Citizens at the Crossroads: The Right to Communicate

By William F. Birdsall, Marilee Rasmussen - 2002

Canada is a country whose citizens see their national government as a constructive tool for achieving national objectives but a chasm has opened between government and citizen. For decades Canadians have been told that they are experiencing a technological revolution. However, the government has not yet provided an opportunity for genuine public debate surrounding the critical social, economic, and cultural issues arising out of this revolution. The lack of public participation in policy processes and a government world view that negates citizen involvement are causing the widening of the chasm. Government pursuit of a single-minded information policy developed behind closed doors is alienating Canadians who are anxious about their future in the information society but are excluded from having a say in it.

This article examines the government policy framework and consultative processes dealing with information policies over the past 30 years, demonstrating the fact of public exclusion. It concludes by proposing an alternative policy framework and policy making processes that promote wider citizen participation through the constitutional entrenchment of a right to communicate.

Text available here.

By William F. Birdsall, Marilee Rasmussen| 2002
Categories:  Landmarks


Communication rights enable all people everywhere to express themselves individually and collectively by all means of communication. They are vital to full participation in society and are, therefore, universal human rights belonging to every man, woman, and child.


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