On disagreement and democracy


in Canada, Politics, Writing

“Shared values in themselves do not provide the sense of allegiance necessary for a national community to thrive. Indeed, disagreements about the major orientations of society are perhaps emblematic of a healthy political community because they demonstrate that citizens are concerned about the state of the community. The democratic quality of a constantly changing political community lies precisely in the idea that citizens are able to identify with and make an impact on the current streams of public debate in society – and this requires that citizens interact within the framework of a common vernacular.


In the end, participation implies some degree of political conflict. The political community is based on a shared language, and challenges to the prevailing tenets of the national culture are not viewed as threatening, but encouraged as a healthy and normal effect of democratic deliberation.”

Gagnon, Alain and Raffaele Iacovino. Federalism, Citizenship and Quebec: Debating Multiculturalism. Toronto; University of Toronto Press. 2007. p.112-3

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