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Cleaning up and making governments and corporations more accountable to you,
and making Canada the world's leading democracy!

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20 Steps towards a Modern, Working Democracy

Democracy Watch's mandate, 20 Steps towards a Modern, Working Democracy (set out below) proposes changes that all governments in Canada should enact (according to their respective powers) to ensure that Canadian citizens have a greater and more meaningful role in government and corporate decision-making in Canada.

Democracy Watch's "20 Steps" mandate is based upon Democracy Watch's Definition of a Democratic Society.

You will see that most of the 20 steps below are "links".  By clicking on any of the "linked" steps you will be taken to the webpage for the Democracy Watch campaign that addresses that step.  If you want to see details about all of Democracy Watch's campaigns, go to the Campaigns page or the Action Alerts page.

Please note that due to lack of resources, and Democracy Watch's decision to focus on democratic reform issues that other groups are not already addressing, Democracy Watch does not work directly on the following issue areas that are key issues for a democratic society:

Steps to empower Canadians as voters:
1. Reform the electoral system to provide a more accurate representation in Parliament of the popular vote and regional interests.

2. Create mechanisms for citizens to hold their elected representatives accountable.

3. Reform the political party and election financing system to extend the principle of one person, one vote to spending during election campaigns.

4. Reform government policy development, legislative and administrative decision-making processes and create meaningful mechanisms for citizen participation.

5. Restrict and require full disclosure of the activities of lobbyists.

Steps to empower Canadians as citizens: 
Develop an active, practical civics curriculum that teaches Canadians the knowledge and skills needed to participate effectively in the political and legal system.

7. Increase access to justice for Canadians challenging corporate waste, fraud, abuse and misrepresentation.

8.  Increase accountability of the judiciary to the public. 

9. Amend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to explicitly exclude corporations from its protection, thereby reclaiming it as a Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

Steps to empower Canadians as taxpayers: 
Establish a simple checkoff on tax returns that invites taxpayers to become fee-paying members of their own national taxpayers association, which will audit government efficiency, spending and purchasing and will advocate for their interests.

11. Decrease the economic gap between elected officials and Canadians and increase ethical standards in government. (in addition to the Government Ethics Campaign, see also the Honesty in Politics Campaign)

12. Link public ownership of public assets with public control of these assets and set aside portions of the revenues collected from the private use of public assets (e.g. Crown land) to fund a citizen watchdog group that will monitor the use of these assets. (See #15 below for related campaign)

13. Recognize public ownership of the public airwaves and give Canadians direct access to TV and radio broadcasting. (See #15 below for related campaign)

Steps to empower Canadians as consumers of information and services:
Enable Canadians to obtain from the government, in an accessible form, timely and accurate information for which they have paid as taxpayers but are now unable to obtain.

15. Require financial institutions, insurance companies, TV cable companies, telephone, natural gas, hydro-electricity, water and sewage utilities, and other government institutions and businesses to include periodic inserts in their billing envelopes or other mailings that invite consumers to become fee-paying members of their own consumer associations which will act as watchdogs to negotiate and advocate for their interests.

Steps to empower Canadians as shareholders of private and public wealth:
Recognize worker ownership of pension funds and give workers greater control over pension assets (NOTE: Please contact the Canadian Labour Congress for information about this issue)

17. Recognize shareholder ownership of public corporations and create shareholder democracy by giving shareholders greater control over corporate decision-making.

18. Recognize that there are other "shareholders" of a corporation - for example, its employees, and members of the community in which it operates - and create mechanisms for these shareholders to participate in corporate decision-making and hold corporations accountable for their activities.

19. Require financial institutions, on a branch-by-branch basis, to disclose their amount of reinvestment into the surrounding community, and set minimum rates of reinvestment.

20. Encourage the creation of local currency systems to support community economic development and community service. (For example, the Time Bank system)

Please become a Supporter of democratic reform, government accountability and corporate responsibility in Canada