Civic Engagement

Having Difficult Conversations With Kids

Danielle S. McLaughlin | Posted 04.07.2014 | Canada Living
Danielle S. McLaughlin

If parents and teachers want their children to grow up to be fine people and citizens of the world, the kind of people who make a difference, we need to be fearless. We need to engage our children in very difficult conversations. You know what I mean, the conversations we all dread.

Forget the Scandals and Check Out These Everyday Political Citizens

Alison Loat | Posted 01.23.2014 | Canada Politics
Alison Loat

Imagine if we celebrated Canada's democratic volunteers in the same way we celebrate our entrepreneurs, sports stars and community leaders? Samara is trying to do just that, by finding and highlighting the work of these people in the Everyday Political Citizen project. After all, politics will only change if citizens show the way.

Community Consultation Must be Addressed in October Elections

Benjamin Morris | Posted 11.19.2013 | Canada Alberta
Benjamin Morris

Many issues will come up when the civic elections happen in October. One important issue that should take a seat front and centre in the campaigns is whether the City cares about public engagement when it comes to new developments that are due to appear right next door to your home. If the cases of the Stadium Centre and Shawnee-Evergreen developments are of any indication, Calgarians should expect a rude awakening when plans are put in place to reshape communities.

Philip Owen: There Are No Shortcuts When Running a City

Mike Klassen | Posted 10.08.2013 | Canada British Columbia
Mike Klassen

These days Vancouver city hall is twisting itself into pretzels trying to figure out why citizens have stopped engaging with the political process. In my view, Philip Owen was the last mayor to really make a personal effort to get to know the city he led. He wasn't in a bubble created by political aides -- his staff was tiny in comparison to those in office today. Often regarded as a "mayor's mayor," he made himself available to citizens, media, and through a primetime cable TV call-in show.

It's Time to Celebrate Everyday Political Citizens

Alison Loat | Posted 09.22.2013 | Canada Politics
Alison Loat

Given political goings-on it's no wonder people are checking out of the political world and channelling their energies elsewhere. But imagine if, in the same way we celebrate volunteers, we celebrated people who take the time to be political.

The Turban Ban Doesn't Teach Kids to Play Fair

Danielle S. McLaughlin | Posted 08.13.2013 | Canada
Danielle S. McLaughlin

If we want our own children to learn to be courageous defenders of rights, we must first engage them in thinking critically about those rights. While adults may feel uncomfortable talking to children about the place of religion in society, we can still teach our children that people whose beliefs and practices differ from their own are deserving of respect and understanding.

Don't Disparage Democracy If You're Not Doing Your Part

Daniel D. Veniez | Posted 04.12.2013 | Canada Politics
Daniel D. Veniez

We say that the system is "broken," which gives us an expedient justification for shirking our responsibilities as citizens. We are voting less and participating less, and are increasingly disengaged from our public life. But democracy is not a one-way street.

Why Economics Cannot Be Separated From Politics

Sol Chrom | Posted 03.20.2013 | Canada Politics
Sol Chrom

One of the hallmarks of contemporary political discourse, or more accurately, the sewer into which the modern right has dragged it, is the characterization of undesirable things as "political," and the corollary implication that anything tainted by the stench of "politics" is undesirable.

Does Gen Y Know What Political Engagement Means?

Sol Chrom | Posted 02.10.2013 | Canada Politics
Sol Chrom

2012-11-19-slavkoaskingybanner.jpg I've been watching the discussion of millennial citizenship on the HuffPost. It's a spirited exchange. Perhaps it's worth taking a step back and re-examining what we mean when we talk about political engagement; at the core, I'd submit, are principles that apply regardless of age or demographic. It's the ability to engage in critical thought that makes us "citizens," rather than mere "consumers" or "taxpayers." It's the ability to follow a line of reasoning, to view an argument analytically, to evaluate the evidence on which it's based and determine whether it makes sense.

Hey Kids, Put Down Your Smartphones and Vote

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 01.23.2014 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

Can we engage voters -- especially young people already prone to apathy and boredom? In this age of infotainment and indifference, everyone is worried about what young people will do at the polls Tuesday. Or if, in fact, they'll show up at all -- even though it's easier than ever to become engaged.

Will Debates Teach Canadian Politicos the Value of Sass?

Ike Awgu | Posted 12.17.2012 | Canada Politics
Ike Awgu

The President was again in a debate with a challenger, and again Canadians were glued to their seats. It is easy to understand why Americans cared about these debates -- it is their country, after all. What is less easy to understand, and more interesting, is why Canadians did. Canadians are watching these debates because they are convinced that America and its values matter in the world. If Trudeau, Harper or Mulcair seek to inspire Canadians they would do well to take a page from our neighbours to the south and convince Canadians, no, tell them, that we are not just another country.