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Lidia Miljan

Doctor of Political Science, Director of the Alberta Initiative and the National Media Archive at The Fraser Institute

It is appealing to think that some technological advances can overcome the many flaws that exist in representative democracy. What this hope ignores is that the problems with representative democracy are not entirely or even mostly technological, and therefore do not, for the most part, have technological solutions. Representative democracy provides for specialization in the governing process. The business of government is complex; we elect people who will spend the time to make issues and policies their full-time occupation. The internet does not change this. While the internet and new technologies can improve access to the political system, they do not make people any more informed, any more interested, or any more capable of making governance decisions.

Dec. 2000 - from "Can Technology Lead to Parlimentary Reform?" published in Fraser Forum
... even if one could overcome the problem of access to technology, there is no compelling evidence to show that people would be interested in or able to vote on public policy issues. Over time, there has been a consistent decline in voter turnout not only in Canada, but in the US as well. The problem becomes more acute at the local level. In some municipal elections, a turnout of 30 percent decides government. Why should we expect the public to become involved and interested in the multitude of policy issues that are put before provincial and federal government legislatures?

Dec. 2000 - from "Can Technology Lead to Parlimentary Reform?" published in Fraser Forum