Changes to Amplify Citizens' Voices

Changes to Amplify Citizens' Voices

So many contributors told us the same thing - in our highly educated, tech-savvy world Canadians want a chance to engage with politics beyond elections. Here are some great ideas from around the world on increasing the presence of citizen voices in decision making:

Blog Posts to Amplify the Citizens' Voices:

  • February 16, 2013

    Decentralize power, refocus on citizens

    Many MPs and academics reponded to our "Redesigning Parliament" question: What's the biggest challenge facing Parliament in the 21st century? by expressing their concern about centralization of power in the Prime Minister's Office. Samara volunteer Steven Lee writes that this process began with PM Trudeau, and has been undermining Parliamentarians' ability to represent their constituents ever since.
  • February 15, 2013

    Public Policy: Mystery or Playground?

    Vasiliki Bednar takes a cue from Google and for Redesigning Parliament suggests "Policy Labs" where ordinary people could brainstorm extraordinary solutions to our most challenging policy problems. Just one of her many suggestions for including citizen voices in decision-making.
  • February 14, 2013

    Get Out of the House!

    "For now, citizens have lost faith in politicians. However, they trust their fellow citizens...One solution then is to more frequently take ... key issues outside Parliament. Trust the people." Seth Klein and Shannon Daub of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives bring us examples of innovative citizen engagement from British Columbia. Part of the Redesigning Parliament blog series.
  • February 13, 2013

    Constituency Parliaments: Connecting MPs to the constituency

    Latest suggestion for Redesigning Parliament to make it more relevant to Canadians: create a citizen-engaging deliberative body to advise and direct individual MPs. Vaughan Lyon, Professor Emeritus at Trent University outlines his idea for Constituency Parliaments to formalize the connection between MP and constituents, allow the MP to be truly representative and reduce the power of the party.
  • February 12, 2013

    Change the players, change the game: On getting more women in Parliament

    Half of our premiers are women, but federally - with only 24% female MPs - we're not doing so well. Nancy Peckford, Executive Director of Equal Voice, shares her ideas for increasing women's participation in the HoC, and improving Government along the way.
  • February 11, 2013

    Raising Citizen Voices: Redesigning Parliament

    Redesigning Parliament ideas that amplify the “citizens’ voice,” ensuring the public’s interests, desires and demands are represented in parliament. Part of February's blog-a-day series on "Redesigning Parliament" to make it relevant to Canadians.

More great ideas to Amplify the Citizens' Voices:


Debate e-petitions in the House of Commons and other ideas by Kennedy Stewart 

No "Us" and "Them" in Democracy by Mark Henschel

Needed: A radical redefinition of the secular by Robert Joustra

Thoughts on Redesigning Parliament by Sandeep Achar

Responses from Samarans:


"Committees which report on bills should reach out to the public more - committees should set up a facility online for the public to annotate bills that  they're considering before they start hearings on them." - Leon

"I think your efforts to re-engage Canadians in the political process are terrific. However, I am concerned that some parties may only want to listen to their "chosen few", not the broad base. To overcome this, I think we need to make voting mandatory at all levels of government like Australia. It's the only measure that will ensure broad response." - Drew Davison

"The Citizens Assembly Foundation has a proposal to redesign any democratically elected government. www.citizensassembly.org to find out more information and view a demonstration about how the redesign would work in practice." -Geoff Campbell

"Revisit Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples' recommendation regarding a "House of First Peoples".  The Commission suggested this as a third chamber, but might be better to replace Senate of have combined/hybrid upper chamber (i.e. ensuring legislation respects not only provincial rights and interests but also rights and interests enshrined in treaties with First Peoples, whether historic or modern)." -James Stauch

Create capability for voters to petition Parliament to change policies ... A threshold level of petition numbers should compel the petition matter be placed first on the order paper. - Brian boyd

"Honestly? I think Guy Fawkes had the right idea! Sometimes you have to burn the village to the ground to save it. Until that time, my Xbox is wayyy more interesting" - Troy