New Democrat Response to Voices-Voix Letter

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April 1, 2011

Dear Voices-Voix Coalition,

Over the past five years, New Democrats have also become extremely concerned about the state of democracy and human rights in Canada. I am pleased to attach eight NDP pledges to restore the state of democracy and human rights in Canada.

New Democrats have consistently spoken out against the erosion of human rights and democratic principles in Canada whether it be the defunding of equality seeking and human rights organizations, contempt of parliament, or curtailing the powers of the Prime Minster.

I look forward to continuing to work with you towards restoring trust and confidence in our practices and institutions.


Jack Layton

Leader, Canada’s New Democrats


New Democrats pledge to:

Improve Canada’s Access to Information Act though a variety of measures that include increasing the powers of the Information Commissioner, speeding up the processing time of requests, allowing for online submission and retrieval of records and obliging public officials to create records necessary to their document decisions and actions.

Reinstate the mandatory long form census and ensure that questions on unpaid work activities are included in the census.

Restore funding for research and advocacy to advance women’s equality at home and abroad. The NDP would give Status of Women Canada a legislated mandate that would include research, advocacy and lobbying activities.

Support a public inquiry, led by an independent adjudicator with full powers to summon witnesses and documents, to get to the bottom of the human rights violations during the G8/G20 meetings in June 2010.

Recognize and respect the vital role, expertise, right to advocate, and necessary independence of civil society organizations. We will establish a transparent process for funding civil society organizations, based on fair standards and democratic principles. To maintain public trust and enhance the accountability of foreign aid, we will join the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

Strengthen human rights and democracy in Canada. We will address recommendations made by UN human rights bodies and consult with stakeholders in a transparent process to ensure that Canada has a robust human rights policy framework. We will also introduce an accountability package to restore democracy and transparency on Parliament Hill.

Review and strengthen policy and legislation to protect civil servants, watch dogs and other individuals to ensure no one is penalized for exposing, in the public interest, wrong-doing within the federal government.

Support the recommendations of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs’ report: “Rights & Democracy: Moving towards a stronger future”.


Note: This letter was sent by the New Democratic Party of Canada to the Voices-Voix coalition in response to our Letter to Party Leaders asking for 8 pledges to defend democracy and human rights in Canada. That letter can be read here.

 Photo: NDP Website