Watchdogs

Loyalty Oaths and the Public Service

Since 2012, the federal government has instituted a series of legislative and policy changes that threatened the freedom of expression guaranteed to members of the public service, both through their Charter rights as Canadians but also through decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Marc Mayrand

Marc Mayrand

Marc Mayrand was pressured by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to interpret a law so as to prevent people from voting if they were wearing a veil, despite the fact that the law made no reference to such a prohibition and that the Chief Electoral Officer's power to modify the law is limited to e

Elections Canada

Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand was appointed Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Canada on February 21, 2007. The Conservative government and Elections Canada under Marc Mayrand have clashed on a number of issues in recent years. These issues have led to attacks on the credibility of Elections Canada, resulting in two federal court cases.

Deanna Allen

Deanna Allen was fired as Vice President of Communications for the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) in February 2008 “without cause.” However, Allen had been a strong defender of the CWB's monopoly on marketing wheat and barley.

Munir Sheikh

Munir Sheikh

In the summer of 2010, Munir Sheikh resigned as the head of Statistics Canada, claiming that Industry Minister Tony Clement had misrepresented Sheikh’s and Statistics Canada’s position on the mandatory long-form census.

Access to Information

Access to Information

19 January 2017 - UPDATE - The Liberal election platform promised to make substantial changes to the Access to Information Act to modernize the process by making it cheaper, more accessible, and broader in scope. The changes that have been made thus far can be viewed as tiny first steps.

Federal Judicial Appointments

Chambers of the Supreme Court of Canada

An independent and impartial judiciary is a cornerstone of Canada’s constitutional democracy. However, the past decade has seen trends towards political judicial appointments and opaque appointments processes that threaten to undermine the judiciary’s role as protector of the rule of law and facilitator of a robust and diverse Canadian democracy.

Voices-Voix

Voices-Voix logo

Since 2010, Voices-Voix has been documenting the federal government’s treatment of civil society groups, Indigenous organizations, public institutions, and science.

On June 16, 2015 Voices-Voix released a report synthesizing more than 100 case studies, entitled Dismantling Democracy: Stifling debate and dissent in Canada. The report received widespread public attention and was raised by Liberal and NDP MPs in the House. Conservative Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney responded by alleging that Voices-Voix “supports a terrorist group.”

Voices-Voix itself now joins a list of more than 30 groups and individuals targeted by similar official government statements designed to publicly vilify and smear those who express their right to dissent in Canada.

PEN Canada

Since January 2013 PEN Canada has filed four access to information (ATI) requests in an effort to understand how the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) interprets the prohibition on “partisan political activity” set forth in ss.

Edgar Schmidt

Edgar Schmidt

In December 2012, Edgar Schmidt sued Harper’s Conservative government for failing to take adequate steps to verify whether proposed bills violate the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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