As organizers prepare to bring the Occupy Wall Street protests to the streets of Canadian cities this weekend, an Ottawa-based non-profit that has been fighting corporate malfeasance for nearly two decades is offering the nascent movement some guidance.
In a press release published this morning, Democracy Watch put forward 15 policy proposals that the group hopes the "Occupy Canada" protesters will support and adopt.
The measures focus include the creation of civilian watchdog agencies to oversee corporate activity in each economic sector, increased financial and legal penalties for corporate illegality, expanded protection for whistleblower employees, and a requirement that corporations must legally represent not only the interests of shareholders, but also those of their employees, customers, and society and the environment at large.
The entire list of proposals can be found here.
According to Duff Conacher, the founding director of Democracy Watch, the 15 measures have been endorsed by 140 groups affiliated with the organization. Together, the groups represent a combined membership of 3.5 million Canadians.
As media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street and associated protests has grown over the past two weeks, many have criticized the movement for lacking clear policy goals or demands.
Rather than "reinventing the wheel," Conacher urges the Occupy Canada protesters to adopt Democracy Watch's 15 "broadly endorsed" measures.
"If you want to be an effectivist as opposed to just an activist, you learn from history and you learn what effects change," he says. "What has been proven throughout history is that to be effective, you set out specific demands and then you corner the decision makers until they meet those demands or they lose their jobs."
Protests are scheduled to take place this Saturday in cities across Canada, including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Victoria.
The organizing committee for Occupy Vancouver could not be reached for comment on this story.
Ben Christopher reports for The Tyee