British Journal of Canadian Studies

Rerouting political representation: is Canada's social infrastructure in crisis?

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2012), 25, (2), 181–197.

Abstract

The Canadian federal government has administered systematic funding cuts to voluntary organizations engaging in advocacy since the early 1990s. These funding cuts have had a profound and lasting effect on our democratic landscape. They have seriously damaged most associational networks across the voluntary sector, thereby restricting the available routes citizens can use for mobilizing claims. Despite the fact that opportunities for citizens to engage directly in policymaking have actually proliferated, overall their ability to act collectively has rapidly declined. This article examines how this rerouting of political representation has impacted democratic dynamics in Canada. It argues that the federal government in Canada needs to recognize the importance of supporting and sustaining social infrastructure and democratic participation.

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Laforest, Rachel