Briefing Paper: Youth Democratic Malaise Essay

This Information will be provided to Leading. Ca to help them create strategic campaigns In their push or equitable and democratic governance In Canada. Specifically, this paper will answer two related questions: 1 . What is the largest driver of democratic malaise in Canada? 2. What is the most effective way to counter this phenomenon? ABSTRACT In response to the question, “What is the biggest cause of democratic malaise in Canada? ‘ I will argue that the disconnect between political and public spheres, creating voter apathy and Insignificance, Is driving democratic malaise In Canada.

Second, I propose, after significant amounts of research and a public survey, that losing the knowledge and participation gap between politics and the public Is the most effective solution to countering democratic malaise. This can be done by expand on three generalizations of why this social media strategy works, proposed by Leading. Ca. In order to help them effectively address democratic malaise, I will focus on each generalization, its validity and usefulness and its limitations.

Finally, in a follow up analysis, I propose that these technological strategies not only counter democratic malaise in the short term, they provide a long – term solution; they are takeaways to direct, involved political activism and participation. I acknowledge that this issue is complex and uncertain and the proposed causes and solutions assume relative uniformity across Canadian society, which I know to not be the case. However, for the sake of this paper and study, this reduction was necessary.

Therefore, I propose that although this paper discusses the main reason of and solutions to democratic malaise, these are not the only ones and further research, analysis and feedback is an asset. BACKGROUND ON ISSUE As this briefing is directed at individuals with a sophisticated knowledge of overpayment and democratic histories in Canada, it will not go into detail on our political systems. However, some base knowledge will be provided to gain an understanding of how democracy has evolved in Canada and why it is currently in crisis.

Canada participates in a Parliamentary democracy where citizens vote to elect members of parliament (MSP) to the House of Commons and the provincial and territorial legislatures; the political party with the majority of elected MSP to the House of Commons becomes the political party of Canada and their leader, the Prime Minister (Discover Canada, 2012; COCAS, 2013). The Prime Minister then chooses cabinet members, responsible to the elected representatives and senators, who review laws presented by the House of Commons (Discover Canada, 2012; COCAS, 2013).

Canada’s first representative assembly was elected in 1758 in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Discover Canada, 2012). The Discover Canada Study Guide, a document aiding new immigrants to Canada, states that it is every Canadians right and responsibility to participate in the electoral process via voting (2012). Historical trends in federal elections indicate this to be accurate, with high levels of voter participation prior to 1988 (McBride & Whites, 2011); voter turnout in and before 1960 was generally greater than 75% (Dougherty & White, 2004).

However, current trends indicate a lack of participation in political parties and both provincial and federal elections, higher levels of mistrust with and disconnect from the political sphere, apathy regarding individual impact on political affairs and cynicism regarding democracy (Dougherty & White, 2004; McBride & Whites, 2011). The above Canadian trends illustrate growing democratic malaise within our country, ND be accountable to citizens, but also disembowels and disengages citizens from the very institutions they wish to see change from.

Possible causes of democratic malaise include violations of civil liberties, which erode trust in government; for example, occupy demonstrators were harassed by police during peaceful protests in 2011, creating media sensations regarding human rights and freedoms and police tactics (Rowe, Lecture 2013). Growing inequality due to inalienable economic and political structures can also be attributed as a cause of democratic malaise in

Canada; McBride and Whites argue that elitism, exclusion, prejudice, despair and greed have all increased in Canada, resulting from an economic system that creates and perpetuates unequal wealth distribution, low Job security, reduced standards of living and less social support from institutions (2011). These combined factors reduce trust in government structures, alienate citizens from the political sphere and lower expectations about the power of democracy (McBride & Whites, 2011). Clearly, the state of democracy in Canada and the functioning of our political system need to be addressed.

This is further emphasized by the 2008 federal election; the Conservative party, although only gaining 30% of votes and losing the confidence of the House of Commons, managed to delay the no confidence vote and launch an extensive promotion campaign, resulting in their false majority government (Leading. Ca, 2013; McBride & Whites, 2011). The dysfunctional electoral system, the decision to prorogue parliament by the Governor General and the Conservatives extensive and persuasive campaign all played major roles in this non – majority government with the power of a majority (Bigger, Lecture 2013; Leading. , 2013; McBride & Whites, 2011). However, most important to this briefing, the largest and most serious cause was Canadian citizens lack of knowledge about our political system and how it works; McBride and Whites support this claim when they state there is a, “Profound lack of knowledge about the country constitutional system” (2011). This knowledge and information crisis is driving democratic malaise in Canada, barring citizens from participating in issues that seriously matter. Closing this disconnect is essential for Leading. A to accomplish their ultimate goal of expansible, accountable government and functioning democracy. They are proposing a temporary coalition between the AND, Green and Liberal parties in the next election in order to defeat Harper and the conservatives (Leading. Ca, 2013). For this to occur, democratic malaise must be defeated as well. This brief history and summary of the state of democracy in Canada, factors creating and perpetuating democratic malaise and possible causes for this situation leads into the purpose of this paper.

To avoid a situation such as the one that occurred in the 2008 Federal election, Canadian citizens must become empowered participants in ileitis by engaging seriously in activism, information transmission and voting. Therefore, the driving cause of democratic malaise will now be addressed and consequently, the most effective way to counter it will follow. ANALYSIS disconnect between politicians and citizens, creating voter apathy and insignificance, and the lack of knowledge of and awareness about political issues and systems.

Governments in the developed world, including Canada, are less able to satisfy public demands for, creating the dissatisfaction and alienation disconnecting political and public spheres. This analysis suggests three specific reasons. First, our inalienable economy and capitalist political system degrades government involvement in society, meaning they have less power and resources to provide public services; furthermore, these systems generate immense wealth but create uneven distribution which results in citizens most needing social support being doubly disadvantaged (McBride & Whites, 2011; Checkup, 2012).

According to McBride and Whites, economic gain is concentrated among the top 20% of the population and the most vulnerable portions of the population have little Job security, low wages and reduced public support (2011). These processes create democratic malaise by alienating governments from public life and reducing their ability to provide popular, and needed, services, therefore promoting inalienable independence over community development and integrity, apathy regarding the effectiveness of democracy and insignificance regarding their ability to create change via voting.

Second, domestic issues are no longer isolated due to enhanced global integration via globalization; global issues resulting from climate change, poverty and economic crisis cannot be contained within a country borders (Checkup, 2012). This further disconnects public and politics, as the scale and complexity of these issues and possible solutions are difficult for governments to portray in entirety to the public (Checkup, 2012).

This creates a knowledge gap concerning important issues citizens feel they should be informed on and participating in, therefore resulting in disenchantment, frustration and apathy regarding the entire democratic process and their governments (SOURCE). For example, Canada is part of several international agreements, including……………… Meaning our government alone cannot make broad hangs without time consuming and inclusive, albeit necessary and fair, processes (SOURCE).

Third, young people, the future of Canada and the ones most impacted by current political decisions, are one of the least represented and active groups politically; in the 2000 election, less than 30% of voters aged 18 – 24 participated (Dougherty & White, 2004). Contrary to the importance their votes have and their future reliance on current political issues, this demographic lacks knowledge concerning political and democratic systems and therefore, has less motivation to actively engage with them (Dougherty & White, 2004).

However, current activist movements concerning politics, democracy and societal inequities and dysfunctions and centered on the viral nature of social media, including Occupy, Idle No More and the Maple Spring, have all been created, led and sustained by mostly young people (Dougherty & White, 2004; Mason, 2011). These events highlight two points; first, that this age group understands democracy and the political sphere in a less traditional, yet no less comprehensive, increasing.

This illustrates that countering democratic malaise, especially among younger generations, may not be as daunting as once thought, but will take specific, appropriate measures. The above analyses provide clear causes of democratic malaise in Canada; however, in order to effectively aid Leading. Ca, productive and plausible solutions must now be formulated. The overall dissatisfaction with democratic and political institutions in Canada can be most effectively countered by increasing knowledge transmission and interaction between political and public spheres.

This will engage citizens with issues that matter to them and empower them by emphasizing that their vote and participation matters. This goal can be most effectively accomplished wrought using an efficient, universal and accessible medium; social media. The following is an in depth analysis of how using social media, including faceable and twitter, can enhance communication, knowledge transfer and awareness between and within different spheres of society, thereby closing the disconnect between political and democratic systems and the public and ultimately countering democratic malaise. . Creates peer – peer interactions People can see what their peer group, and general social cohort, cares about through, for example, faceable and twitter. This motivates individuals to participate, even minimally, in the same issues, as either a way to conform to popular movements or because knowledge transmission between peers actually creates passion for the given issue. This promotes individuals and cohorts to become politically engaged in order to make a difference themselves or to empower a focus organization with the means to create the desired change for the rest of society. . Opens up broader, more diverse communication channels Using social media as a way to facilitate communication between citizens about issues that otherwise may have remained isolated to specific groups or regions. Increasing awareness of and action on relevant political, economic, social and environmental issues forces governments to be accountable to the population in order to maintain public popularity. This process closes the knowledge and interaction gap between the political and public spheres, encouraging individuals that their vote matters. 3.

Increases accessibility of political participation activism encourages a broader, more diverse range of people to first, learn more about political systems and issues and second, participate in them. The majority of people in Canada have access to computers, have an account on an interactive site such as faceable or twitter and have cell phones, televisions or radios through which they can keep updated on current events. Social media crosses age, race and cultural boundaries, resulting in a heterogeneous mixture of people informed about and participating in political events.

This decreases the political – public disconnect by enhancing the availability of information from a variety of sources. Furthermore, it eases people into the activism process by allowing them to simply sign an online petition or forward an email; Bigger states that these mass displays of opposition, although less personal than specific letters to politicians, can effectively create change by showing politicians that a huge mass of citizens, who they are relying on for votes, are aware of and dissatisfied with specific issues and promotes efficient action on the politicians part to save face.