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Democracy is a form of government where people have equal rights, make decisions concerning their lives and have a direct or indirect participation in the social, economic, cultural and political pillars within their country. This represents a political system where the choosing and replacing of the government is done by use of a free and fair election where there is active participation of citizens both in politics and civic life.
Democracy in Canada
Canada is not only a federal state, but also one of the most developed economies in the world and in a world democracy audit of 2010; its democratic stature saw it clinch position 8 worldwide (1).
This represents a strong standing within its democratic structure and governance. In a nut shell, Canada is an independent constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy where the government is steered by a parliamentary system which consists of elected members of parliament. Canada also has a number of political parties and the government is headed by a Prime Minister.
Canadian Democratic Gap
Though Canada is among the countries which are highly ranked in the realms of democracy around the world, it has a number of limitations and in-adequacies within its political system. Over the last decade, there have been a number of intensified calls for reformations within the democratic political institutions within Canada. This is in regard to how the democratic institutions serve to confer legitimacy upon the power of the Canadian state.
This democratic gap has been as a result of the populist tradition which is in dominance. The populist tradition holds that democracy is instituted by the practice of voting hence ignoring that these democratic societies are characterized by a number of other factors such as the rule of law, individual rights and protection liberties, freedom of press.
One of the challenges that the Canadian democracy has been facing is the lack of conforming to the Westminster parliamentary system especially when it comes to the administration of democratic procedure. This is as a result of the wide spread ignorance among the people and institutions on how the Canadian political system functions.
According to populists view, politicians are supposed to serve as public agents who propel the values of the population, but in Canada this is not the case because the public is divided on a number of interests that are related to pluralism of fundamental values (2). This is visible in that, the political tradition runs from the old Social Credit party, cuts through reform (The Canadian Alliance) and finally to the Conservative party.
This aids the proponents of the populist tradition who hold that all political legitimacy should be anchored through a popular vote. This proves that there is a deficiency of knowledge and information among Canadians who are misconstrued by the government’s opinion poll. Thus, most of them do not understand and are ignorant on the mechanisms within which the government operates in the tenets of economic and political systems.
This has encouraged irresponsibility within the formations of political opinions as well as biasness in putting social preferences in order. For example, the fact those voters have to choose between parties while voting in respect to the current Bill which prefers Liberals to Conservatives and Conservatives to NDP party.
The other prevalent problem is the fact that the current democratic model supports and encourages a strategic orientation to the political process that it is inclined to serve the individual private interests as opposed to the Canadian population. This has decapitated the population from actively participating in political agendas. This shows the extent to which parliament has aggravated to individualist mode of rule as opposed to the public interest mode of approach.
Another pressing issue in the Canadian democratic structure is the mode of leadership approach. Democratic politics central function is to create government which is the same primary mandate for the parliament. This is not the case in Canada because parliamentarians blindly endorse whatever legislation that is tabled by the cabinet such as same sex marriage legislation in 2005 which brought a lot of issues within institutions, parliament and from the population.
The first-past-the-post system in Canada has had a number of negative effects where it has greatly promoted regionalism. It has also promoted the formation of majority governments in the provincial level where some of the parties which did not have a popular vote have been instrumental in creation of these majority governments (3).
The fact that the Canadian senate members are appointed rather than elected has led to low levels of popular legitimacy and representation of a number of people such as Aboriginal people. This has also brought in a compromise within the senate where small provinces have taken advantage of the reform to create a fifth column for provincial interests within the federal government.
Issues pertaining to Canadian democracy raise the arguments as to whether Canada still stands to be among the most outstanding democratic states around the world. But in counter to this, it has had a number of commendable amendments which also propels it to be among the best. For instance, the Canadian government initiated a new youth program that is meant for the youth to be actively involved in the country’s politics.
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1. World Audit. (2010). World Democracy Audits: World Audit Website, Web.
2. Daniele A. (2004) Cosmopolitan Democracy and its Critics: A Review, London School of Economics & Political Science: London-UK and National Research Council – Italy: European Consortium for Political Science (ECPR), Vol. 10(3): 437 – 473, Web.
3. Gregory M. (2005), The Once and Future Canadian Democracy: An Essay in Political Thought. American Review of Canadian Studies. Web.