When the editors of Huffington Post asked us to include this contest in my regular blog here, we were happy to. Samara started the "Best Moment in Canadian Democracy" contest in 2011, when the Arab Spring had just begun. Reflecting on these uprisings in the Middle East, an American in Samara's community emailed to thank us for this contest, noting it was important to remember to be vigilant and celebrate democracy at home.
"Given what is happening in the Middle East now," he wrote, "I think your survey results are particularly resonant... thanks for the reminder that democracy is important and for helping celebrate Canada's own democracy."
We are pleased to provide this opportunity for us to reflect on the best moments in Canadian democracy.
This year, you nominated five worthy candidates -- the Quebec Student Movement, Female Premiers, Checks and Balances, the Speaker's protection of minority voices, and Idle No More -- and the votes are in. The winner, with 32 per cent of the vote, is Idle No More.
The Idle No More movement may have begun in 2012, but it, and the demonstrations it's spurred, are thriving in 2013. Protests continue, Chief Theresa Spence continues her hunger strike and blockades are making international news.
The rise of the citizens' voice through protest is a trend we've been seeing in this contest since its inception. In each year since this began a protest of some kind has won the contest: anti-prorogation rallies in 2010, the Occupy Movement in 2011 and now Idle No More in 2012.
These movements began, at least in part, online, or were considerably boosted through their presence in social media. While it's likely true that an online contest privileges these types of movements, we still see it as a snapshot of what's capturing the imagination of Canadians.
We hope you have enjoyed taking time to reflect on the best moments in Canada's democracy last year, and here's wishing you a democratic 2013!
Congratulations to Ryan Patrice who, as the official winner of our contest, will be awarded a political book of his choice.
Idle No More: 32%
Female Premiers: 20%
Speaker's ruling: 17%
Quebec Student Movement: 19%
Checks and Balances in Place: 10%