Participating in Democracy

Democratic participation is highlighted around election time, yet the opportunity to engage in the democratic process exists year-round.

Citizens are entitled to voice their concerns and to have these concerns heard. As people of faith, we recognize that the tools of democracy allow us to care for the needs of our neighbours.

To be active and engaged citizens, we should remain informed about policy developments by staying up-to-date with news, contacting leaders in government about topics of concern, and engaging respectfully with those in our communities – especially with those who hold differing views from our own.

Along with our benefits as citizens is the responsibility to leverage our positions so that the interests of the marginalized are considered and upheld. It’s also our responsibility to make sure we are tuned-in to current events throughout the year so that we can discern fact from fiction and be informed voters come election day.

 

Ensuring a Voice for All

Healthy democracies require strong participation alongside solid representation. In our current first-past-the-post system, not all the votes that are cast are reflected in the political breakdown of elected representatives.

Although the call for electoral reform created momentum for change in the 2015 federal election, little movement has been made to strengthen the integrity of Canada’s democracy.

ASK FEDERAL CANDIDATES:

    • If elected, are you prepared to move forward on proportional representation?

Learn More: To read more about electoral reform, visit Samara Canada

Upholding Fair and Considered Policy Making

To develop public policies, adequate time, consideration, and public consultation must be undertaken to maintain democratic integrity.

Despite this, concurrent governments have continued to pass bills with multiple policy changes, known as omnibus bills. These changes often lack the necessary consideration of public interest. Elected officials must know that voters expect better.

We need thought-out policymaking processes that implement true public dialogue.

ASK FEDERAL CANDIDATES:

    • How do you plan to ensure that public policy changes receive adequate parliamentary consideration and study?
3-Maintaining Trust

Maintaining Trust

Widespread misinformation in online spaces has raised concern over the integrity of democracies around the world. Thankfully, the Canadian government has taken some proactive steps to counter the threat of foreign interference and the spread of false information in the upcoming election.

Through the creation of the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections (SITE) Task Force, the government aims to identify and respond to incidents of foreign interference in Canada’s democratic process. SITE will work to: enhance citizen preparedness, improve coordination across government departments, monitor foreign actors, and call for greater accountability from social media platforms.

Still, as at all times during the year, it’s important that voters be aware of the validity of the content they consume online in the lead-up to the 2019 federal election. While it’s not possible to prevent all sources of media manipulation, and while not all false information is malicious or intentional, people can avoid pitfalls by exercising caution in online spaces.

Some good practices when engaging online include: reading articles before sharing them, taking time to look up the websites, publications, or individuals from whom information originates, engaging with a variety of perspectives and news channels, and verifying claims against official political party platforms and public statements.

Voters should be critical of news that comes from unknown media outlets, that lacks legitimate or verified sources, as well as information that is inflammatory or that aims to elicit strong emotional responses.

Rather than dismiss or distrust news outlets outright, remember that journalism serves an essential role in the health of our democracy, and we each have a role to play in advancing media literacy.

ASK FEDERAL CANDIDATES:

    • How will you ensure that people in Canada can retain trust in the integrity of the democratic process in the face of those attempting to spread misinformation?
    • What policies would you enforce to foster greater action from social media platforms to combat the spread of propaganda and misinformation?

Learn More: To read more about the effects of technology on Canada's democracy, visit the Public Policy Forum

Resisting Divisive Politics

Polarization is on the rise in democracies around the world. Fear of “the other,” or xenophobia, often motivates politicians and voters alike to move towards exclusionary and isolated politics.

In our current social media landscape, it’s easy to exist in echo chambers that drive people further and further away from one another.

But, as people of faith, it is imperative that we resist the urge to “other” those around us. We do not live in a world of “us” versus “them,” but rather, in a shared community on a shared planet.

The Bible implores us to love one another, which means loving those with whom we disagree just as much as we are to love those that think and vote like us.

In a climate of increased polarization, let’s reject the politics of division, fear, and name-calling, and instead recognize that respectful dialogue, even when holding opposing viewpoints, is indeed how we are called to live as people of faith.

ASK FEDERAL CANDIDATES:

    • As a national leader, how will you take responsibility for cultivating a respectful state of democracy and public dialogue in Canada?
#ShapingAJustCanada
2019 Election Bulletin
Participating in Democracy
Ending Poverty in Canada
Ensuring Climate Justice
Upholding Refugee Rights
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