Saturday, April 9, 2011

Canada Receives a Failing Grade for Electoral Fairness

The FDA's Electoral Fairness Results for Canada:

1. Research and audit results for Canadian laws and regulations on the political content of media including newspapers, broadcasters, online media, before, during, and after elections.

2.3/10

2. Research and audit results for Canadian Laws and regulations on the equality of candidates and parties influence before, during and after elections.

1/10

3. Research and audit results for Canadian laws and regulations on electoral finance.

1/10

4. Research and audit results for laws and regulations on the equality of voter say before, during, and after an election.

6/10

Total score: 10.3/40

25.75%

Analysis:

Canada received an overall failing grade for electoral fairness of 25.75%. The score means that there is significantly more electoral unfairness in Canada than electoral fairness.

Canada's only passing grade of 60% is in equality of voter say. This score is an unacceptable level whereby there is prevalent inequality of voter say (despite more equality than inequality).

Canada's scores for electoral finance and equality of candidate and party influence are 10%. This score is bordering on fully unequal electoral finance and fully unequal candidate and party influence.

Canada's score of 23% for equality of political content of the media and broadcasters means that there is significantly more inequality of political content in the Canadian media than there is equality of political content.

Conclusion:

Canada's overall score of 25.75% for electoral fairness means that Canada's electoral system is significantly more unfair than fair.

In consideration of the research and findings, the source of the electoral unfairness is severe inequality in the media and severe favoring of candidates and parties which were successful in the previous election. The success in the previous election and control of the media are mutually reinforcing forces. It should be noted that in principal, a person who wins for example a marathon, is not given a significant head start in the next marathon simply because he won the previous. He starts at the same place as the other competitors. In Canada's electoral system, candidates and parties successful in the previous election are given inexplicably a very significant head start or advantage in the next election and throughout it.

In contrast to Egypt (under Mubarak) which received a 0% overall score for electoral fairness and Tunisia (under Ben Ali) which received a 10% overall score, Canada is from 15.75% to 25.75% better. Yet Canada is still significantly in the failing zone for electoral fairness. (A passing grade is 50%.) Moreover, in Egypt and Tunisia, the source of electoral unfairness stems from state control, whereas in Canada, the source of electoral unfairness stems from media dominance and favoring of dominant parties.

To put Canada's failing score into further perspective, Finland received an overall score of 40.75% for electoral fairness. This score means that the Finish electoral system is more unfair than fair, while Canada's electoral system, as mentioned, is significantly more unfair than fair.

The source of Canada's failing grade for electoral fairness stems likely from the fact that the majority of the Parliament determines the election rules, and the majority of Canada's parliamentarians have the support of Canada's mainstream media and broadcasters. Basically and inexplicably, the majority of Canada's federal politicians are making the rules of their own game. It is a self-perpetuating system favoring particular political parties who have the support of the mainstream media, in a never ending cycle of electoral unfairness.

Recommendations:

1. The majority of federal politicians cease to determine the federal election laws.

2. An independent, non-partisan citizen based committee made up of the diverse regions of Canada determine the federal election laws, and which must be consistent with the Canadian Constitution and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

3. The Canadian mainstream media and broadcasters three months prior to an election period and during it, are required to present an equality of non-partisan political content of all registered political parties.

4. No registered political party is given an unequal advantage prior to and during an election. All registered political parties begin an election from the same starting place in terms of finances and media access, and throughout the campaign.

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