Democratic Principles

Democratic Principles


What does democracy really mean? In its simplest form, it means “rule by
the people.” But there are also several guiding principles
that act as the foundation of a democracy. Fundamental Freedoms
All people living in a democracy have guaranteed rights, such as freedom of opinion and expression,
freedom of religion, and the right to gather with others in public or private. In Canada, our fundamental freedoms are protected
by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of Canada’s Constitution. The Charter also guarantees equality rights. You may not be discriminated against because
of race, religion, ethnicity, language, gender or sexual orientation. Free and Fair Elections
Adult citizens have the opportunity to run for office and to vote in elections to choose
their representatives. Elections are conducted regularly in an honest
manner without influence or intimidation. In Canada, there must be elections to choose
a federal government every five years or less. Accountability and Transparency
Elected representatives are accountable for their actions. They must perform their duties according to
the wishes of those they represent, not for themselves or other interests. In Canada, elected representatives participate
in activities like Question Period to be held to account for their action and respond to
questions from the opposition parties. The press also holds our government to account
and aims to keep citizens informed. The Rule of Law
Laws are enforced equally, fairly and consistently — and no one is above the law. This means that everyone, including government
officials, must obey the law. It also means that governments cannot punish
people unless they have broken the law. All Canadians have a responsibility to respect
the laws of the land – even if they disagree with them. And last, but certainly not least… Citizen Participation
Democracy demands citizen involvement. This includes participating in elections,
being an informed citizen, debating issues, attending community meetings, paying taxes,
serving on a jury and protesting. All citizens in a democracy have a responsibility
to uphold and support these principles, because without them, we are not a democracy.

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