Exploring the idea of democracy
Democracy is having the freedom and ability to communicate our interests, express our point of view, contribute our knowledge and our ideas to our community, and make knowledgeable and informed choices about what and who represents and contributes to our individual and community interests. If knowing we have the ability to choose is freedom, is freedom of choice democracy ? Choice to do what?
The idea for the Centre for Democracy came from conversations with the University of British Columbia Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions around what they might do to attract interest and investment to the Centre and what they might do and who they might invite to a conference they were planning.
I thought the conference could be about democracy rather than about democratic institutions since any exploration of democratic institutions would have to be held in the context of how they contribute to or militate against creating democracy and what we could do about changing or improving the way our institutions work. It seemed to me that we might begin the conversation with what democracy is and then explore what could contribute to creating democracy and what we could do to make democracy possible.
I suggested we could create the Canadian Centre for Democracy to lead the conversation about how democracy contributes to our common human interests and to explore possibilities and ideas that contribute to creating democracy. Or better, we could take leadership in creating the Centre for Democracy to excite contributions to exploring ideas, creating systems, and demonstrating how we could change the way we do things to make democracy a possibility for all of us.
If we have an idea about what democracy is that we commonly agree upon, then we could begin by exploring what kind of systems would contribute to creating the possibilities.