Date of Award

2000

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Political Science

Keywords

Political Science, General.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

This thesis examines the concepts of direct democracy, which is defined as direct rule of the people, removing the necessity for elected representative. A review of the literature on the concepts shows that direct democracy enjoys broad appeal with writers such as Benjamin Barber, John Stewart Mill, Thomas Cronin and James Fishkin. Yet, it has been thought that direct democracy is not practical where the population, exceeds a few thousand, or is spread over a vast region. Other concerns have been expressed in the area of the ability of the average citizen to understand and render a judgement on complex issues. Looking specifically at Canada's potential for overcoming the problems associated with direct democracy, two questions are considered. First, does the potential for direct democracy increase with a proportional increase in level of education of the electorate and the availability of the Internet communications technology? Second, what difference might direct democracy make to the sagging levels of conventional political participation in Canada? The thesis addresses voter apathy, it looks at the connections between education and politics, as well as the connections between communications technology and politics. After examining if the conditions necessary to direct democracy in Canada exist, this work focuses on what Cronin refers to as the tools of democracy. Recall, referenda and initiative are the tools considered. British Columbia experience with recall and initiative is also considered. The author concludes that the high level of education and the advent of Internet communication in Canada make it possible and plausible to consider the implementation of a system of governance that provides a greater degree of direct democracy. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 40-03, page: 0599. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2000.

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