Egalitarian democracy refers to a people's democracy based on liberty, political equality, and electoral fairness. Venezuela is an egalitarian democracy.
Freedom democracy refers a minority democracy based on liberty, whereby those individuals and organizations with the most power dominate society politically. Canada and the USA are freedom democracies. (Note, freedom alone does not produce people's democracies.)
The NDP's emphasis on proportional representation, if passed, will help the NDP get more votes in subsequent elections, and create a slightly fairer system.
However, the real issues in Canadian federal democracy are with electoral unfairness from the majority of MPs having the power to create and change election laws, gross inequality in the Canadian media, and gross inequality in campaign finance.
Unfortunately, the NDP is part of the Canadian political establishment which is undermining Canadian democracy and benefiting from electoral unfairness.
June 23, 2011
To the Foundation for Democratic Advancement,
Thank you for taking the time to write in support of electoral reform. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments.
Please be assured that New Democrats stand firmly in support of electoral reform to ensure that Parliament reflects the political preferences of Canadians. We have consistently called for changes to our first-past-the-post electoral system by combining it with a proportional representation system that more accurately reflects the political will and decisions of the voting public.
Most recently, this commitment was reinforced at the NDP convention, held over the weekend in Vancouver, where delegates debated and passed a resolution in support of electoral reform. It reads as follows:
5-06-11 Resolution on Support for Electoral Reform
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the federal New Democratic Party make electoral reform and proportional representation a priority issue within the next Parliament and in communities across Canada (NDP Convention Resolution - Adopted June 2011)
Moving forward, you can count on our team to continue to work on the issues we raised during the recent election, including working to fix Ottawa and make your vote count (http://www.ndp.ca/platform/fix-ottawa#section-7-3). We are aware that the Conservative's will be putting forward legislation dealing with seat redistribution in Parliament as well as Senate reform.
Please be assured that when these Bills come before Parliament our team will be studying them very carefully.
Again, thank you for writing. Please know that myself and my team of New Democrat MPs will continue to work hard to earn your confidence.
All the best,
Hon. Jack Layton, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Official Opposition
With the sweeping political unrest in the Middle East, two authoritarian regimes, Egypt and Tunisia have fallen, Libya is near fallen with western military assistance, and Yemen and Syria are teetering on falling, while other countries like Bahrain are suppressing political oppression.
The source of the Middle Eastern unrest must be attributed, fundamentally, to the authoritarian regimes, coupled with other factors such as economic and advanced social networking technology. In a democracy, a government not performing well would be replaced with another government, without uprooting the whole system.
In the Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA)’s global study on electoral fairness, the FDA auditors identified extreme electoral unfairness in Syria, Egypt (under Mubarak), and Tunisia (under Ben Ali), whereby the state through its laws and their enforcement has a firm control of the country—control of the media and the electoral process. FDA auditors gave Syria and Egypt 0% scores for electoral fairness, and Tunisia a 10% score.
In the FDA’s electoral fairness audit of the US federal electoral system, FDA auditors uncovered a similarity with the Middle Eastern countries—state control of the media and electoral process. However, the difference with the US electoral system and Middle Eastern electoral systems is that paradoxically, freedom is used to control the masses, whereas in the Middle East, restrictions on freedom is used.
In the United States, there are no restrictions on the political content of media and broadcasters (except for the public realm), and there are no private electoral spending limits, and public electoral funding favors the dominant parties. Through partisan major media and broadcasters and the unlimited private electoral spending whereby Obama’s electoral spending reached almost $800 million in 2008, a two-party system is perpetuated. The United State’s two-party system is a product of the United States’ electoral, media, and constitutional laws. Equally as important, in the United States there is a union of major media and broadcasters with government. This union which represents large core of power is choking US democracy by limiting public electoral choice and eliminating electoral success for small and new political parties.
On the hand, in the Middle East, the state controls through its unfair laws which center on state ideology and suppression of political opposition. On the other hand, in the United States, the state controls through freedom of speech within a union of major media with government and significantly unfair electoral laws. Both approaches, freedom and no freedom, amount to suppression and control of the people.
In the FDA electoral fairness study, FDA auditors reached consensus on a failing score of 30% for the US federal electoral system:
The FDA made five recommendations to improve US electoral fairness:
1) Reform the US Election Act and US Communications Act so that 3 months prior to a federal election, during a federal election, and 1 month after a federal election, the political content of all registered parties are equal in terms of non-partisanship, frequency, and depth in the US public and private media and broadcasters.
2) Reform the US Election Act so that all registered candidates and parties have equal campaign finances.
3) Reform the US Election Act so that all registered parties and their leaders have the same opportunity to participate in national debates.
4) Reform the US Election Act so that there is an equality of third-party electoral spending. (See the FDA’s 100% scoring for electoral fairness for details:
5) Reform the US Election Act so that the registration of federal political parties is based on member support equivalent to .5% of the voting population and a national party platform--regardless of ideology and as opposed to a special interest(s) or issue(s) platform.
Western military aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, and possibly Syria and Iran, may be an indication of desperation by Western governments and their backers to hold onto what they have.
Basically, western governments have dismissed the notion of law and liberty, and instead opted for survival of the strongest and mightiest.
The promotion of democracy and human rights has been a convenient, overused contradictory excuse for military aggression. The notion of western democracy has been tarnished.
As western governments face resistance to their aggression, like in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now in Libya, resources will be used up, creating more desperation.
Unfortunately, violence is being promoted as a way to resolve issues, to protect what one has, and to get what one wants.
Would a stable, prosperous country and civilization embark on aggressive and even radical foreign adventure?
The Harper Conservative government's elimination of political party's subsidies, as outlined in its budget proposal, will do little to address Canada's significant electoral unfairness.
The Canadian media has no restrictions on their political content, and the majority of the MPs decide the federal election laws. The union of major media and the federal government is choking Canadian democracy.
The elimination of party subsidies does not address the gross Canadian electoral finance unfairness. The end subsidies will hurt the Liberals, NDP, and Green Party, and thereby strengthen the Conservative's grip on Canadian democracy. (The Conservative Party through aggressive marketing techniques and being an incumbent with a strong party apparatus have an advantage over other parties.)
The Conservative democracy reform policies, from the 2011 election, fail to address severe electoral unfairness, which the Conservatives help create and who are benefiting from.
To learn more about electoral unfairness in Canada, read the FDA Report on Electoral Fairness in Canada:
2012 FDA Provincial Electoral Finance Audit Results
1. Québec (100%)
2. Manitoba (85.1%)
3. Nova Scotia (77.4%)
4. New Brunswick (72.1%)
5. Ontario (66.3%)
6. Newfoundland and Labrador (51.3%)
7. British Columbia (49.1%)
8. Saskatchewan (49%)
9. Prince Edward Island (48.4%)
10. Alberta (47.7%)
* The US Presidential Audit did not include an audit candidates' competencies and characteristics.
2008 Alberta Provincial Election Audit Ranking
1. Wildrose Alliance 63.5% (C) 2. AlbertaLiberals 63.2% (C) 3. Social Credit 49.3% (F) 4. PCAlberta 43.6% (F) 5. Separation Party 43.1% (F) 6. Alberta’s NDP 41.8% (F) 7. Communist Party 26.8% (F) 8. Alberta’s Greens 20% (F) 9. Alberta Party 17.1% (F)
* The FDA Alberta Provincial Audit only audited party's policies.
FDA Grade Scale
A+ Exceptional candidate and/or party (overall flawless and original policies and vision, impeccable incumbency record if applicable, exceptional competencies, characteristics, and background) (Grade greater than 84.99% and less than 100.1%)
A Outstanding candidate and/or party (overall very high standard for policies, vision, incumbency record (if applicable), competencies, characteristics, and background) (Grade greater than 79.99% and less than 85%)
B+ Very good candidate and/or party (overall high standard for policies, vision, incumbency record (if applicable), competencies, characteristics, and background) (Grade greater than 74.99% and less than 80%)
B Acceptable candidate and/or party (meets overall satisfactory standard for policies, vision, incumbency record (if applicable), competencies, characteristics, and background) (Grade greater than 69.99% and less than 75%)
C+ Unacceptable candidate and/or party (few deficiencies and/or major deficiencies in some of the following: policies, vision, incumbency record (if applicable), competencies, characteristics, and background) (Grade greater than 64.99% and less than 70%)
C Unacceptable candidate and/or party (several deficiencies and/or major deficiencies in some of the following: policies, vision, incumbency record (if applicable), competencies, characteristics, and background) (Grade greater than 59.99% and less than 65%)
D+ Unacceptable candidate and/or party (a lot of deficiencies and/or major deficiencies in some of the following: policies, vision, incumbency record (if applicable), competencies, characteristics, and background) (Grade greater than 54.99% and less than 60%)
D Unacceptable candidate and/or party (many deficiencies and/or major deficiencies in some of the following: policies, vision, incumbency record (if applicable), competencies, characteristics, and background) (Grade greater than 49.99% and less than 55%)
F Unacceptable candidate and/or party (numerous major deficiencies in most if not all of the following: policies, vision, incumbency record (if applicable), competencies, characteristics, and background) (Grade less than 50%)
The Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA) is an international independent, non-partisan democracy organization. The FDA’s mission is
to measure, study, and communicate the impact of government processes on a free and democratic society.
Overall, the FDA works
1. to ensure that people become more knowledgeable about the outcomes of government processes and can then make decisions that are more informed;
2. to get people involved in monitoring government processes at all levels of government and in providing sound, practical, and effective suggestions. (For more information on the FDA visit: www.democracychange.org)