Democracy is having the freedom and the ability to communicate our interests, express our point of view, contribute our knowledge and our ideas to our community, and make knowledgeable and informed choices about what and who represents and contributes to our individual and community interests. Is freedom of choice democracy? Choice to do what?

The idea for the Centre for Democracy came as a result of conversations with the University of British Columbia Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions about what they could do to attract interest and investment in the Centre, and what they could do and who they might invite to a conference they were planning to excite interest.

I thought the conference could be about democracy rather than about democratic institutions, since any exploration of democratic institutions and conversations about what we could do to change or improve the way our democratic institutions work to contribute to and create democracy would have to be held in the context of how they contribute to or militate against creating the idea of democracy. I thought we might begin the conversation with exploring why democracy? – What contributes to making democracy possible? – and What can we do to make democracy possible in communities we are part of and are contributing to creating?

I thought the University could take the leadership to create the Canadian Centre for Democracy to lead the conversation about how democracy contributes to our common human interests, and to explore possibilities and ideas that contribute to creating democracy. Or better, could take leadership in creating the Centre for Democracy to excite contributions to exploring ideas, creating systems, and demonstrating how we could change the way we do things to make democracy a possibility for all of us.

If we have ideas we commonly agree upon about what democracy is, we can begin exploring the kind of systems we can see, imagine, and develop which could contribute to creating the possibilities.

Roger Chilton
My Point of View

Democracy for our Communities