Electronic democracy's deliberative potential: dissecting the Canadian polity and the challenges ahead
by Jeffrey Roy
International Journal of Electronic Governance (IJEG), Vol. 5, No. 1, 2012

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine the still nascent emergence of e-democracy in Canada and its potential to foster constructive online deliberation both now and into the future. There can be little question that with the advent of the internet and a host of participatory tools denoted as Web 2.0, democratic processes are beginning to gravitate online. In attempting to understand the deliberative potential of this online realm, it is important to examine the individualised incentives and ethics of citizens, as well as how information flows stemming from traditional media and new forms of social media impact awareness and action (or inaction). Moreover, we consider the difficult alignment between e-democracy as a national project and the multi-layered realities of a federated polity, a variable often over-looked in e-democracy discussions but one adding significant complexity. Based upon an assessment of the Canadian experience to date, proposed directions for strengthening democratic deliberation in an online era are put forth and discussed.

Online publication date: Wed, 20-Jun-2012

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