Canadian Democracy from the Ground Up: Perceptions and Performance

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UBC Press, Jan 1, 2014 - Political Science - 320 pages

Canada is often held up as an example of a healthy democracy, ranking high by international standards. However, the Canadian public is less enthusiastic about the way our democracy works. In recent years, there has been a marked decline in electoral participation, trust in government, and democratic satisfaction among the Canadian public. Rather than focusing on the operation of institutions, this book approaches the “democratic deficit” from the perspective of the everyday Canadians and assesses the performance of Parliament and the media in light of their perceptions and expectations.

In doing so, a number of chapters highlight the disjuncture between perceptions and performance. For example, governments do keep many of their election promises, and media coverage is not as negative as we are apt to believe. These are important findings that challenge conventional wisdom. The chapters on Twitter break new ground, providing completely new data on the use of social media by both elite political actors and ordinary Canadians. Similarly, the book provides new insights into political apathy by drawing on focus group discussions that represent the first attempt to ask politically marginalized Canadians why they have turned their backs on politics.

By introducing the voice of everyday Canadians, this book brings a critical new perspective to political discussions in this country. Canadian Democracy from the Ground Up is essential for anyone who would like to learn how to build a better democracy – one that meets the expectations of the Canadian public.

 

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Contents

Introduction
3
1 Attitudes toward Democratic Norms and Practices
22
2 Canadians Evaluations of MPs
41
3 RepertoireBuilding or EliteChallenging?
62
4 Outsiders
83
5 Social Media and Political Inequality
102
6 The Story behind the Story
125
7 Social Media and Agenda Setting
148
9 MPs on the Home Front
194
10 Democratic Responsiveness in the House of Commons
213
11 A Tale of Two Perspectives
231
Conclusion
253
Appendix
273
Contributors
294
Index
297
Copyright

8 Representing Canadians
171

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About the author (2014)

Elisabeth Gidengil is Hiram Mills Professor in the Department of Political Science at McGill University. Heather Bastedo is Skelton-Clark Post-Doctoral Fellow at Queen’s University.Contributors: Quinn Albaugh, Kelly Blidook, Wayne Chu, Munroe Eagles, Fred Fletcher, Jane Hilderman, Royce Koop, Alison Loat, Lawrence LeDuc, Michael A. Painter-Main, François Pétry, Alex Marland, Jon H. Pammett, Nick Ruderman, Livianna Tossutti, Christopher Waddell

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