Thursday, July 4, 2013

FDA Podcast: Online Direct Democracy in Canada

An example of online voting on federal legislation, which is being provided by the Online Party of Canada.
Mr. Stephen Garvey, Executive Director of the Foundation for Democratic Advancement, interviews Jean-Francois Frenette (JF), party officer for the registered Online Party of Canada. JF discusses how he became involved in the Online Party and what direct democracy means. JF says that there are currently three aspects of direct democracy: recall of elected officials, government-initiated referendum, and citizen-initiated referendum. A new fourth aspect of direct democracy, with the ongoing development of online technologies, is citizens from electoral districts having an opportunity to vote on legislation before a parliament or assembly, and propose and vote on citizen-initiated legislation. In the Online Party of Canada, elected members are required to follow the views of their electorate as long as minimum voting thresholds are attained. Also, the Online Party endorses recall of its elected members. Further, JF discusses world developments in online direct democracy with reference to developments in Switzerland, Australia, United States and other countries. He discusses the pros and cons of online direct democracy, and says that this new idea of democracy is overdue in its implementation in democracies. Interestingly, the Online Party is strictly non-partisan in the sense that it accepts members from anywhere on the political spectrum as long as these members uphold the principles of direct democracy. Overall, JF shares insights into a new development in democracy and provides information on how people can get involved.

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