Title: Electronic democracy's deliberative potential: dissecting the Canadian polity and the challenges ahead

Authors: Jeffrey Roy

Addresses: School of Public Administration, Faculty of Management, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, B3H 3J5, Canada

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.

Keywords: electronic democracy; technology; e-democracy; electronic government; electronic governance; internet; engagement; information flow; politics; participation; Canada; incentives; ethics; citizens; democratic deliberation; e-government; e-governance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2012.047439

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2012 Vol.5 No.1, pp.63 - 81

Available online: 20 Jun 2012 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article