Canada gains modest improvement in democracy score in 2019, while in 2019 the average global score fell from 5.48 in 2018 to 5.44. On a 0-10 scale stated in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2019 | a index started in 2006.
While the US, which fell below the threshold for a “full democracy” in 2016 owing to a further decline in public trust in US.
all text below the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2019, highlighting this blog.
Support for democracy remains firm in Canada, despite political fragmentation Canada has scored consistently well in the Democracy Index, thanks to its history of stable, democratic government. Canada has always ranked among the top ten countries; it slipped one place to seventh place in the 2019 ranking, but this was due to improvements in other countries.
Of the index’s five categories,
Canada scores particularly highly for the electoral process and pluralism (9.58)
and the functioning of government (9.64) categories,
as well as for civil liberties (9.71).
The Canadian state actively promotes religious tolerance, which is important given Canada’s large French-speaking and native minorities. Although some tensions remain, government and businesses regularly seek permission from First Nations communities for land and natural resource development projects. All Canadians enjoy equality under the law.
Canada maintains a democratic advantage vis-à-vis the US in a number of areas. Federal and provincial governments compete over the allocation of resources, most recently over the nationalisation of a crude-oil pipeline project in western Canada.
Nonetheless, federal-provincial tensions have eased in recent years as the separatist threat from French-speaking Quebec has receded. A new conservative party, Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), was swept to power in the 2018 provincial elections on promises to remain within Canada, which has all but eliminated secessionist concerns.
Canada receives a higher score than the US on several indicators,
including political power
and the influence of interest groups.
Canada’s score for political culture improved in the 2019 rankings, as voter turnout remained reasonably high in the 2019 federal elections, at 66%, despite rising public frustration with political parties.
The reputation of the prime minister and leader of the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau, was tarnished by a political influence scandal in 2019, while the leader of the opposition Conservatives, Andrew Scheer, resigned in late 2019 after failing to connect with voters. Despite this, Canadians’ attachment to the democratic process remains firm. There is scope for improvement in political participation, as disengagement from politics is evident, although this is a problem shared by many developed nations.
Disengagement finds expression in relatively poor voter turnout, low membership of political parties and a general lack of political engagement by international standards. Canada scores poorly here, at 7.78, which is on a par with the US, Australia and Switzerland but behind many of its other peers in western Europe.
Canada’s score for civil liberties declined slightly in the 2019 index, reflecting its Holocaust denial, hate speech and libel laws, which impair the country’s strong tradition of support for freedom of speech. However, Canada’s score remains near-perfect, and above that of the US, in the civil liberties category.
How the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2019 defines Full and Flawed democracies.
Full democracies: Countries in which not only basic political freedoms and civil liberties are respected, but which also tend to be underpinned by a political culture conducive to the flourishing of democracy. The functioning of government is satisfactory. Media are independent and diverse. There is an effective system of checks and balances. The judiciary is independent and judicial decisions are enforced. There are only limited problems in the functioning of democracies.
Flawed democracies: These countries also have free and fair elections and, even if there are problems (such as infringements on media freedom), basic civil liberties are respected. However, there are significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation.