please note that sending a letter by mail or fax is much more effective than sending an email.
The federal government's bank accountability and corporate responsibility enforcement system is the real scandal because for more than 140 years it has allowed Canada's big banks and corporations and executives to act dishonestly, unethically, secretively, non-representatively and wastefully.
Either laws and rules don't exist or are full of loopholes, or enforcement and penalties are too weak to prevent wrongdoing and penalize wrongdoers effectively.
Incredibly, the laws against illegal parking in Canada are enforced more strongly and effectively than key bank accountability and corporate responsibility laws and rules, and in some cases the penalties for parking illegally are higher than for corporate wrongdoing!
The problem is undeniable, as dozens of banking and corporate wrongdoing scandals have occurred over the past decade.
If the bank accountability and corporate responsibility system is not strengthened in key ways, corporations will continue to get away with abuse of customers, communities, the environment and shareholders.
I will not vote for you or any of your party's representatives if you do not promise in writing to resign if you do not do everything you can to make the following changes within one year after the next federal election (as you will see, the following changes are comprehensive and detailed, because incomplete half-measures will clearly not do enough to strengthen bank accountability and corporate responsibility in Canada and make corporations effectively accountable.
Here are the 15 detailed changes I want you to make to strengthen the corporate responsibilty and bank accountability system in Canada:
Key General Corporate Responsibility Changes
Key Bank Accountability Changes
Please let me know in detail by reply letter whether you will commit to doing everything you can to make these changes before the next election, and whether you will commit to resigning if you do not do everything you can to make these changes within one year after the next election. Again, your party will not have any chance of receiving my vote unless you make these commitments in writing.
I'm counting on you to prove you are a political leader by doing all you can to ensure that the changes set out above are made within the next two years, to finally put an end to dishonest, unethical, secretive, irresponsible and wasteful "business as usual" in Canada.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
SEND YOUR LETTER BY MAIL calling for key federal
corporate responsibility and bank accountability changes
House of Commons
OR send your letter by email to all the federal
party leaders and key MPs and senators by copying the
following email addresses:
Provincial governments have a similar list of 100 loopholes in their good government laws, and to find the addresses of your provincial politicians to send a letter calling on them to close the loopholes, click here.
TO SEND your letter by fax or email individually
to federal politicians:
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae
NDP Party Leader Thomas Mulcair
PLEASE ALSO SEND a copy of your letter by email to
Democracy Watch at: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thank you for participating in the DemocratizACTION Network
Updated April 17, 2012
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