Is democracy in a global crisis? From Canada to America to Britain, recent events have stoked fears around the rise of populism, polarization, and more. Media reports have debated whether democracy is dead or corrupt, whether it’s in need of saving or complete reimagining. Meanwhile, a recent survey of Canadians showed that 70 percent believe elected officials don’t care what ordinary people think. And, in 2019, the Samara Centre for Democracy gave Canada’s democracy a B-minus grade—noting that nearly half of us believe our democracy is growing weaker.
As Canada prepares for its next federal election, The Walrus answers an urgent question: How healthy is our democracy? This special series investigates what’s working, what’s under threat, and what’s broken. With new stories published weekly, Common Ground cuts through our anxieties to examine what democracy really means in Canada today—and whether it’s truly coming to an end.
Our National Silence on Bill 21
This summer Quebec passed a law curtailing religious minorities—and nobody on the election trail wants to talk about it
I’m Part of the 0.1 Percent and I Want a Wealth Tax
In the face of rising inequality, we need to elect politicians who will tax the rich
What Would It Look Like to Take the First Nations Water Crisis Seriously?
Government after government has spent millions on water-treatment plants. But thousands of households still can’t drink from the tap
We Need Indigenous Wisdom to Survive the Apocalypse
The Haudenosaunee Great Law of Peace offers a chance to avert ecological, cultural, and political crisis
The Prophet of Populism
Political scientist Yascha Mounk studies the signs of rising populism. What can his work tell us about Canada’s future?
What Jody Wilson-Raybould Really Thinks
The newly independent candidate on Indigenous governance, SNC-Lavalin, and whether she wants the prime minister’s job
Canada: Good at Bureaucracy, Bad at Transparency
I made an access to information request. What I got back was almost entirely redacted. Why is the system so broken?
The “Ethnic Vote” Is a Myth
There’s no data to suggest visible minorities and immigrants vote the same partisan way
Political Polls Are Flawed. Can AI Fix Them?
Polls are a key source of information. But the process is outdated and the results are often inaccurate
Is Canada Broken?
The country seems more polarized than ever. Here’s what that means for the next election
Voting With Our Feelings
Democratic elections presume voters are capable of making rational, informed decisions. We’re not
Reconciliation: The False Promise of Trudeau’s Sunny Ways
Under the Liberals, statements of moral feeling have been elevated to a governing strategy
A Field Guide to Online Political Conversations
Political discussion on social media feels more charged than ever. The Walrus and the Samara Centre for Democracy asked Canadians how we can learn to disagree and keep things civil