Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President

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Strengthening democracy is our continuing responsibility

October 25, 2019

The 2019 federal election may be behind us, but this is no reason to let up on our commitment to democracy. Democracy and the values it embodies require our support day in and day out, not just at election time.

To this end, Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue is in the process of developing a pan-Canadian initiative called Strengthening Canadian Democracy. Within this initiative, the Centre will seek to promote conversations among Canadians about why our democracy matters and about the importance of citizens seeing themselves as democratic champions.   

This week, with funding from the Vancouver Foundation, the Centre launched two projects to address these issues:

The first, a partnership with CityHive, will bring together 18 to 30-year-olds from across Metro Vancouver to learn how cities work and what they can do to improve their communities.

The second, in collaboration with the BC Libraries Co-operative, will invite public libraries across British Columbia to propose and pilot programs for democratic convening, evaluate their impact and exchange good practices with their peers.

Over the next nine months, these projects will bring together hundreds of citizens to forge relationships and to test strategies for strengthening democracy in our communities.

In these and other ways, the Strengthening Canadian Democracy Initiative will encourage more Canadians to consider what we can do to strengthen the resiliency of our democratic culture.

Now that voting is over, each of us has a continuing role to play in supporting and building our democracy. To learn more, including the results of a recent poll on the condition of Canadian democracy, see: https://www.democracydialogue.ca/the-poll