Power to the people - Macleans.ca

Power to the people

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In light of events in British Columbia and Wisconsin, Greg Fingas defends direct democracy initiatives.

The leading example is of course California, whose combination of conflicting citizen initiatives and political gridlock has made it virtually impossible to make reasonable budgetary decisions or carry out any long-term planning. And direct democratic processes shouldn’t serve as the only outlet for citizen involvement between elections. Indeed, both of the above examples could have been avoided if the governments involved had consulted with residents to determine whether their policy choices were even faintly defensible.

But there’s always some risk that a government that believes itself to be four years away from any accountability might push far beyond the limits of reasonable political choice. And some mechanism for citizens to take back our representative authority in case of emergency might work wonders to reduce the danger of overreach in the future.