A report released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research arm of The Economist newspaper has ranked Canada #6 in their Democracy Index 2018. The EIU released its first index in 2006 and has since been releasing reports annually.
The ranking was based on the electoral process, civil liberties, government function, political participation, and political culture. Each country was placed into four types of regimes based on their scores in these indicators.
The Democracy Index categorized countries as either full or flawed democracies, hybrid regimes or authoritarian regimes.
According to the report, only 4.5% of the world’s population lived under a full democracy, while 35.6% lived under authoritarian regimes, “with a large share represented by China”.
Disillusionment with democracy seemed to be a prevailing issue globally as the “functioning of government” was the lowest scored index.
The report also highlighted a decline in civil liberties worldwide and a rise in the preference for “strong arm” leadership as evident in Europe and South America.
“A rise of identity politics and of “strongman” leaders who have harnessed disillusionment with democracy in their countries to gain power poses a strong risk that the institutions of representative democracy will be weakened further,” reads the report.
Canada gets a 10/10 for civil liberties
Out of the 165 states ranked, Canada ranked 6th in the Democracy Index, just behind Denmark and New Zealand. While it’s North American neighbour, the United States ranked 25th, just behind Chile and Estonia, alongside other “flawed democracies”.
“Canada has scored consistently well in the Democracy Index, thanks to its history of stable, democratic government.”
Canada outscores the United Sates in all areas except for political participation where they are scored equally.
Since 2006, Canada has scored over 9/10 and placed in the top 10 rankings of the index. Canada’s lowest score was in 2006 and 2008 when its score was at 9.07. In 2016, after the election of Justin Trudeau, Canada’s score jumped from 9.08 to 9.15.
The United States ranks 25th as a “flawed democracy”
The United States dropped from a ranking of 8.05 after the election of Donald Trump to 7.98 in 2016.
“This primarily reflects a deterioration in the functioning of government category, as political polarisation has become more pronounced and public confidence in institutions has weakened. Public frustration with institutions has been brewing for years,” claims the report.
The report itself seems to blame the presidency of Donald Trump for a lot of the United States’ shortcomings in recent years.
The United States also received an especially low score in political culture, blaming U.S government internal conflicts.
China’s longstanding authoritarianism
China rose nine places in its ranking but largely due to the fact that other countries fell in their ranking.
According to the report, China has consistently ranked as an authoritarian regime.
China’s global rank was 130, only 35 places away from the least democratic country on the list: The Democratic Republic of Congo.
The one-party communist state received an unsurprising score of 0.00 in the elector process and pluralism score.
China also scored very poorly in its civil liberties, only receiving a score of 1.47.
This score is likely to fall after recent events regarding the imprisonment of Canadian nationals and revelations about mass internment camps for Muslims.
The world is growing tired with democracy
As trends suggest, the world is in an increasingly fickle relationship with democracy.
All indexes are continuing to fall world-wide, except for political participation which is on a steady rise.