Citizen Action Monitor

“Most of us don’t seem to like politics very much,” concludes CBC National News feature story

Is politics in Canada broken?

No 1452 Posted by fw, September 18, 2015

“We’re frequently disappointed with our politicians, but some of that might be our fault. In 2011, just 61 per cent of registered voters turned up at the polls on election day. We’re supposed to be shocked by the dwindling numbers who participate in our elections — but frankly, I’m surprised the numbers aren’t lower. Most of us don’t seem to like politics very much. According to a survey by Samara Canada in 2012, politics is almost never the concern of dinner table chatter in most Canadian homes. Only 40 per cent of us say we’ve had even a single conversation about a political issue in the last 12 months. Still, when we talk about disengagement and consider the question — “Is politics broken?” — the ensuing discussion tends usually toward our disappointments­­­. We’re disappointed with elected people; we’re disappointed with the voting system; we’re disappointed with how Parliament works. Would it kill us to ask, just for a change, whether some of the fault might also be in ourselves?”Keith Boag, CBC National News

Embedded at the bottom of this post is a 15-miniute video of Boag’s story featured on the September 16 edition of the CBC National News. But first is an abridged version of the accompanying text to that tv news story, which featured interviews with three Canadians who talk about their personal experiences of and reflections on political democracy in Canada.

Watch the original news broadcast by clicking in the following link.

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Keith Boag: Is politics broken? We might share the blame by Keith Boag, CBC News Posted: Sep 16, 2015

[Abridged text]

We’re frequently disappointed with our politicians, but some of that might be our fault

In 2011, just 61 per cent of registered voters turned up at the polls on election day.

We’re supposed to be shocked by the dwindling numbers who participate in our elections — but frankly, I’m surprised the numbers aren’t lower.

Most of us don’t seem to like politics very much.

According to a survey by Samara Canada in 2012, politics is almost never the concern of dinner table chatter in most Canadian homes.

Only 40 per cent of us say we’ve had even a single conversation about a political issue in the last 12 months.

Still, when we talk about disengagement and consider the question — “Is politics broken?” — the ensuing discussion tends usually toward our disappointments­­­.

We’re disappointed with elected people; we’re disappointed with the voting system; we’re disappointed with how Parliament works.

Would it kill us to ask, just for a change, whether some of the fault might also be in ourselves?

Arguments for and against democracy

Someone reminded me recently of what Winston Churchill said about democracy. I don’t mean the famous observation that “democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

I mean the other one — the contrary, and slightly less-known one: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

[End of abridged text]

*****

Introducing Boag’s three interviewees —

Dave Meslin is a Toronto-based professional rabble-rouser who works to make local politics engaging and even fun to get involved in. You can catch him in this 7-minute TED Talk video, The antidote to apathy, which has received over 1,464,384 visits, at last count.

Stephen Carter is an Alberta-based political strategist and former Alison Redford’s adviser. In this appearance on CBC national news talks about why he is profoundly cynical about Canada’s average voter.

Desmond Cole, black, Torontonian, gained notoriety when he told of his lived experience being stopped and carded by racially biased police. (See: Desmond Cole’s feature on carding lit a fuse under the city’s elite, but why did it take so long?) In response to extreme pubic pressure, Cole’s story prompted Toronto mayor John Tory to stop carding and start fresh. Is this an example of politicians taking action in response to public protest? Well, no. Tory subsequently voted in council not to end police carding. In Cole’s words, “The system is ever-resistant as it was to actually listening to people’s concerns and making changes.”

*****

Watch Keith Boag’s 15-minute CBC National News story here —

Is Politics Broken? CBC, September 16, 2015 (15:13) — Canadians don’t vote. Is the system broken? Or does the problem lie with the electorate? Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/1.3229630

 

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This entry was posted on September 18, 2015 by in information counterpower, political action and tagged , , .
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