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05 Dec

2017 Canada-UK Colloquium raises key questions on the Dilemmas of Democracy

December 5, 2017 | By |

This year’s Canada-UK Colloquium on the new challenges faced by Canada and the UK took place on November 16th – 18th in Runnymede, UK.

Image Credit: Tina Park

The 150th Anniversary of the British North America Act which established the Dominion of Canada is a good moment to reflect on the state of our respective democracies and the context in which they operate. Both nationally and internationally they are facing new challenges. The colloquium, held in Runnymede as a nod to the signing of the Magna Carta, questioned the dilemmas democracies face today.

SPPG director Peter Loewen attended the colloquium alongside Mel Cappe, SPPG professor and former high commissioner to the UK Mel Cappe.

The colloquium raised conversations about youth engagement but also about the role of our democratic institutions. How does today’s fast-paced and ever-changing media landscape affect the relationship between citizens and their institutions? What should be the limits upon ‘direct democracy’ and how can popular participation be channeled most effectively to constructive ends? How do we balance the competing wishes of international, national and sub-national majorities? What is the proper role of courts in our democracies?

“The colloquium in general was very successful,” says Professor Cappe. “You have to understand the context of it – we’re looking at the UK, the mother of all democracy, taking notes from Canada. And they have a lot to learn from us.”

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