We need a return to honesty and ethics to government. Relationships between constituents and their elected officials are characterised by distrust, and not without good reason. Both the federal and provincial governments have recently been embroiled in scandal. Money and influence flow to the friends of those in power. Millions are spent in misleading advertising that purposely misinforms Canadians to the benefit of the parties. The Albertan government has spent millions on their Keep Canada Working campaign that has knowingly exaggerated the job numbers submitted in the original pipeline proposal. How can they do this? Quite easily, in fact. The Canadian truth in advertising standards does not apply to political ads; numbers don’t need to be factually accurate. The Green Party will ensure that government advertising is held to the highest standards of accountability so that Canadians can have access to the information they need in order to make properly informed decisions.
Regulators in Canada are all too often beholden to the interests of those whom they are regulating. Whether it is the National Energy Board, Health Canada or the Canadian food inspection agency, public interests and public well being are, sadly, not the priority.
The Green Party will reform the appointment system to discourage “favours”. We will establish an independent agency to ensure appointments to government boards, tribunals, and regulatory bodies are formed purely on merit and credentials, not nepotism. The Accountability Act will be amended to ensure that government regulatory bodies do not include industry stakeholders or their lobbyists, and require the independence of all public sector employees that oversee industry. It is time to end the secrecy under which lobbyists often operate by ensuring that all lobbyist contact with politicians is reported and made publicly available.
Parliamentarians should be held to the highest standards posting all expenses online for public scrutiny. We will make the parliamentary code of ethics enforceable under the law. We will also ensure that MPs are not shackled to the party leader by allowing them to vote with their conscience and for the will of their own constituents, rather than being forced to vote as they are told.