News & Events

William Bianco: Unified Government Without Governance under the Trump Presidency

August 2nd – RSVP here! Talk by William Bianco (Indiana University)

Electoral Reform: Lessons Learned

UBC issues report on Electoral Reform

Resources: Electoral Reform in Canada

For resources on electoral reform & information on our conference “Electoral Reform in Canada” hosted by CSDI, held June 27th, 2016.

Press Release: UBC offers boot camp for aspiring politicians

Apply now!

Practical Wisdom Series – Spring 2017

See event details & participant bios.

Apply now! Summer Institute for Future Legislators

Thanks to generous funding from the Vancouver Foundation, scholarships are available.

Participedia Workshop: June 6-9th, 2016

On June 6th – 9th, 2016 researchers and practitioners from around the world gathered at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver for the first large-scale meeting of the Participedia project. Project partners who have been working together for over a year via email and Skype will come together to share knowledge and resources as they […]

Dr. Cameron: On Money & Politics in BC

Maxwell A. Cameron: A majority of people in B.C. think their government is essentially an oligarchy. This needs to change Maxwell A. Cameron, National Post | May 24, 2016 9:56 AM ET Click here to read the full article in the National Post. Is British Columbia a democracy in which citizens are governed for the good […]

Press Release: UBC bootcamp for future politicians focuses on electoral reform

Find out more about the program & how to apply.

Jan 22nd – Peter MacLeod: Doing democracy differently

Doing democracy differently: Deliberative politics & MASS LBP Join us on January 22nd for a talk by Peter MacLeod, Principal, MASS LBP When: January 22, 2016 from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Where: Seminar Room, Buchanan C403 RSVP here Since its founding in 2007, MASS LBP has led some of Canada’s most original and ambitious efforts […]

Jan. 19th – John Borrows on Canada’s Colonial Constitution

Missed this event? Watch the video!

Dec 1st: After the Paris Attacks: What Must We Learn?

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 Time: 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. Venue: Multipurpose Room, Liu Institute for Global Issues Prof. Sima Godfrey—Department of French, Hispanic, and Italian Studies—Moderator Prof. Farid Laroussi— Department of French, Hispanic, and Italian Studies\ Prof. Max Cameron – Department of Political Science Prof. Derek Gregory– Department of Geography Prof. Alf Hermida— School […]

Canadian Election Analysis 2015

UBC PRESS: Canadian Election Analysis 2015: Communication, Strategy, and Democracy (free, downloadable PDF) offers timely and insightful reflections on the 2015 Canadian Federal Election from Canada’s leading academics and political commentators.  Published just days after the election, these short pieces cover a wide-variety of interconnected themes, including strategic communication, mediatization, opinion research, electioneering, political management, […]

Democracy after the election – Oct. 15th

Join us on Oct. 15th for this important event! From 7-9:00 p.m. at the Peter A. Allard School of Law (1822 East Mall, UBC Point Grey Campus). This event is free and open to the public.

Cooperation: What’s possible post-election?

Trust & Confidence: Post-Election Cooperation in Parliament Maxwell A. Cameron Department of Political Science, UBC October 2015 It looks possible, even likely, that no political party will win a majority on October 19, leaving two possibilities: a minority or coalition government. A cooperative government formed in the absence of a majority, may offer Canadians many […]

Participedia project awarded $2.5M grant

Participedia awarded major support to develop a new generation of research on participatory democratic innovations

Ready to vote? What you need to know.

The 42nd federal general election is scheduled on October 19, 2015. Check out our UBC FYI blog post on getting ready to vote. Elections Canada provides handy information for first-time voters and students.  See the student voter’s checklist and an updated list of acceptable ID.   Registered to vote? It’s quick & easy to check. […]

Sept. 28th: Munk Debate on Foreign Policy

Join us on Sept. 28th for a live screening of the Munk debate on Canada’s foreign policy! When: Sept. 28th, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Where: Liu Institute for Global Issues – Multipurpose Room (6476 NW Marine Dr.) Co-sponsored by the Liu Institute, Institute for Asian Research, the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions, and […]

Jeff Rubin: Oil & the Canadian election

In case you missed it, watch the video of the talk by Jeff Rubin. (45 min).   September 30th: a special talk by Jeff Rubin on oil and the Canadian election. Moderated by Jennifer Allan, PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science. When: September 30th, 2015 @ 2:00 p.m. Where: Liu Institute for Global […]

Vote Compass: Explore how you fit in the political landscape

Vote Compass shows you how your views align with those of the  candidates running for election. Explore how you fit in the political landscape. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is currently running Vote Compass for the Canadian federal election, which is taking place on Monday, October 19, 2015.

Summer Institute Class of 2015

The Centre’s 3rd annual Summer Institute for Future Legislators concluded this August, at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C. We are very grateful for the support we receive each year from the Speaker of the House and her staff. Tazmin Mitha, a participant in this year’s SIFL program has written two terrific blog posts about her […]

Aug 6th: Game On! Debate Viewing Party

First Federal Election Debate

Contribute to the Summer Institute for Future Legislators

Help better prepare people for politics. Donate here!

Congratulations Heather Sweet on her swearing-in as an MLA!

Congrats to our alumna, Heather Sweet, Class of 2014 Summer Institute for Future Legislators. “In 2014 I attended the UBC Summer Institute for Future Legislators in Vancouver and Victoria. I am glad that I had the opportunity to participate in this program before I was elected to the Alberta legislature. The experience of working with […]

Q&A: The impact and origin of the Magna Carta on its 800th anniversary

UBC News June 3, 2015 – by Jessica Werb Read article here. The Magna Carta has been revered for centuries as the basis of modern democratic constitutions. 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the landmark charter between King John and his nobles. UBC professor of political science Max Cameron, director of the Centre for the […]

CBC: Joy MacPhail on the Summer Institute for Future Legislators

Joy MacPhail part of UBC program teaching students how to be politicians Veteran former politico says she wishes the program was available when she started By The Early Edition, CBC News Posted: Apr 26, 2015 4:52 PM PT Listen to the interview:

Apply Now! 2015 Summer Institute for Future Legislators

CSDI’s Town Hall – April 24th

RSVP here! As part of our ongoing efforts to imagine how the Summer Institute for Future Legislators might be transformed into a standing, permanent institute, as part of a proposed school of public policy at UBC, we are convening a Town Hall meeting to seek advice and guidance from the UBC community and the public. […]

April 27th: Direct Democracy in a Complex World

 RSVP here! The UBC Institute for European Studies & the UBC Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions invite you to: “Direct Democracy in a Complex World: The Case of Switzerland” with Dr. Beat Nobs, Ambassador of Switzerland to Canada When: Monday, April 27, 2015 Where: Institute for European Studies – Room 129 1855 West […]

Tackling Climate Crisis Can Strengthen Democracy & Our Economy

by Maxwell A. Cameron Published in The Tyee March 2, 2015 Robust scientific consensus tells us human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are at their highest point in history. This is changing the atmosphere and oceans, reducing ice and snow, raising sea levels and causing extreme and unpredictable weather. To minimize widespread, irreversible and catastrophic effects, warming […]

Gabriela Ippolito-O’Donnell: Citizens’ Views of the Quality of Democracy in Latin America

Join us March 9th!

The best and worst elections of 2014

via the Monkey Cage Washington Post by Pippa Norris February 16, 2015 How do we know when elections succeed – or fail? Many recent elections have ended with bitter disputes about electoral integrity. Read full article.

Against the Odds: How Democracies Can Solve Climate Change

Missed this event? Click here to watch the video!

Jan 12th: Prof. Aroney on “Integrative & Devolutionary Federal Systems”

See event info.

Agustin Goenaga on Mexico’s Malaise

Read more.

AUPE at the Summer Institute for Future Legislators

AUPE at the Summer Institute for Future Legislators

AUPE News: Representatives from AUPE attended the University of British Columbia’s Legislators Course at the Legislature Building in Victoria, BC on Aug. 16 and 17. Attending were (l-r) Heather Sweet from Local 006, Vice President Susan Slade, Executive Secretary-Treasurer Jason Heistad, and Vice President Glen Scott.      

Canada’s Democracy Week event – Sept 17th

Missed this event? See details here.

Prest: What Ontario’s election tells us about electoral reform

by Stewart Prest published on June 19, 2014 in the Ottawa Citizen Read full article. Last Thursday, Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberal Party converted just under 39 per cent of the popular vote into a solid legislative majority. With turnout at about 52 per cent, the support of roughly one in five eligible voters […]

2014 Summer Institute for Future Legislators

Audio: Behind & Beyond the Reform Act

Listen to the audio: A conversation with MP Michael Chong, The Honourable Anne McLellan, Alison Loat (Samara), and Stewart Prest (UBC Poli).

Stewart Prest Op-ed: “The war on experts”

In modern democratic states, the public service is one of the most important sources for non-partisan information and advice BY STEWART PREST, OTTAWA CITIZEN MARCH 20, 2014 By barring Elections Canada officials from speaking to Canadians about democracy, the Fair Elections Act (C-23) continues a pattern in which successive government actions have eroded space for, and […]

Resources on the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23)

LASA Forum: “New Institutions for Participatory Democracy in Latin America”

LASA Forum: “New Institutions for Participatory Democracy in Latin America”

The Latin American Studies Association’s publication, LASA Forum, has published two articles that draw on CSDI’s Democracy Research Network’s book entitled, New Institutions for Participatory Democracy in Latin America. Click on the links below to read the articles. The first is an essay by CSDI’s Director, and one of the book’s editors, Prof. Max Cameron, […]

“Three Paths to a Non-Partisan Senate”: Op-ed by Michael MacKenzie & Chris Tenove

Trudeau was right to nix party ties. Now, how to build a new Red Chamber?

Stewart Prest Op-ed: Healthy political systems require checks on power

Healthy political systems require checks on power BY STEWART PREST, OTTAWA CITIZEN January 23, 2014 In a recent essay in the Ottawa Citizen, Andrew Potter dismisses the Reform Act tabled by Conservative member of Parliament Michael Chong as idealistic and unlikely to have an impact. With respect, I disagree with both his premises and his conclusion.Potter […]

2013 Provincial General Election Conference

Presentations from the conference are now posted here!

Jan 29th: Is There Rape Culture in Politics?

This panel discussion will question whether rape culture is contributing to gender imbalances in Canada’s democratic institutions.

Max Cameron: Drone warfare and the Constitution

Full article in The Fletcher Forum: Drone Warfare and the Constitution by Maxwell A. Cameron January 13, 2014 Thirteen-year-old Zubair Rehman recently told members of Congress how his grandmother, Mamana Bibi, was “exploded to pieces” by a U.S. drone attack while picking okra for a family meal. A similarly tragic drone strike in Yemen last […]

Adrian Gurza Lavalle: Participatory Governance in Brazil

Join us! January 13th for Adrian Gurza Lavalle’s talk on participatory governance in Brazil.

APSA task force report: Negotiating Agreement in Politics

Click here to read the executive summary of the APSA report on Negotiating Agreement in Politics.

Rt. Hon. Joe Clark: “How We Lead: Canada in a Century of Change”

Join us on November 25th!

CTV W5 doc: Summer Institute for Future Legislators

Watch it here!

Democracy in the Age of Digital Media – Sept. 16

Follow along with our live-blog here on Sept. 16th!     Find out more about the National Democracy Challenge and all the fabulous prizes to be won! 

Listen: Interviews with Summer Institute participants

Participants of CSDI’s Summer Institute for Future Legislators are interviewed about the program during its Parliamentary Simulation at the Legislature in Victoria, August 8th –11th 2013. Listen to the CFAX podcast  (starts at 04:30) with CSDI Director Max Cameron, practitioner Mike Harcourt, and participant Quinn Runkle. August 9, 2013. CFAX 1070. CKNW interview with Max Cameron and […]

What makes a better politician: summer school at UBC

by SHANNON GORMLEY Special to The Globe and Mail Published Wednesday, Jul. 03 2013, 7:00 AM EDT Read full article here. This spring witnessed a rare phenomenon in Canadian politics, a rebellion by backbench MPs against the Prime Minister’s Office. Conservative MPs argued that Prime Minister Stephen Harper does not allow them to voice their constituents’ […]

“Why Erdogan is No Mubarak”, by PhD Candidate Sule Yaylaci

By Sule Yaylaci Published by CIC’s Open Canada. June 13, 2013. Full article here What started as a relatively small-scale demonstration against the demolition of a park in Istanbul has escalated into the largest anti-government protest during Prime Minister Erdoğan’s 11-year rule. The scope of the movement has grown far beyond the initial environmental concerns; it […]

Summer Institute for Future Legislators

See recent coverage of the SIFL 2013 and sign up to receive updates on the next intake!

The Model Parliament of Canada: Pilot Project Proposal

(Photo: Chris Wattie/Reuters). The Model Parliament of Canada would help individuals develop the skills and training that they need to become effective elected officials at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government. The purpose of the project is to encourage more Canadians of all ages, and from all regions and backgrounds, to seriously consider entering public life. This includes aspiring politicians as well as those who have never before considered running for public office. The Model Parliament of Canada would also function as a laboratory for experiments in parliamentary procedure and reform.

BC Election 2013

A few media highlights on the BC Election: May 15, 2013, Typer Orton, “BC polls dead wrong in election leadup”. Sun News Network. May 15, 2013. “Greens not to blame for NDP loss, says leader Sterk”. CBC News. May 13, 2013, Dene Moore. “The B.C. election campaign trail and the art of political prevarication”. The Canadian Press. See […]

Whipped: The Secret World of Party Discipline

RSVP here!  Watch the preview and read The Tyee article by David Beers here. 

Vote Compass: Explore the political landscape

Vote Compass is an educational tool developed by political scientists. Answer a short series of questions to discover how you fit in the British Columbian political landscape. Go to CBC to try out the vote compass:

Strong Democracies, Smart Cities? Swiss & Canadian experiences

RSVP here!

Audio available: Can Democracies Get Anything Done?

How do institutions encourage or undermine deliberation, negotiation, and compromise?

Never mind the Senate – repair the Commons

(Photo: Lynn Hancock). Excerpt: “What,” I asked, “is the purpose of the Senate?” I well remember his reply. Pick, as he was universally known, drew himself up to his full height of 5 foot 6 or so and said to me with his nasal twang: “Young man, the Senate is a humane garbage disposal.” Gordon Gibson’s special to the The Globe & Mail. Published, Monday, Feb 25, 2013.

Samara: Restoring Parliamentary Supremacy

See the Samara Blog post: Restoring Parliamentary Supremacy Published February 23, 2013 In today’s Redesigning Parliament post, professor and author Maxwell A. Cameron says it’s time to enforce/create rules that remove power from the Prime Minister’s Office and ensure it stays in the hands of individual MPs. How might we redesign parliament for the 21st century?  We […]

Indigenous Peoples & Democratic Politics Conference

Why has so little changed in Indigenous-State Relationships since the Royal Commission? Join us for a one-day public event with community and academic experts.

Audio available: Citizenship & Democratic Participation: Book Launch

Join us on March 6th! Copies of the books will be available.

Redesigning Parliament? How about redesigning parliamentarians?

(Photo: Chris Wattie/Reuters). The first purpose would be to provide in-depth training to people of various political stripes who are serious about preparing themselves to sit in a democratically elected assembly. The second purpose of this proposed Model Parliament would be to serve as a “laboratory” for experimenting with proposed reforms for redesigning Parliament itself.

84% of Canadians want powers of Prime Minister and premiers restricted

From Your Canada, Your Constitution- Involving Canadians in their democracy

Stephen Jarislowsky in Globe & Mail: “We need to get money out of politics”

Stephen Jarislowsky: The democratic process today does not attract the best and the brightest.
(John Morstad /The Globe and Mail)

PhD Student David Moscrop in the Globe & Mail on Chief Theresa Spence’s Hunger Strike

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence on Victoria Island in Ottawa Dec. 27, 2012.

Public Participation in Local Democracy

November 28th, 2012. 6-8pm @Buchanan Seminar Room C403

US Elections 2012

A panel of UBC experts on politics and policy in the US will discuss the presidential campaign and voting results, the congressional elections, and their implications for  government, the economy, trade, energy, the environment, and foreign policy.  Panelists will examine the significance of the election for Canada.

David Hopper Lecture: Helen Mack Chang

Listen to the podcast!

Current Affairs in Peru: Commodities, Conflict and Democracy

Join us for this special event at MOA entitled, Current Affairs in Peru: Commodities, Conflict and Democracy. When: October 30th, 6-8pm Where: Museum of Anthropology, 6393 NW Marine Drive. As part of the current exhibit, “Luminescence: the Silver of Peru” program, come join the conversation with Ronald Wright (Historian, novelist, essayist) and Jonathan Manthrope (International […]

E-volving Democracy Dialogue: Saturday, October 27

On Saturday, October 27, from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. Fair Voting BC and Party X will host a public dialogue to discuss questions about citizen participation, engagement, and apathy in contemporary democracies. The panelists will be UBC’s Prof. Max Cameron, Director of the UBC Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions; Geoff Campbell, from the […]

Post-game: Canada’s Democracy Week and the CSDI

On September 17th the CSDI partnered with Elections Canada and Elections BC to organize a Democracy Day event at UBC, emceed by the CBC’s Stephen Quinn. Six speakers each gave a 10 minute ‘Ted-Talk style’ presentation in which they laid out their one big idea for democratic renewal. The talk was followed by a Q&A […]

Canada’s Democracy Week Event

Engage, discuss, tweet about and even challenge some of Canada’s leaders in democratic engagement as they prpose their “one great idea” about Canada’s democratic culture. September 17, 2012– 11am-1pm. Freddy Wood Theatre, UBC, 6354 Crescent Road.

David Dyment: “Beyond the Border” in The Mark

David Dyment is a Sr. Research Associate at the Centre on North American Politics and Society at Carleton University. He presented at our North American Futures Conference in March. Read his article in The Mark entitled, “Beyond the Border”.  

Practical Wisdom Series: Video & Audio Podcasts–Spring 2012

In case you missed the talks, audio and/or video of our Practical Wisdom Colloquium Series are now available.

Video: CPAC coverage of North American Futures conference

Find links to video of sessions & scheduled air times on CPAC here.

Results of conference: “Why Don’t (More) Good People Enter Politics?”

Max Cameron will report on the results of this conference, and use the AKBLG Convention and Annual General Meeting to integrate the perspectives of rural communities into an ongoing public conversation about how we might overcome the cynicism about politics…

North American Futures Symposium: March 16-17, 2012

Is North America dead? Or is it an essential platform upon which Canada, the
United States and Mexico, can confront the challenges of the 21st Century?

Campaign 2012: UBC Perspectives on the US Election

Professors Paul Quirk and Andrew Owen of our Department of Political Science participated in the event held at UBC Robson Square. A short description of the event, held March 4, 2012. If you missed it, here is a live-blog of the event.

Practical Wisdom Colloquium Series: Frans de Waal, March 8th 2012

Practical Wisdom Series-Term 2 Events

Patricia Churchland (UCSD), Kenneth Sharpe (Swarthmore), Maxwell Cameron (UBC), Barry Schwartz (Swarthmore), Frans de Waal (Emory). Jan 24–March 8, 2012.

“We get the leaders we deserve”, by David Moscrop.

Link to the article here. “We get the leaders we deserve”, by David Moscrop. The Ottawa Citizen. Dec 30th, 2011. On Boxing Day I pulled into a coffee shop off Highway 7, near Peterborough, at 6:45 a.m. I needed to caffeinate and to ruminate for a moment on why I had agreed to accompany my 15-year-old […]

“Why Don’t More Good People Enter Politics?”

(And what can be done about it…)

Public Salon: Ideas That Move The City

Sam Sullivan’s Public Salon on November 9th, 7:30-9pm

Practical Wisdom Speaker Series: Video & Podcasts Fall 2011

Between Rules and Practice: Why We Need Practical Wisdom in Politics.

David Olson: The Search for the Beginnings of Wisdom

David Olson: The Search for the Beginnings of Wisdom


Jane Jaquette: Machiavelli & Practical Wisdom

Jane Jaquette: Machiavelli & Practical Wisdom

Sylvia Berryman “Aristotle’s Ethics & Obedience to Authority”

Listen to talk with our audio link!

What do Canadians want and expect from a leader?

What do Canadians want and expect from a leader?

That is the topic for Cross Country Checkup on Sunday, August 28. [audio:|titles=cameron_crosscountry]

Max Cameron appointed as the Director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions (CSDI)

As of July 1, 2011, Max Cameron will be the new Director of CSDI

Parties as Organizations and Parties as Systems, May 19-21, 2011

Deepening our understanding of parties and party systems in Canada

UBC 2011 Election Panel

Federal Elections 2011: What happened, why and what it means for Canada

Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011 Winner announced

11.600 citizens in Germany were invited to select the winner for the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011. The BC Citizens’ Assembly was one of the seven finalists.

Democracy Network’s book launch events in Lima, Peru

The Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP) hosted an event to promote the ADRN’s new book, Democracia en la Región Andina, on December 21st, 2010, in Lima, Peru.

“Participation and Representation in Latin America” workshop in Buenos Aires

“Participation and Representation in Latin America” workshop in Buenos Aires

CSDI’s Democracy Research Network held a workshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec 9-11th, 2010, on “Participation and Representation in Latin America”. The network’s findings are being prepared for publication in English and Spanish.

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