Contest Question | What can I do to strengthen our democracy?
There is no single definition of democracy. It is a complex term that may be interpreted differently in different contexts. The following definition from the Canadian Library of Parliament may be a helpful starting point for students in Grades 9 to 12.
The word democracy describes a political system. In a democratic country, all eligible citizens have the right to participate, either directly or indirectly, in making the decisions that affect them. Canadian citizens normally elect someone to represent them in making decisions at the different levels of government. This is called representative democracy.
Fundamental Principles of Democracy
Students in Grades 9 to 12 may wish to delve deeper into some of the fundamental principles of democracy, including:
- The rule of law
- Equality and respect for human rights
- Free and fair elections – the right to vote and run for office
- Independent media
- Transparent and accountable political representation
- Opportunities for citizen participation at all levels of government
- Tolerance of political difference
- Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies (Grade 9).
- The development of political institutions is influenced by economic, social, ideological and geographic factors (Grade 10).
- Historical and contemporary injustices challenge the narrative and identity of Canada as an inclusive, multicultural society (Grade 10).
- Understanding how political decisions are made is critical to being an informed and engaged citizen (Explorations in Social Studies 11 and Political Studies 12).
- Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems (Explorations in Social Studies 11 and Social Justice 12).
- Decision making in a democratic system of government is influenced by the distribution of political and social power (Political Studies 12).
- Political institutions and ideology shape both the exercise of power and the nature of political outcomes (Political Studies 12).
- Through self-governance, leadership, and self-determination, B.C. First Peoples challenge and resist Canada’s ongoing colonialism (B.C. First Peoples 12).
- Reconciliation requires all colonial societies to work together to foster healing and address injustices (Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12).
- Understanding legal rights and responsibilities allows citizens to participate more fully in society (Law Studies 12).