Book chapter in Imperfect Democracies The Democratic Deficit in Canada and the United States, Patti Tamara Lenard and Richard Simeon, eds.
Book abstract: Canada and the United States are consistently ranked among the most democratic countries in the world, yet voices expressing concern about the quality of these democracies are becoming louder and more insistent. Critics maintain that the two countries suffer from a "democratic deficit," a gap between performance and expectation that raises profound questions about the legitimacy and effectiveness of their democratic institutions.Imperfect Democracies brings together Canadian and American scholars to compare and contrast the democratic deficit in the two nations. They evaluate the ways in which the institutions in both countries do or do not live up to democratic ideals of popular sovereignty and political equality, focusing on these key questions: Why talk about a democratic deficit? In what ways, are the Canadian and American democracies falling short? Do they do so in similar or different ways? What can be done to remedy the deficit? And what can each country learn from the experiences of the other?This book makes an important contribution to the field of democratic theory and the study of democratic institutions. With public trust of political leaders and institutions at an all-time low, this timely book will also spark debate on both sides of the border.