Global Integrity 2008 Report Drops Canada From "Strong" to "Moderate" Level in World's Most Detailed Assessment of Government Integrity and Democracy
Donations, Gifts and Lobbying Loopholes, Secrecy, Lack of Merit-Based Appointments Process, Arbitrary Election Calls, Lack of Judicial and Senate Accountability and Weak Enforcement Agencies the Key Problems with Canada's Federal Government
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
OTTAWA - Today, the international organization Global Integrity released its 2008 Report on the results of the world's most comprehensive, detailed assessment (using more than 300 indicators) of national government accountability and integrity (especially anti-corruption measures) in dozens of countries, including Canada. In total in the past few years, Global Integrity has assessed the national governments of more than 90 countries.
The Report details what it will take to build real democracy and create genuine stability around the globe, and is available on the Global Integrity website at: http://report.globalintegrity.org
Each national government is assessed by Global Integrity’s in-country experts by providing answers to Global Integrity’s more than 300 questions in its Integrity Indicators Scorecard. The Scorecard is divided into six categories (with 23 sub-categories in total), as follows: 1. Civil Society, Public Information and Media; 2. Elections; 3. Government Accountability; 4. Administration and Civil Service; 5. Oversight and Regulation; 6. Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law.
As in the 2007 Global Integrity Report, Duff Conacher, Assistant Coordinator of the Democracy Education Network and Coordinator of Democracy Watch, was the Lead Researcher for the section of the 2008 report on Canada.
Canada's federal government just barely maintained its top 10 ranking overall of the national governments that have been assessed since 2006, none of which received a "Very Strong" rating. However, because of increasing problems with government secrecy and lack of enforcement of key government accountability laws, as well as with the arbitrary 2008 federal election call by Prime Minister Harper, Canada dropped from the bottom of the group of governments with a "Strong" rating down to head the group of governments with a "Moderate" rating.
As a result, of the national governments that have been assessed since 2006, Canada still ranks behind Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland and Romania, as well as Germany, Israel, Japan, Spain, and the U.S. (with Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland and the U.S. comfortably at the "Strong" rating level, while Germany, Italy, Japan, Romania and Spain just barely made it into the "Strong" rating tier).
"Canada's federal government has significant loopholes in its government accountability system when compared to other countries, and has a lot of work to do to become the world's leading democracy," said Duff Conacher, Assistant to the Coordinator of the Democracy Education Network and Coordinator of Democracy Watch. "Government integrity continues to be undermined by loopholes that allow secret donations to some candidates and to political party trust funds, and allow for excessive government secrecy including secret, unethical lobbying, and undermined by Cabinet patronage appointments, arbitrary election calls, lack of judicial and Senate accountability and weak government accountability lapdog agencies."
Overall, while Canada's Legal Framework mark increased from 89% in 2007 to 90% in 2008 (as the Access to Information Act was expanded to cover 50 new government institutions and the new, stronger Lobbying Act came into force), its Implementation mark dropped from 70% to 68% mainly because of an overall weak government accountability law enforcement record.
As a result, Canada's overall mark dropped from 81% in 2007 to 80% in 2008, enough to drop it from the Strong level down to the Moderate level.
In Global Integrity's six categories in its Integrity Indicators Scorecard, Canada had its worst scores in categories (To see the full report on Canada, click here):
- 3. Government Accountability (Weak at 64% overall, especially in the sub-category of Judicial Accountability with a Very Weak Score of 31%);
- 4. Administration and Civil Service (Moderate at 76% overall, with a Weak score of 61% in the sub-category of Civil Service Regulations), and;
- 6. Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law (Moderate at 77% overall, with a Very Weak score of 58% in the sub-category of Law Enforcement).
Canada had its best scores in categories:
- 1. Civil Society, Public Information and Media (Strong at 87% overall, with a Very Strong mark of 92% for media freedom overall);
- 5. Oversight and Regulation (Strong at 87% overall, especially in the sub-category of national government auditing with a Very Strong mark of 94%), and;
- 2. Elections (Strong at 86% overall).
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For more information, contact:
Duff Conacher, Assistant to the Coordinator of the Democracy Education Network, and Coordinator of Democracy Watch
2008 Global Integrity Report