In April 2001, the Canadian government established the Romanow Commission to deliberate with citizens on the future of healthcare in Canada. However, the commission overlooked the serious issue of engaging marginalised groups such as Aboriginal people, and did not provide separate participatory spaces for such groups. While some Aboriginal people participated in the dialogues, the outcomes did not fully reflect Aboriginal health issues.
The financial and economic crisis, of which we have heard so much discussion since 2007-8, is only one aspect of a whole series of underlying political trends which have been apparent for much longer: a crisis of (in)equality and of increased precarity of the workforce, a human rights crisis, a demographic crisis, an ecological crisis, a crisis in civil liberties, and above all a crisis in democracy.
Various federal departments and agencies of Canada funded the ChoiceWork Dialogue to learn more about their citizens’ expectations of governments, the private sector, and their communities. The goals that Canadian societies seek to achieve are detailed in a “social contract.” When leaders planned for post-war policies after World War II, a primary result was the birth of a welfare state. By the 1970s, government revenue was unable to sustain the dependent system. The outcome was major changes to trade and economic policy.
On August 11-12th, 2011, 193 residents of Seoul and the surrounding metropolitan area took part in a deliberative poll about the reunification of the two Koreas. Participants discussed the “Exchanges and Cooperation” program, North Korea’s nuclear weapons, and the government’s reunification policy. The deliberative poll was broadcast by KBS (Korea’s public broadcasting network) on December 4th, 2011 as a one hour program, part of a two-part documentary on unification.
Gacaca courts are community trials, which try the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. They are a unique and large-scale national experiment in collaborative justice systems, and pose an important precedent for participatory community justice across the world.