World Café Event – Is Democracy at Risk in Canada – Draft Project Charter


1.0        Overview

Sponsor : Leeds Grenville Green Party
Partner(s): Earth CharterCanada, Citizens for Democracy

2.0        Definition(s) (Source-Wikipedia)

Democracy is an egalitarian form of government in which all the citizens of a nation together determine public policy, the laws and the actions of their state, requiring that all citizens (meeting certain qualifications) have an equal opportunity to express their opinion. The term comes from the Greek word δημοκρατία (dēmokratía) “rule of the people”,

Elements considered essential to democracy include freedom of political expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, so that citizens are adequately informed and able to vote according to their own best interests as they see them.

3.0        Purpose 

  • Maintain and Build Membership
  • Fundraise to Support LGG-EDAMission
  • Provide networking opportunities through events, forums, town hall meetings

4.0        Objective 

  • Specific: Hold a member and community based focus group meeting on the health of our democracy and explore the options for a more meaningful electoral system.
  • Measurable: Synthesized outcomes summarized in a report and distributed to local, regional and national stakeholders identified at event
  • Results Based: Facilitated Workshop, Group Discussion, Synthesized and Distributed Report

5.0        Background

5.1        Why Needed

Canada is one of the last few parliamentary democracies in the world to still use the antiquated first-past-the-post voting system. Are Canadians ready to change to a voting system that more fairly translates peoples’ votes into representation in parliament?

5.2        Workgroup Topics (Draft)

Should citizens, not politicians, direct democracy and what would this look like?

Should the government be allowed to violate Parliamentary practice and tradition (e.g. prorogation)?   If not why not and how would it be enforced?

Should the government be accountable to uphold the right of Canadians to receive clear and timely information on economic and environmental matters which are likely to affect them or in which they have an interest?

Should the government be mandated to support local, regional and global civil society, and promote the meaningful participation of all interested individuals and organizations in decision making?

6.0        Methodology and Approach

6.1        Methodology

Use the World Café methodology, a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large group dialogue.

6.2        Approach

See Appendix A below – Approach

7.0        Scope:

  • Registration
  • Marketing
  • Facility and Refreshment services
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Program / Content Development
  • Facilitated Workshop comprised of 4 groups of 10
  • Workgroup presentations and group discussions
  • Report – Synthesized and Distributed
  • Project Management

Appendix A : Approach

World Café Design Principles

The following seven World Café design principles are an integrated set of ideas and practices that form the basis of the pattern embodied in the World Café process.

1) Set the Context
Pay attention to the reason you are bringing people together, and what you want to achieve. Knowing the purpose and parameters of your meeting enables you to consider and choose the most important elements to realize your goals: e.g. who should be part of the conversation, what themes or questions will be most pertinent, what sorts of harvest will be more useful, etc..

2) Create Hospitable Space
Café hosts around the world emphasize the power and importance of creating a hospitable space—one that feels safe and inviting. When people feel comfortable to be themselves, they do their most creative thinking, speaking, and listening. In particular, consider how your invitation and your physical set-up contribute to creating a welcoming atmosphere.

3) Explore Questions that Matter
Knowledge emerges in response to compelling questions. Find questions that are relevant to the real-life concerns of the group. Powerful questions that “travel well” help attract collective energy, insight, and action as they move throughout a system. Depending on the timeframe available and your objectives, your Café may explore a single question or use a progressively deeper line of inquiry through several conversational rounds.

4) Encourage Everyone’s Contribution
As leaders we are increasingly aware of the importance of participation, but most people don’t only want to participate, they want to actively contribute to making a difference. It is important to encourage everyone in your meeting to contribute their ideas and perspectives, while also allowing anyone who wants to participate by simply listening to do so.

5) Connect Diverse Perspectives
The opportunity to move between tables, meet new people, actively contribute your thinking, and link the essence of your discoveries to ever-widening circles of thought is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Café. As participants carry key ideas or themes to new tables, they exchange perspectives, greatly enriching the possibility for surprising new insights.

6) Listen together for Patterns and Insights
Listening is a gift we give to one another. The quality of our listening is perhaps the most important factor determining the success of a Café. Through practicing shared listening and paying attention to themes, patterns and insights, we begin to sense a connection to the larger whole. Encourage people to listen for what is not being spoken along with what is being shared.

7) Share Collective Discoveries
Conversations held at one table reflect a pattern of wholeness that connects with the conversations at the other tables. The last phase of the Café, often called the “harvest”, involves making this pattern of wholeness visible to everyone in a large group conversation. Invite a few minutes of silent reflection on the patterns, themes and deeper questions experienced in the small group conversations and call them out to share with the larger group.

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