Dilemmas of Democracy: Plenary talk and workshop

Thumbnail picture of event posterThe Department of Politics invites you to join us as we continue our series on Engaging Democracy.

Plenary Talk 2:30 - 4:30 pm
Workshop 10:00 - 11:30 am

Registration is required for the Workshop only at Dilemmas of Democracy Workshop Registration

The talk: Democracy is nothing to be afraid of and yet, with the emergence of the referenda we have seen some dilemmas emerge for the thought and practice of democracy. From Brexit to Catalunya, we have seen referenda become the vehicles that are supposed to give voice to people through a direct democratic vote.  At times, though this has not been the case. Mel Cappe engages both the question of Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, and the practicalities of the referendum results and their implication for democracy.  What are some practical truths of leaving the EU, for instance? Do referenda provide the democratic platform for engaging with practical questions? Do referenda allow for access to democratic rule?  What happens when human and civil rights issues are put to a popular vote?

The workshop: Like seldom before, we see populism driving election results.  We are seeing political “leaders” following their constituents.  We are putting our faith in elections when money may distort results.  Fake news undermines the credibility of legitimate news.  The media are no longer mediators of democratic processes, but rather actors in those processes.  The institutions of democratic governance are under stress if not attack.  How do we ensure modern democracy yields democratic results?

Mel Cappe, a former High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom, is Professor in the School of Public Policy and Governance at University of Toronto. From 2006-2011, he was President of the Institute for Research on Public Policy. Earlier in his career, he held senior economic and policy positions in the Departments of Finance and Industry and was Deputy Minister of various portfolios.

View the full-sized poster here: Poster - Mel Cappe Workshop and Talk 27 Feb 2018

Coming Monday 12 MarchEngaging Democracy Roundtable with Politics Professors Agathangelou, Latham, Pilon and Singh. What has our Engaging Democracy series taught us? What questions has it raised? Where do we go from here?