The Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA) started in 2007 as a small group of concerned citizens about Canadian and global democracy. The group, led by Stephen Garvey, focused on holding political candidates and parties accountable during election periods, creating democratic standards, and raising public awareness on issues involving democracy. For examples,
- In 2008, the FDA evaluated the democratic implications of the referendum on Taiwan’s name before the United Nations. (FDA Report on the Taiwan Referendum)
- In 2008 the FDA did a comparative evaluation of the nine political parties in the 2008 Alberta Provincial Election. (FDA Report on Parties in the 2008 Alberta Election)
- In 2009, the FDA did a comparative evaluation of the three top presidential candidates in the 2009 Afghanistan Presidential Election. (FDA Report on the 2009 Afghanistan Presidential Candidates)
Move to Not-for-Profit Status
In 2009, the FDA was registered as an Albertan not-for-profit organization. This enabled the FDA to join non-profit/charity associations and be tax exempt on revenue. In 2013, the FDA was registered as a Canadian national not-for-profit organization. This new registration is more consistent with the national scope of the FDA’s work in Canada.
From Candidates to Electoral Systems and Government Processes
To ensure its non-partisanship, the FDA has shifted away from election audits on candidates and parties to electoral fairness audits on electoral systems. Recent examples include reports on the Canadian federal electoral system and the American federal electoral system, etc. In addition, the FDA has expanded its scope of research to include government process accountability including, for example, a process review of the Bingham Crossing Development application. Further, the FDA has created mechanisms for the public to share government process issues and which may result in FDA research on these issues.
Future of the FDA
In order to have more impact on Canada and its direction, the FDA formed a political arm named the Democratic Advancement Party of Canada (DAPC). The FDA provides policy recommendations to the DAPC and the public, and the DAPC is working towards implementation of the FDA’s values, principles, and policies. The FDA receives zero funding in any form from the DAPC.
Additionally, in July 2013, the FDA began work on the DAPC founding document, and completed the document in December 2013. The DAPC founding document will be voted on by the DAPC members as its constitution. This vote is expected to take place in the later part of 2014.