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.
This case study was written by Sandy Heierbacher, Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD), in 2001 as part of a consultancy with the Center for Disease Control's National Immunization Program.
Under the slogan “Future Needs Solidarity. Diversity Creates Chances.”, the BürgerForum 2011 did not address any specific problem or problems; it rather allowed participating citizens to identify problems as well as solutions they deem most pressing for German society. The purpose behind this approach is three-fold. Firstly, initiators hoped to inspire citizens to be more excited about politics and democracy and instill a sense of community within participants.
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This case study features Conseils de quarter, or "neighborhood councils," which are infra-municipal participatory forums that serve as consultative bodies mandated by law in French cities with more than 80,000 residents.
In respect to the question of why participatory innovations are gaining support and what stimulates their development, democratic innovations are usually seen as a response to the general dissatisfaction with representative democracies. Since their main target is to supplement democracy and improve its quality, both citizens and governments in the West tend to be interested in participatory innovations.