Sample essay questions & Discussion
1. Define democratic deficit and democracy
a. Assess the evidence for and against the deficit in Canada
2. Voting system, Senate, Participatory mechanisms, online voting, reforms to
multiculturalism policy, reforming the charter of rights, judges being appointed, based on
something discussed in the class. What would be the best that could enhance democracy
overall? Make the case for each and have a discussion about how you would see
democracy changing. Just Canadian.
3. **QUESTION: The charter of Rights and Freedoms and Internet voting are two
controversial changes to the Canadian Political system discuss the democratic
implications of each
a. Proposed benefits that it could bring to democracy (Internet Voting)
i. Could it be anti-democratic to move elections online and allow private
companies to run these elections
ii. Internet voting growth is increasing slowly. Future development
b. Charter of rights and freedoms
4. What are the different voices? How do they contribute? So many voices in Canadian
polity that we‟ve talked about (Women, Minority groups, aboriginal groups), women and
politics, recognize that there are many voices in the Canadian polity, but can focus on
women or on other groups.
5. Beginning of course…
6. ** How would you approach? Define each of these particular groups, think about the
VALUE that they‟re bringing, and what delivers the best benefits to the citizens.
7. If political party the way to go? … Find charismatic leader, techniques used to lobby
government, be creative with it. Can talk about various methods.
a. Mechanisms of participation, choose and explain why they‟re the best?
8. Democratic quality of Canada today…
9. Look at various government institutions and groups of civil societies (political party).
Some topics are more institutional in nature. Making a decision whether you agree with
Karin, Lazlo or offering a different perspective.
10. The media would also fall under groups and civil society.
GENDER AND POLITICS
Gender as an analytical category, gender versus sex
o Social construction
We socially construct gender
o Gender versus sex
More broadly – women in politics
Cat looks nothing like the actual physical construction? Language, people, etc. are all socially
Breakfast, socially constructed and development of norms
What do symbols represent? People, food, gender all socially constructed
Racism is socially constructed Put your gender classes on:
Policeman police officer
Housewife home maker
Stewardess flight attendant
Fatherland native land
Mankind human kind
Frenchman The French
All men are created equal all people are created equal
Best man for the job best person for the job
Women‟s representation in politics
Women have made significant gains in the proportion of elected offices they hold, but are
Which barriers are primarily responsible for female legislative under-representation
o The electoral system
o Cultural entity (the media) – Are women dressing properly? Using appropriate
Why should we care about it?
o Justice argument (percentage of the population)
o Experience argument (have different experiences, will engage in politics
differently; have different perspectives represented in policy)
o Representative argument (different interests)
o Role model argument (the more women in legislative office, the more role
models there are for young women to pursue legislative careers)
o Women see the world differently, and therefore only women can properly
represent women. Women are usually associated with health issues, welfare
issues, women are perceived as being identified with soft issues, where as the
hard issues are left up to men in politics. If women pursue hard issues, are seen as
masculine, aggressive, etc. Great rationale for instituting quotas is to encourage
female role models in legislative careers.
Democratic government and the nature of representation
Can be argued that representation is best achieved when elected members reflect the
composition of the electorate at large.
Descriptive representation – having the same characteristics (janitor, female, etc.) How
far do you take this? Women represent women and men represent men
Substantive representation – Views, ideologies, and so on.
Does having women in politics really change anything?
Examples in Ontario (OLP Women‟s caucus)
Decision to increase $ for children‟s treatment centers and support for children at risk Generally, a forum for support for key social welfare issues
What are the barriers to women‟s legislative representation?