Samara’s Alison Loat discusses the new book she’s co-written (with Michael MacMillan), Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada’s Failing Democracy (Random House, 2014), with Joseph Planta.
|Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada’s Failing Democracy by Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan (Random House, 2014).
Click to buy this book from Amazon.ca: Tragedy in the Commons
Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:
I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver, at TheCommentary.ca.
Voter turnout is in decline, and memberships to political parties are falling off. Does this mean people are generally satisfied with their democratic institutions, or are they apathetic? Most would suspect it’s the latter rather than the former. As such two thinkers decided to do some research, and their work is in a really engaging book, Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada’s Failing Democracy. One of its authors, Alison Loat joins me now to talk about the book she wrote with Michael MacMillan. Both are founders of the think tank Samara, and since its founding in 2009, have been looking at citizen engagement and advocating for greater participation. This book comes out of the exit interviews they did with some 80 members of parliament, and it’s a good place to start, as these elected officials from all party lines shed light on what it’s like on the front line. Their revelations are interesting, and I’ll get Ms. Loat to tell us about some of them. For example, few MPs had ever planned to run for office, that political parties and their ‘back room forces’ often exert far too much influence, that there is great disparity as to what MPs feel their job really is, not to mention no basic training for new MPs. From these interviews, perhaps there are remedies, and perhaps faith and participation in our democratic process will rise. The book is published by Random House. And there are events launching the book in Vancouver next Tuesday, 22 April 2014. A lunch event at the Vancouver Club at 11.30am, and then a forum at UBC’s Liu Institute for Global Issues, that’s from 4pm to 6pm. Visit www.samaracanada.com for more information. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program in Toronto today, Alison Loat; Ms. Loat, good morning.