Democracy Watch’s mandate, 20 Steps towards a Modern, Working Democracy 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. These changes include empowering Canadians as voters, citizens, taxpayers, consumers of information and services, and as shareholders of private and public wealth.
Started 7 petitions
Stop Fake Online Election Ads
Last year's U.S. presidential election was unfairly undermined by online social media ads containing fake news, lies about candidates, and other false claims. These ads were targeted at tens of millions of voters, and only those voters would see them in their Facebook and other social media feeds. As a result, election watchdog agencies could do nothing to stop these secret ads. False, secret social media ads will very likely mislead millions of voters in the next Canadian election -- unless they are effectively stopped! It is already illegal to make false claims about an election candidate, and to run an election ad that does not identify who paid for the ad. The Canada Elections Act also limits the amount lobby groups and individuals can spend on elections ads -- to stop wealthy interests from dominating election debates. But if those groups and individuals can advertise in secret on social media sites or with targeted ads on media sites, they can easily make false claims and spend much more than the legal limit without Elections Canada finding out. Please sign this petition calling on federal political party leaders to work together and pass a law to: require media and social media companies to report every election-related ad to Elections Canada during the six months leading up to an election so the ad can be reviewed to determine if it makes a clearly false claim; require media and social media companies to report to Elections Canada who placed and paid for each ad, and how much was spent on the ad, so Elections Canada can determine if the amount spent on the ad violates the legal limit (including the amount spent on having employees or contractors or bots share, like or retweet the ad); require the government to establish an independent committee (whose members are approved by the leader of every federal political party in the House of Commons) to conduct a public, merit-based search for the next Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Elections Canada, and to give a shortlist of nominees to the party leaders from which they all choose together one person as CEO; give the CEO the power to order clearly false, illegal ads be deleted from media and social media sites, and require the CEO to issue these orders within two days of receiving the information about each ad, and; give the CEO together with the Commissioner of Canada Elections the power to impose significant fines on media and social media companies and advertisers who violate the rules. Like media companies, social media companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter know who pays for each ad on their site, how much they spend, and what each ad says -- so they can easily report this information to Elections Canada. If the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Elections Canada is appointed after a merit-based searched with the unanimous approval of all party leaders in the House of Commons, the CEO will have the independence and impartiality needed to make fair rulings about whether election-related social media ads are true or clearly false, and to verify whether the amount spent on an ad is more than the legal limit. See details about the dangers of fake online election ads in the following recent articles: ‘Fake news 2.0’: A threat to Canada’s democracy (Globe and Mail, May 28, 2017) Facebook and Twitter are being used to manipulate public opinion in 9 countries (The Guardian, June 19, 2017) Hactivist groups ‘very likely’ to target 2019 federal election: CSE (Global News, June 16, 2017) Canada's spy agency expects cyberattacks during 2019 federal election (CBC News, June 16, 2017) Majority of Canadians can't spot fake news -- poll (Global News, May 26, 2017) Should Facebook tell you more about political ads? (Maclean's, May 9, 2017)
Stop Political Lapdog Appointments
In contrast to Britain's Prime Minister, the Prime Minister of Canada has the power to appoint whomever he wants to head up watchdog agencies that enforce key laws to protect our democracy and human rights, and to protect the environment, consumers and your family from being abused. More than 2,000 people are hand-picked by Canada's Prime Minister to head up these key watchdog agencies, with very few restrictions on whom he chooses. The Prime Minister even gets to choose the watchdogs who enforce the laws that require himself, and his Cabinet ministers and top government officials, to be honest, ethical, open and waste-preventing! As a result, Canada's Prime Minister can easily pick lapdogs to be the Ethics Commissioner, Auditor General, Chief Electoral Officer, Lobbying Commissioner, RCMP Commissioner, Information Commissioner, Parliamentary Budget Officer, and Integrity Commissioner. And the Prime Minister can pick lapdogs for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, National Energy Board, Immigration and Refugee Board, Competition Bureau, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, Transportation Safety Board, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and for many more key watchdog agencies. Those lapdogs can then protect the Prime Minister, his Cabinet ministers and government officials instead of strongly enforcing laws and holding them accountable for wrongdoing. This has to stop – unchecked political lapdog appointments that put unqualified people into powerful, important government jobs hurt our democracy, our environment and our families, and waste our money. And it can be stopped – the Ontario government has an independent committee to find qualified people to be appointed as judges for Ontario's courts. And Britain has an independent committee to find qualified people to be appointed as the heads of judges and all law enforcement and watchdog agencies, boards, commissions and tribunals. You can help stop political lapdog appointments by signing and sharing this petition which calls on the federal government to set up a fully independent appointments committee, like Ontario and Britain have, to ensure that qualified, non-partisan people are chosen to be strong watchdogs for all these key law enforcement agencies. Prime Minister Trudeau will choose several key government watchdogs in the next few months, and the Liberals are using exactly the same process to choose lapdogs as former Prime Minister Harper's Conservatives used. The pressure is increasing on Prime Minister Trudeau to set up an independent appointments committee to stop him from appointing political lapdogs. Your time to be heard is now -- please sign and share this petition with everyone you think may want to sign it. You can also help stop political lapdog appointments by your provincial government by clicking here now to send a letter to your Premier and provincial politician. See details about political lapdog appointments in the following recent news stories Toronto Star (May 23, 2017) -- Government shouldn’t choose watchdogs meant to hold it to account National Post (June 6, 2017) -- Trudeau Cabinet in conflict of interest when appointing ethics and lobbying watchdogs as both are investigating Trudeau Democracy Watch (May 17, 2017) -- Federal Liberals should suspend Ethics Commissioner, Lobbying Commissioner and other judicial and watchdog appointments until they make the appointment process independent and merit-based
Stop Bombardier and Reckless Big Business Handouts
Governments across Canada give tens of billions of dollars of your money in tax breaks, subsidies, grants and loans to profitable big businesses -- and they usually ask for nothing in return! The federal and Quebec Liberal governments handed Bombardier more than $1 billion -- with no conditions. So Bombardier's top executives decided to give themselves a $43.5 million pay raise -- while firing 14,000 Bombardier workers. The federal Conservatives did a secret bailout deal with US Steel/Stelco. The company shut down and tried to stop paying the pensions of former steelworkers. The federal Conservatives also bailed out Canada's big banks with a record $114 billion bailout in 2008-2009 (most of it by having CMHC purchase mortgages from the banks) -- with no conditions. Since then, the banks have hiked fees, fired thousands of employees, and outsourced thousands of jobs to people in other countries. The federal governmment hands billions to oil and gas companies and doesn't require them to reduce pollution or act responsibly, and has handed billions to Pratt & Whitney in the past in return for creating jobs that were never created (but the company kept the money). You can help stop these reckless handouts by signing and sharing this petition which calls on the federal government to change the terms of its loan to Bombardier to add the 7 conditions listed below, and to change the law so that in the future the government is only allowed to give support to big businesses in return for legally enforceable responsibility and accountability guarantees from those businesses to: create jobs in Canada and reduce outsourcing to other countries; pay fair wages to all employees and contractors; pay executives no more than a fair, justifiable salary; reduce pollution, abuse of employees and customers and all other wrongdoing; protect whistleblowers in their business who report wrongdoing; empower and include customers, workers, stakeholders and shareholders in their board decision-making processes, and; increase transparency so all their irresponsible and illegal actions are disclosed to the public in an online, searchable database. Given the Bombardier executive pay hike scandal, the pressure is on the federal government and party leaders to make these changes. Your time to be heard is now -- please sign and share this petition with everyone you think may want to sign it. See details about reckless handouts by governments to irresponsible big businesses in the following recent news stories: Globe and Mail (April 3, 2017) -- Opposition parties say Bombardier’s pay delay is not enough Democracy Watch (March 16, 2017) -- Will Liberals make key changes to stop gouging and abuse of 30 million bank consumers or continue protecting overpaid big bank executives? Financial Post (Feb. 16, 2017) -- Bombardier Inc's government loan won't be fully repaid for 15 years CBC.ca (Dec. 13, 2016) -- Steelworkers to Trudeau: Where are the feds on the Stelco deal?
Stop Bank Gouging and Abuse
Feeling gouged by your bank? You have a right to – while businesses in most sectors across Canada were suffering, Canada’s big 6 banks gouged out record annual profits of almost $35 billion in 2015 (which works out to almost $4 million in profit every hour, 5% higher than in 2014, and double their profits in 2010). The big banks also paid their CEOs about $10 million each in 2015, and gave them bonuses that totalled more than $10 million (51% higher than in 2008). In 2016, Canada’s big 6 banks continued to gouge you to hike their profits to more than $37 billion (6% higher than in 2015) – in part by firing thousands of people, cutting services, and hiking fees and credit card interest rates. And their profits in 2017 are headed even higher -- they have already made $20.6 billion in just 6 months. Canada’s big banks make the highest percentage profits of any comparable banks in the industrialized world while doing far too little to support job-creating businesses and community development across Canada. A recent CBC-TV news investigation detailed how TD Bank is pushing its employees to sell you products you don't need, and that you can't afford. In a recent report, the federal government points to all these problems -- including the fact that Canada's big banks control more than 90% of the banking market in the country, which makes them even more powerful and unaccountable to customers. But still the federal government continues to fail to require the banks serve everyone well at fair prices, and to require responsible lending and investing. The federal government even gave the banks a record $114 billion bailout in 2008-2009 (most of it by having CMHC purchase mortgages from the banks), and the federal government will likely bail out the banks again if they have any financial difficulties. The federal government is reviewing the banking law right now – please sign this petition calling on Prime Minister Trudeau and other federal party leaders to make key changes to require Canada’s big banks serve everyone fairly and well at fair prices, and to lend and invest in sustainable, responsible job-creating businesses and support community development. Your time to be heard and counted is now! See details about gouging and abuse by Canada's big banks in the following recent news stories: CBC.ca (March 16, 2017) Consumer advocates have low expectations for probe into Canada's 5 big banks Democracy Watch (March 16, 2017) - Will Liberals make key changes to stop gouging and abuse of 30 million bank consumers or continue protecting overpaid big bank executives? CBC (March 6, 2017) - Bank employees say their jobs depend on upselling customers products that can put them into debt Financial Post (March 2, 2017) - Big 6 bank profits top $10.5 billion for first quarter of 2017 CBC (March 1. 2017) - A pretty greedy time as profits soar for Canadian banks CBC (June 13, 2016) - Canada's major banks hiking fees while pulling in big profits And see details about the federal Finance Department's public consultation on Canada's financial sector in its Report for Public Consultation on Canada's Financial Sector
Protect Whistleblowers Who Protect Canadians
People have tried to protect you and your family by blowing the whistle on governments wasting billions of dollars, approving dangerous drugs, and covering up scandals, and by blowing the whistle on big businesses gouging you, selling you hazardous products, and covering up pollution and oil spills. These whistleblowers have been harassed, fired from their jobs, sued, silenced and hurt by governments and big businesses – all because Canadian whistleblower protection laws are weak and enforcement is negligently bad. The federal Liberals failed to include any promises to strengthen whistleblower protection in their 2015 election platform. The federal Conservatives did little to strengthen whistleblower protection from 2006 to 2015, and actually covered up scandals involving the Integrity Commissioner (who enforces the federal law). Other federal parties have done little to push for key changes, and provincial governments across Canada have failed to protect whistleblowers fully and effectively. The federal government is reviewing the whistleblower protection law right now – please sign this petition calling on Prime Minister Trudeau and other federal party leaders to make key changes to protect whistleblowers who protect you and your family. Your time to be heard and counted is now!
Stop Big Money in Federal Politics
Money to the Ref? We don’t allow that in the Olympics or hockey or baseball or other sports – but in federal Canadian politics it’s legal! Politicians are supposed to be the referees who decide what is in the public interest – so why would we allow big businesses, interest groups or wealthy people to buy them off with big money donations, including secret donations? The federal Liberal government has been caught up in a political fundraising scandal as the Globe and Mail reported recently that Prime Minister Trudeau and Liberal Cabinet ministers are holding dozens of high-priced, secretive, exclusive fundraising events. Big business executives and other wealthy people are paying up to $1,500 to meet behind closed doors with Prime Minister Trudeau and other Cabinet ministers. The federal Conservatives and the NDP have also held high-priced, exclusive events where donors pay to meet with their leaders. While donations to federal political parties and riding associations from corporations, unions and other organizations were banned in 2007, the ban is really a charade because instead corporate executives and wealthy individuals with connections to organizations continue to donate and be involved in fundraising events. The federal political parties are all resisting changes to stop big money donations. Please sign this petition calling on the federal parties to stop big money in Canadian federal politics by lowering the donation limit to $100 a year, and making other key changes – as Quebec did in 2013 to stop wealthy people and interest groups from using money as an undemocratic, unethical way of influencing politicians and parties. Please see background information at: Democracy Watch (October 25, 2016): Group files ethics complaint with federal Lobbying Commissioner about big business chairman assisting with fundraising event for Finance Minister while his business is lobbying the minister GlobalNews.ca (October 28, 2016): Liberal fundraisers being investigated by lobbying watchdog Globe and Mail (October 31, 2016): Donation stats indicate Liberal fundraisers are exclusive events
Stop Big Money in B.C. Politics
Money to the Ref? We don’t allow that in the Olympics or hockey or baseball or other sports – but in B.C. politics it’s legal! B.C.’s Liberal government have been caught up in a political fundraising scandal for the past several months after Premier Christy Clark was caught holding high-priced, secretive, exclusive fundraising events. Big business executives and other wealthy people are paying up to $20,000 to meet behind closed doors with Premier Clark and other Cabinet ministers. The B.C. NDP have also held high-priced, exclusive events where donors pay to meet with NDP leader John Horgan. B.C. has one of the most unethical and undemocratic political finance systems in Canada – it’s truly a best-government-money-can-buy system. Businesses, unions and other organizations, even foreign businesses and interest groups, can donate an unlimited amount to B.C. political parties and politicians. To their credit, the B.C. NDP and the B.C. Green Party have called for a ban on donations from corporations, unions and other organizations, and limits on donations from individuals, and as of September 2016 the B.C. Green Party only accepts donations from individuals. The B.C. NDP have also called for: a ban on partisan government advertising; a limit on pre-election spending by parties and candidates, and; a ban on parties paying their leaders a salary. However, even more changes are needed to stop the unethical and undemocratic influence of big money in B.C. politics. The B.C. Liberals are resisting any changes that would stop them receiving more of their money through big donations from big businesses and wealthy individuals. Please sign this petition calling on the B.C. parties to work together to stop big money in B.C. politics by banning donations from businesses and other organizations, lowering the donation limit to $100 a year, and making other key changes – as Quebec did in 2013 to stop wealthy people and interest groups from using money as an undemocratic, unethical way of influencing politicians and parties. Politicians are supposed to be the referees who decide what is in the public interest – so why would we allow big businesses, interest groups or wealthy people to buy them off with huge donations, including secret donations? The Globe and Mail revealed last spring that B.C.’s Liberal Premier Christy Clark, and her Cabinet ministers, and the opposition party leaders, were all holding high-priced, secret exclusive events where politicians sell access to themselves in return for a big donation. Despite the public outcry about these unethical fundraising events, the B.C. Liberals are resisting making any changes. The B.C. NDP and the B.C. Green Party have called for some changes but not enough to stop big money's influence in B.C. politics. Please see background information at: Democracy Watch (October 26, 2016): Democracy Watch challenges B.C. Conflict of Interest Commissioner’s ruling on Premier Clark’s high-priced, exclusive fundraising events CBC (April 1, 2016): Premiers' exclusive fundraisers violate conflict of interest rules, says Democracy Watch