September 19, 2013 – A renewed focus on democracy is needed across Canada—that was one of the themes from a recent panel discussion in Saskatoon that helped commemorate Canada’s Democracy Week, September 16 to 23.
The discussion, held September 18 at the Diefenbaker Canada Centre on the University of Saskatchewan Campus, was titled, “The State of Canada’s Democracy.” Much of the discussion focused on youth voting and how to better engage young Canadians in the democratic process.
The panel was made up of:
- Moderator: Michael Atkinson, Executive Director, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School (JSGS) of Public Policy and Diefenbaker Canada Centre
- Panelist: Dr. Michael Boda, Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Saskatchewan
- Panelist: Neil Hibbert, Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan
- Panelist: Jeremy Rayner, Professor, Centennial Research Chair, JSGS
“There are some concerning trends in democracy across Canada, primarily a downturn in voter turnout, the extent to which young people are choosing to vote, and a growing unwillingness among citizens to work with election management bodies in conducting elections,” says Dr. Boda. “But in each of these trends are opportunities and that’s where election management bodies such as Elections Saskatchewan need to focus.
“At Elections Saskatchewan, we’re on a path for renewal that includes placing a greater focus on democratic stewardship within the province. Re-energizing the participation of citizens across generations and societal groups will go a long way in reversing these trends.
"I commend the Diefenbaker Canada Centre for organizing this week’s panel discussion in Saskatoon and for encouraging students and the general public to share their concerns, ideas and most importantly the opportunities for all of us to explore and pursue."
Since 2007, the United Nations has observed Democracy Day and, for the past three years, Canada has celebrated Democracy Week by connecting with people, education institutions and other organizations in encouraging involvement and discussion about democracy.
More information about Canada’s Democracy Week can be found at www.democracy-democratie.ca.
Elections Saskatchewan is the province’s nonpartisan, independent election management body. Given a mandate from the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, it organizes, manages and oversees provincial electoral events.
For more information contact:
Senior Director, Outreach & Policy