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Week5 Political Science 2F03 - Summer docx

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McMaster University
Political Science
Greg Flynn

BRINGING CITIZENS BACK INTO DECISION MAKING: THE CASE OF CITIZENS JURY Representative VS Direct Democracy  (DIRECT) A form of government that is said to be by the people, but also for the people. It is a type of government that the people will make the decisions for themselves rather than to have the decisions made by representatives  Another term used to describe Direct Democracy is pure democracy or “true” democracy o Referendums o Initiatives o Recalls How does this differ from deliberate democracy?  Citizens making decisions  People are deliberating and engaging in dialogue in decision making  Deliberation? o Is an approach to decision making in which citizens consider relevant facts from multiple points of view, converse to think critically about options and enlarge their perspectives, opinions and understandings  What is deliberate democracy? o Deliberate democracy strengthens citizen‟s voices in governance by including people of all races, classes, ages and geographies in deliberations that directly affect public decisions o As a result, citizen‟s influence and can see the result of their influence on the policy and resource decisions that impact their daily live and their future. Why consider more participatory models?  Participation by lay citizens on complex or controversial topics raises questions about their competency o And the quality of their contributions to decision-making  By the same token, complex or controversial topics being decided on by elected representatives can also be seen as problematic o Or political hot potatoes, i.e abortion, changing the electoral system, separation of Quebec.  Lay Citizens don‟t have the knowledge to make complex decisions? Aren‟t intelligent enough to elect a president, so put in an electoral college to account for this Bringing the citizens back in  One solution to these dilemmas is the creation of temporary advisory bodies that involve lay people o In cooperative deliberation informed by expert advice  However expert advise can also seem biased…  Some examples include: o Citizens panels, o Citizens assemblies o Citizens juries o Participatory Budgeting Considerations  They have no authority to make legally binding decisions o At best, can make direct recommendations to elected representatives  Do not have continuing members who develop loyalty to one another o Or commitment to a particular cause BRINGING CITIZENS BACK INTO DECISION MAKING: THE CASE OF CITIZENS JURY  Representation o Are these bodies really representative? o Demographic representation and ATTITUDAL representation o If just demographic? o Substantive VS descriptive representation  What contribution can they make in a framework of representative democracy o If they reflect deliberative or direct democratic values? o If they‟re going to invest the time and money in to these „citizen‟s jury‟ then there‟s more of a consensus that the decisions will be taken into strong consideration. What features distinguish these from other institutionalized forms of citizen‟s participation?  What are some forms? Voting, lobbying, interest groups, political party membership  Create opportunities for dialogue between experts and lay citizens  Limit interest group participation o Because we’re selecting a random representation from the population, it makes it difficult for interest groups to get their say in. o Can’t lobby a citizens group, in the same manner that you can lobby the government  They lack authority to make legally binding decisions (negative and positive)  Address themselves to both public officials and the general public o Can speak directly to the public o The report goes to the public o With governments, sometimes things aren‟t posted online o More transparency?  Taking participation to a new level of collaboration and empowerment  Inform (low level), consult, involve, collaborate, empower (highest) o Inform – newsletter (Low level of impact) o Consult – public meetings, surveys, focus groups o Involvement – workshops and deliberate polling (more engaging, disc
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