Friday, 6 May 2011

Canadian government becoming more corrupt

Canada slips in anti-corruption rankings -

Canada has slipped from 11th to 19th of 100 countries assessed by the
world’s most comprehensive monitor of international government

Global Integrity, a Washington-based
research group, uses more than 300 indicators to measure accountability,
integrity and the democratic process.

Syria was at the bottom of the anti-corruption list with South Korea on top.

“There’s a continuing set of challenges that exist in the Canadian context around political financing, which are similar to the U.S. and Western Europe,” said Nathaniel Heller, the group’s managing director.

They include conflicts of interest and lack of safeguards over a number of government branches, he added. But “one surprising spot” was the “direct control the executive exerts over the courts through the appointment of senior judges, where there are very few of what we see as checks and balances.”

At least three Supreme Court judges will be retiring in the next four years, and new ones will be appointed by the Harper government.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper changed the appointment process in 2006 so nominees would face three hours of questions from an all-party committee of parliament. But the final decision remains with the prime minister.

Duff Conacher of Ottawa-based Democracy Watch, Global Integrity’s lead Canadian researcher, said that weak enforcement of the Federal Accountability Act was one of the main reasons for the drop in the rating this year.

Harper brought in the act in 2006 on a promise to create transparency in government.

With a strong majority now in parliament, he added, there is “little incentive” for the Tories to improve their record.

In its survey of 100 countries, the Global Integrity report took Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries to task for deepening corruption that may have fuelled the uprisings that flared across the region.

“What was striking, looking back over several years, was not only how bad things are now, but that they’ve actually been getting worse,” said Heller.

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