Glendon Global Debates | Is Democracy Broken?

Glendon Global Debates | Is Democracy Broken?

Glendon School of Public and International Affairs’ first-ever hybrid Glendon Global Debate took place on April 4, exploring the contemporary shifts in political discourse and the future of democracy. 

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell moderated a discussion titled “Is democracy broken?”. Her Honour was joined by a panel of expert speakers, including Clare Hutchinson, a Power Corp Fellow at Glendon, and a former senior gender advisor with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping; Susan Pond, a BMO senior Fellow at Glendon, and former NATO executive; and, Emily Laxer, associate professor of sociology and Research Chair in Populism, Rights and Legality at York. 

The discussion considered how different phenomena are currently affecting faith in the functioning of democracies. What role do growing inequalities (and the failure of reforms to address them), the rise of social media and their detrimental effects on public discourse, and the growing tendency of political parties across the spectrum to exploit divisions, play in shifting the stability of democracy? Do these contemporary shifts in political activity and discourse suggest that democracy is truly broken or just frayed? What can be done to restore widespread faith in democracy? 

Glendon Global Debates 

As a bilingual institution in the heart of Toronto, Glendon is uniquely positioned to support the Government of Canada in a forward-looking assessment of Canada’s role in global affairs. The Global Debates aim to enhance the public debate on Canada’s role in global affairs and prepare the next generation of highly skilled public servants.  

The Glendon Global Debates series which began in 2016 with the mission of promoting dialogue between experts from all sectors – government, academics, media, private and more – to identify critical national and foreign policy issues relevant to Canada’s future. Previous topics discussed have included Brexit, smart cities, fake news, housing affordability and women in leadership. 

Watch the recording