Canada 150: Exploring the State of Democracy

Over a relatively short period of time, Canada has become recognized worldwide as an exemplary democratic society that highly values the accommodation of diversity, the protection of rights and freedoms, and the continuous enhancement of the welfare of its citizens.


In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday and its many inspiring democratic achievements, we will be broadly “Exploring the State of Democracy”. We feel that this is a timely moment in our history to take stock of how far we have come as a democracy and to “think out loud” about how our system of politics might progress and evolve in the future. For future generations, this sesquicentennial will surely mark an important reference point in time.


In an attempt to fuel our proposed thematic exploration, and in addition to a series of workshops and events hosted by the Workshops on Social Science Research (WSSR), we are putting together a special publication project, to be published by McGill-Queen's University Press in 2019, which includes brief written notes or comments from most of our WSSR guest speakers, as well as other prominent political leaders and experts on politics and democracy. From a variety of unique vantage points, each of these contributions will address this very important topic of “Exploring the State of Democracy”.


In this volume, each of our contributors will structure their remarks as responses to the following 3 sets of questions:

  1. What do you think about the current state of democracy? Are democracies really democratic? For example:

    • How democratically do you think democracies are being governed today? (Using a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 means "not at all democratic" and 10 means "completely democratic", how might you respond?)

    • Do you think that democracies are governed more or less democratically today than in the past?

    • Do you think that some democracies are governed more or less democratically than others?

  2. Why do you feel the way you do? Please expand on your viewpoint from your own unique vantage point. Feel free to include any evidence or support you see as being relevant.

  3. In conclusion, what in your opinion is the best present that we could give a democracy like Canada on the occasion of its 150th birthday? How do you think your gift might be received?

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