Samara's Democracy 360, a report card on the state of Canada's democracy, focuses on the complex relationship between citizens and political leadership. With the understanding that democracy is about more than just casting a ballot every four years, any conversation about how decisions are taken on the future of our country needs to consider a more robust definition of "everyday democracy."
Samara's Democracy 360 expands the measurement of democracy and kick-starts a conversation using measurable indicators focused on three areas essential to a healthy democracy: communication, participation and political leadership. That is: talking, acting and leading.
The Democracy 360 brings together a number of data sources, such as Samara's public opinion research and website content analyses, as well as publicly available data from other sources, including the House of Commons and Elections Canada. And as such it is designed to be a thorough, yet manageable, look at the health of citizens' relationship with politics, and one that can be repeated, and will be in 2017 in time for Canada's 150th birthday.
In an effort to set a benchmark that prompts reflection and discussion, Samara has awarded an overall letter grade as well as a letter grade for each of the three areas, as outlined in this report.
What does C mean? Quite simply our democracy is not doing as well as a country as rich as Canada deserves. Canadians are not participating in politics as much as they could, they don't believe it affects them, and they don't see their leaders as inﬂuential or efﬁcacious. To turn this situation around, Canada requires more than just higher voter turnout. Canada requires a culture shift towards "everyday democracy," in which citizens feel politics is a way to make change in the country and their voices are heard.