Fraser Institute Senior Fellows Preston Manning and
Mike Harris today unveiled a series of steps to address Canada's
democratic deficit and make it the best governed federation in
The proposals outlined in their third volume of the Canada Strong and Free
series of policy papers, Rebalanced & Revitalized
, include making government officials legally accountable for purposefully breaking the public trust, greater democratic
participation, and rebalanced federal/provincial powers.
"Canada as a nation was built on a vision of peace, order and
good government. Today we largely enjoy peace, we take pride in
order, but good government remains the exception not the rule,"
"It is time to make a break with the past," added Manning. "We
are proposing simple and long overdue measures that will
rebalance and revitalize the way we govern ourselves."
Specifically, Manning and Harris call for:
Revitalized government through increased transparency and
• A Canadian-style "Sarbanes-Oxley" act for government. Company
officials who break the trust of shareholders can suffer strong
legal penalties; government officials who break the public trust
should now know the law of the land applies to them as well.
• Develop and publish an annual Report Card on government to
grade government performance by measurable standards.
Revitalized democracy with increased participation and freer
• Create citizens assemblies and referendums to give the public
direct involvement in democratic reform.
• Revitalize our democracy with freer votes in Parliament and
legislatures so the people's representatives can better represent
the people who elect them.
Rebalanced Confederation to allow for greater flexibility and
• Full withdrawal of the federal government from provincial areas
of responsibility, particularly education, health care, welfare,
and child care, vacating equivalent tax room to the provinces.
• Invigoration of the Council of the Federation as a meeting
place to develop strong inter-provincial cooperation and
Rebalanced federal government checks and balances
• Utilize a democratically elected Senate and a reformed
committee structure in Parliament to monitor and check the power
of the Cabinet.
• Rehabilitate our Constitution's
so the people and their representatives can block overreaching by
A Canada Strong and Free
is published by the Fraser Institute, in cooperation with the
Montreal Economic Institute.