Tuesday, 31 January 2012

What is 'Civil Society'?

Civil Society International describes "civil society as a third sector, distinct from government and business. Civil society refers to intermediary institutions such as professional associations, religious groups, labour unions, citizen advocacy organizations and other interest groups who  give voice to various sectors of society and enrich democratic participation."

If you can get over the techno and overuse of venn diagrams the following Youtube clip explains how different philosophers viewed civil society throughout different stages in history and thought.

So there is some theory on the term civil society. The term isn't new and its meaning has changed over time.

American dissident and philosopher-scientist Noam Chomsky has some more radical views on American civil society.

I tried to find a Canadian source to explain the term civil society but most search engine results showed me examples of Canadians who are concerned about another country's civil society. Canadians. I found Canadians speaking out about Burma, Iran, Israel/Palestine and Sudan. Many arguments for constructing a civil society are becoming popular after the Arab Spring and many arguments focus on how middle-eastern countries can build a civil society after experiencing a civil war.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


"A democracy is ideally a society in which all adults have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. The most common form of modern democracy is parliamentary democracy in which the voting public takes part in elections and chooses politicians to represent them in a Legislative Assembly. A purer form is direct democracy when the voting public makes direct decisions or participates directly in the political process." Wikipedia 

Key terms included in the Wikipedia entry include: political self-determination, sovereignty, equality before the law, the separation of powers, representative democracy, consensus democracy, deliberative democracy, liberal democracy, political pluralism, due process, civil liberties, human rights, judicial independence, majority rule, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the social contract.

There are different types of democracy and different types of freedoms. However, true democracies do share similar institutions and common practices.

"A democracy is government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. A state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges. A democratic state celebrates a democratic spirit of political or social equality." Dictionary.com

Thursday, 12 January 2012


Elections are a fundamental part of democracy.

About: The Content and Quality of Canadian Democracy

Hello and welcome to The Content and Quality of Canadian Democracy! Here I would like to discuss democracy in general terms and evaluate the Content ( democratic institutions and conventions ) and the Quality ( events, legislation, acts of government ) that make the Canadian polity more or less democratic. What makes Canada a democracy? What is democracy? Are there policy options or reforms that could make Canada more democratic?

In this blog we will discuss the questions asked above. The site will act as a hub for links to political websites, interest groups and scholarly articles of concern to democracy in Canada. The blog will also act as a networking point for those who are interested in the state of democracy in Canada.
I would like to do some research about different methods of democratic organization concerning electoral politics, partisan politics and participatory democracy.

There are so many things that make Canada a democracy. There are also many traditions and institutions that while having a symbiotic relationship with democracy are not necessarily democratic institutions. Courts, governments and elections exist in countries without a functioning democracy.

Yet, Canadians live in a secular, pluralistic and open society. Canadians have rights enshrined in a written constitutional charter and Canadians have rights conferred through constitutional convention. Canadians live in a Federal state with an independent judiciary and independent press. Canadians vote in multiparty elections nationally, provincially, regionally, and locally. Canadians also enjoy voting rights through non-governmental associations. Canadians live in a democracy characterized by formal processes commonly referred to as the division of power or checks and balances. Canadians also live in a democracy characterized by informal processes commonly referred to as civil society.

I am also interested in democracy abroad. I plan on using this blog to advocate for a more democratic world.