The Unbroken Machine

The Unbroken Machine

Canada's Democracy in Action

Book - 2017
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The Hill Times: Best Books of 2017

What if it is not our political system that is broken, but our understanding of it?

Everybody thinks that it's the system that's broken in politics; but what if it's not the system that's broken but rather our understanding of it? What if everyone's proposals to make the system "more democratic" only wind up making things worse, and weaken our systems of accountability so much as to make them meaningless? What if it's our own ignorance that is killing democracy in this country?

Dale Smith looks at the critical gaps in civic literacy that have become endemic within Canadian political culture, wading through buzzwords and meaningless proposals to suggest real solutions. Designed for the lay reader, The Unbroken Machine seeks to explore our lack of civic literacy and show how our system of democracy should work -- if only we were to engage with it the way it was meant to be.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : Dundurn, [2017]
ISBN: 9781459738256
Branch Call Number: 323.0971 Smi
Characteristics: 151 pages ; 23 cm


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NFreaderNWPL May 08, 2017

A stylishly-written overview of how the Canadian system of government is supposed to work. Filling a major gap, this guide explains, in about a hundred pages, what sets our system of parliamentary democracy apart from other countries' governments, with an emphasis on mechanisms of accountability. Readers will gain a good foundation in civic literacy and also see how civic illiteracy (which can be found in media, high school textbooks, and even the House of Commons) makes government worse. Smith offers surprising insights throughout (e.g. the value of heckling), making this both a tonic for cynicism about politics and a pleasure to read.

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