• By: Marie Waine

The ABCs of Teaching Democracy

In an effort to connect Canadians with democratic values and traditions, Canada’s fourth annual Democracy Week will be this September 15-21.

To celebrate Democracy Week, Elections Canada and their partners are holding or participating in several activities and events across Canada. One of these activities is a panel discussion called The ABCs of Teaching Democracy. The event will be held on September 16 at 5:30 PM, at the University of Ottawa in Alumni Auditorium.

With experts in the fields of democracy, civic engagement and education leading the conversation, guests will be encouraged to participate and share their thoughts on what tools teachers of today and tomorrow will need in order to teach about democracy and active citizenship in the classroom. Canada doesn’t have national standards that regulate teaching democracy, since education falls into the realm of provinces. Therefore, future teachers–and surely their students–can benefit from events such as these.

The panel will be led by Mia Rabson, Ottawa Bureau Chief at the Winnipeg Free Press. Members of the panel include Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Marc Mayrand; education columnist for CBC Radio and professor of democracy and education at the University of Ottawa, Joel Westheimer; President of CIVIX, Taylor Gunn; President of OHASSTA, Jan Haskings-Winner; and Program and Communications Director at Historica Canada, Brigitte d’Auzac de Lamartine. The event will be live-Tweeted under the hashtag #demcda.

Canada’s Democracy Week is inspired by the United Nations’ International Day of Democracy, in hopes of engaging Canadians in understanding and participating in the democratic process. In the 2011 federal election, only 39 per cent of youth between the ages of 18 and 24 participated. Canada’s Democracy Week provides an opportunity to bridge the gap between Canadians and their democracy.

Visit Canada’s Democracy Week for more information on different activities throughout the week.