Tories, Grits, NDP Get ‘F’ on Democracy Watch Report Card

April 28, 2011 Updated: September 29, 2015

Democracy Watched released its Report Card on Federal Parties’ Good Government Platforms Thursday with only the Bloc Quebecois and Green Party scoring above an F.

The report card grades each party for its platform promises to increase government ethics and accountability.

The Green Party received the best grade with a B- while the Bloc scored a C-. The Conservatives, Liberals and NDP all received an F.

In releasing the grades, Democracy Watch noted that most parties failed to promise any changes to address citizen mistrust of the federal political process.

“All the federal parties except the Green Party have failed to respond to high voter concern about democracy and trust issues, but voters focused on these issues should still come to the polls and at least mark their ballot ‘none of the above’ to show their concern,” said Duff Conacher, coordinator of Democracy Watch.

“One can only hope that the parties will actually address these concerns when Parliament opens again so that everyone in federal politics will finally be effectively required to act honestly, ethically, openly, representatively, and to prevent waste.”

Conacher has long advocated for an honesty-in-politics law, arguing that without stiff penalties, many campaign promises will continue to be broken.

The report card graded the five parties on platform pledges that will require the federal government to act ethically and openly, and hold them to account if they do not.

Each party was graded on measures proposed by five national coalitions Democracy Watch coordinates, including the Government Ethics Coalition and the Open Government Coalition.

The coalitions include more than 140 citizen groups with membership exceeding three million Canadians. Those groups work on issues ranging from anti-poverty to bank accountability.

Democracy Watch used five criteria to grade each of five areas of governance, looking at issues such as accountability and evaluating it based on criteria like having empowered watchdog agencies to enforce laws.

If parties made a clear promise to implement a proposal based on needed improvements identified by Democracy Watch they scored and A on that item. Vague or partial promises scored a B. They got a C or D for vaguely promising to explore a proposal, an E for mentioning one, and an F for mentioning only the theme. If not even the theme was mentioned, they scored an I.

While the Greens did the best with specific pledges, the Liberals scored the worst in all five areas. The Conservatives fared only marginally better.

“The NDP had the most surprising result with an F grade, given that they have actually pushed for many democratic, ethics and government accountability reforms in the past (but they didn’t include them in their election platform for some bizarre reason, especially given that a focus of their campaign is to ‘Fix Ottawa’),” noted a Democracy Watch statement.

Parties scored best in promises addressing the Open Government Coalition’s push to improve the Access to Information Act, and worst for a lack of promises to address ethics in government, in which no party scored above a D-.

Democracy Watch issued report cards during the 2008, 2006, 2004 and 2000 federal
elections with the best scores previously achieved by the NDP (2008), Conservatives (2006), NDP (2004) and Bloc Quebecois (2000).

To view the full report card, visit www.dwatch.ca.