Reviving Good Government

Canadians believe in a participatory democracy in which they elect representatives to carry out the will of the people. They also demand a public sector that is capable and efficient in implementing these programs. But Canadians no longer feel they are in control of the democratic process and have lost confidence in those who claim to represent them. The Liberals promised to clean up government, yet Paul Martin continues to defend an ineffective lobbyist registration system, pushed aside government ethics monitoring and passed Bill C-11 legislation that has whistleblowers reporting back to the government. Canadians haven't been fooled. The Green Party's vision of reviving good government is to make federal institutions accountable and transparent, to set up checks and balances for politicians and public sector employees and to redistribute the power that is too often concentrated in the hands of the Prime Minister's Office and his cabinet. The Green Party offers Canadians a fresh and new direction. Most importantly, rather than piecemeal gestures, a fundamental principle of the Green Party is to plan for long term, integrated programs rather than focusing solely on the next election. Green Party MPs will work to:
  • Create a Government Accountability Act to ensure that all those who monitor government are selected at arms length from those they monitor, and to guarantee transparency and openness for all government activities.
  • Strengthen the mandates of Independent Officers of Parliament, including the Auditor General and the Information Commissioner.
  • Replace the current Ethics Commissioner, who reports privately to the Prime Minister, with an independent Ethics Commission who would report to Parliament appointed through a merit-based process with strong powers to investigate government officials and lobbyists.
  • Support effective whistle-blower protection for public and private sector employees.
  • Institute a code of conduct and independent complaints process to ensure that tax dollars are not used for pre-election partisan purposes.
  • Limit the amount of donations to candidates to no more than $1,000 annually from any donor, with the full identity of donors clearly disclosed.
  • Provide parliamentarians with independent regulatory audits on the effectiveness of government regulations in meeting their stated public purposes.
  • Institute mandatory training in ethics for MPs and their staffs and require all MPs and staff to take in-house training on the basics of good management and ethics in Parliament.
  • Make service improvements a higher priority for all agencies and departments, with systematic citizen feedback and a schedule for periodic program review.
  • Reinforce the political independence of public sector employees - especially scientists and professionals with responsibility for such areas as fisheries science and drug licensing.
  • Require long-term public departmental service plans to report on government program purposes, costs, reforms and performance.
  • Reform the appointments system to discourage patronage.
  • Strengthen the rules of conduct for lobbying. The Auditor General, in auditing these activities will determine if these rules are in the best interest of individual Canadians and make recommendations to the Attorney General where changes are needed so that lobbying does not unduly skew parliamentary decisions.