2007 Federal Public Consultations on Democratic Reform

In 2007, the Canadian federal government undertook a public consultation on democratic reform.  This consultation addressed five main areas:  the role of the citizen in democracy, the House of Commons, the Senate, political parties and the electoral system.

The consultation process the government used was critiqued from across the political spectrum.  For example, see critiques by Democracy Watch, NDP Democratic Reform Critic Catherine Bell, and the Globe and Mail’s columnist John Ibbitson (cited by blogger IdealisticPragmatist)  The consultation was also described without significant comment in the 2009 text, Canadian Politics, by James Bickerton.

The consultation summary, along with the full report, appendices and participant guide, is available on the Government of Canada’s Democratic Reform website.  One brief excerpt from the summary follows:

“Most forum participants believed that governments do not consult people regularly and felt that consultation was often not genuine. As remedies for encouraging public engagement in the democratic process, forum participants tended to recommend better, more respectful consultation and stronger civics education to give young people a greater appreciation of our system. A desire for stronger civics education emerged spontaneously in discussions of all topics.  The survey data revealed exceptionally high levels of interest in more government consultation.”

Click on the links below for selected documents: