Current Institutional Affiliation
Director, Patient, Caregiver and Public Engagement, Health Quality Ontario

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2004
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Sociology, University of Wisconsin / Madison
Assessing the Impact of Deliberative Processes on Electoral Reform Efforts in Two Canadian Provinces

Recent debates about the declining vitality of democratic institutions among political scientists, sociologists and popular media have focused on a number of proposals for institutional renewal. This study will explore two extraordinary processes of institutional change currently underway in British Columbia and Quebec. Both provinces have convened deliberative assemblies comprised of ordinary citizens to debate and recommend changes to each province's electoral system. The aims of the study are to evaluate 1) how each province came to delegate decision-making power on this issue to citizens; and 2) whether these initiatives achieve the goal of strengthening the institutional connection between citizen preferences and policy outcomes. Data will be collected through archival research, participant-observation and in-depth interviews. The research will provide theoretical insight and empirical evidence that addresses ongoing academic and public debates about deliberative democracy and electoral reform, and will contribute to broader discussions of democratic decline and renewal.