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Greg Flynn (10)
Lecture

Week3Tuesday Political Science 2F03 - Summer

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLSCI 2F03
Professor
Greg Flynn
Semester
Summer

Description
Democratic Deficit and Elections in Canada July 9 , 2013 2F03  Hurdles for citizens through the process of filing out applications in order to justify their intent to write a letter voicing their concerns.  Democratic Deficit in public consultation process. What is a democratic deficit? - Democratic Malaise - Decline in Canada‟s confidence in democratic institutions and practices (cross) o Democratic Audit by (Cross) – Book - How is democratic deficit defined? o Voter turn out o Transparency and secrecy (Trust in Government)  Was transparency there, or were we simply not aware of it previously? o Voices not being heard o Lack of representation of specific groups (income, gender, religious, etc.)  We‟ve seen occupational changes in class and genders  Media representation  DESCRIPTIVE REPRESENTATION – With someone that mirrors the same qualities as you (mirror representation).  SUBSTANTIVE REPRESENTATION – Not the qualities of the person that should be in office, but the issues. Vast differences, but the values and ideals are the same for specific issues. o Lack of trust of institutions and immediacy of information  Aura of distrust Evidence of Democratic Deficit Declining Levels of 1. Voter Turnout – Government should be interested and vested in voter turn out in order to increase legitimacy to rule and govern. 2. Party membership 3. Trust in government 4. External efficacy / Internal efficacy (faith I have in my ability to have a say) – Low VS High. 5. Voluntarism 6. Participation in groups and associations 7. Senses of community Measures of democratic success Democratic Audit - Public Participation - Inclusiveness - Responsiveness Generally Elections and participation within them are regarded as the hallmark of democratic participation and of the life and health of democracy. Voter turnout predicament  Levels falling in a majority of western liberal democracies worldwide  Turnout falling among all age groups, but the bulk of the decline can be attributed to young people Democratic Deficit and Elections in Canada July 9 , 2013 2F03  Canada is no exception o 2008 worst date o 2011 not much better  Electors turning their back on voting in elections as a meaningful avenue of participation o Particularly the young Questions: 1. Why are elections an important part of our political process? a. Because they measure the health of democracy 2. Does our democratic system of government depend on elections? a. Yes, it does because democracy depends on legitimacy via elections 3. How does our electoral system impact the quality of Canadian democracy? What are elections? Why are they important?  Key component of a democratic process  Central function of a democracy  Creates a linkage between citizens and the state  Encourages government responsiveness to citizen interests  Creates a source of legitimacy for government  Elections in a representative democracy: representatives advances their interest  Delegate model: should be speaking for the interest at all times o Drawbacks: What if we live in a community where there‟s a lot of difference, which perspective do you take to advance?  Mechanism for holding the government to account for its actions and policies o Which are these mechanisms?  Voting in elections is the simplest/easiest way for participation  Help to define the structure and agenda of government  Helps determine the number and types of parties that emerge and compete o Canada – Multiparty system.  Allows for the free expression of different political and social ideas and views  Can improve social cohesion or worse it? (I.E religious, regional, linguistic differences)  Contributes to the sense of citizen efficacy (belief that he/she has made a contribution to government / democracy) Are voters important?  Legitimacy  Aggregation and Representation of Interests  Not holding government to account  Lack of responsiveness  Missing connection with the state / government  No democratic renewal (must be renewed with each generation)  A lack of voters or dismal voter turnout prevents elections from living up to their full potential  When elections suffer so to does democratic health How do we explain the decline? Theories of Voting - Life-cycle theory (explains why it‟s low amongst the youth) Democratic Deficit and Elections in Canada July 9 , 2013 2F03 o Argues that as you get older, as you marry, as you purchase a house, get a job and pay taxes, you‟re more inclined to participate (as you start rooting more into the community and pay into the system). - Generational argument o Materialism and post-materialism  Shift in values and generational argument where the parents valued voting more where they grew up in tougher times. A lot less of human security and this has made them value more voter turn out. - General decline o People are just disengaged in the political process. Don‟t‟ feel they‟re being represented. Many contextual and some structural - A shift in the scope and the nature of participation o Boycott, biocott, and culture jam. o Internet participation, etc. - Which is correct? Is there another explanation we need to be looking at
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