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Poor citizenship, poor democracy

Democracy is in trouble. Canada is among the nations in the world seeing the largest decline in support for democracy. A 2019 survey found that a 1/4 of Canadians would prefer an alternative to democracy, including rule by expert, rule by strongman or military rule.

A 2018 Pew Research survey of more than 30,000 people from 27 countries finds that, by a 51% to a 45% margin, a majority of respondents were dissatisfied with how democracy was working in their country. And, in most nations polled, people's dissatisfaction actually increased from 2017.

Populist, authoritarian-leaning leaders have taken control in many countries, including the Philippines, Hungary, Turkey, Poland, and Venezuela.

The Democracy Index — which rates the state of democracy in 167 countries on the basis of electoral processes, the functioning of government, political participation, democratic political culture, and civil liberties — currently gives the world a global score of 5.4 out of 10, the lowest score since the survey began in 2006.

Powerful corporate and financial players have played a huge role in getting us to this point, pouring money into politics, indebting people, communities and nations and fighting regulation in the public interest. This must stop. 🛑

Citizenship and democracy

However, #citizens have a huge role to play too. So long as we spend our days seeking our own personal advantage, turning a blind eye to the daily injustices even in our own #workplaces and #communities (let alone stand up to large and powerful forces), failing to cultivate the courage to ask questions, speak out, seek the #commongood—we prove ourselves unworthy of the privilege of living in a #democracy. Citizen rights come with these responsibilities.

A revival of #civicvalues and #civiceducation is precisely the renaissance we need to ensure that our sustainable future is also democratic.


Sources: Harvard Business Revieww; “The Business Case for Democracy," (adapted)

Save Your City local government edition published by Municipal World available here. It includes a forward by George Cuff & workbook for local government officials and staff.



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