We know that turnout is related to the amount of confidence individuals have in their knowledge of a subject. The calamitous decline in the teaching of Canadian history in our school systems may be a contributing factor in the low percentage of young people voting. If one does not know about the origins of Parliament, why vote for a member of Parliament?
Democracy is always a work in progress. Issues change, and intuitions evolve. Canadian democracy is certainly in need of major repair: voting turnout is mediocre, parliamentary accountability is in decline and citizens are frustrated in their ability to contribute to decisions that influence their lives (see Electoral Reform). We must retain the optimism of Joseph Howe, the greatest of Nova Scotia reformers. He told the electors of Nova Scotia in 1851 that even after the great achievement of responsible government, the reform agenda was not done. Howe wrote, “a noble heart is beating beneath the giant ribs of North America now. See that you do not, by apathy or indifference, depress its healthy pulsations.”