It's never too early  to learn about democracy, argues freelance United Kingdom journalist Ellie Levenson. (Graphic by Democratic Audit UK)

It’s never too early to learn about democracy, argues freelance United Kingdom journalist Ellie Levenson. (Graphic by Democratic Audit UK)

• Freelance United Kingdom journalist Ellie Levenson has successfully crowdfunded the creation of a book that will introduce toddlers to democracy. In a posting on Democratic Audit UK, Levenson states, “The plan is that this book will normalise turning out to vote so that children grow up thinking it is just something that everybody does. So that not voting is a conscious and deliberate decision (and hopefully one they don’t make) rather than voting being something you have to make an effort to do.”

• Calgary’s elected public school board members signed an agreement last month that they wouldn’t “speak to the media except as authorized by the board’s communications policy.” According to the Calgary Herald, the trustees also committed to avoid telling reporters “anything that might be misconstrued as business of the board.” Three of those officials have since asked for their names to be struck from the agreement. But there’s now differing statements over who initiated its drafting – the trustees or the board’s general counsel.

• The board of internal economy — which makes decisions about how money gets spent by Canada’s House of Commons members — claims it is “committed to increasing public understanding of its role.” But, according to the newspaper the Hill Times, the House’s top bureaucrat Audrey O’Brien has said that board shouldn’t hold any of its meetings in public. “I don’t consider them secret because the minutes are published and the decisions are published…but I think that if the meetings are public, to tell you the Gods honest truth, what would worry me is that that drives the actual discussion under ground.”

• The Economist’s Phillip Coggan argues, “The financial crisis has eroded the deal that underpinned democracy: that voters support politicians in return for greater prosperity.” Coggan acknowledges that system of government has also become too distant. Meanwhile, the war on terror has limited citizen rights and globalization has meant many decisions are outside of voters’ control. Nevertheless, Coggan writes, the “best quick remedy for democracy’s ills would be growth strong enough to bring down unemployment and boost real incomes, making voters more content.”

• The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously struck down Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act, reports the Edmonton Journal’s Paula Simons. At issue: in 2006, a union representing striking employees at an Edmonton casino recorded and photographed individuals who crossed its picket line. An adjudicator appointed by Alberta’s Information and Privacy Commissioner concluded the union had run afoul of the province’s privacy legislation because it didn’t obtain the individuals’ consent. But the country’s top judges have ruled that fetter violated the union’s freedom of expression, giving the government 12 months to amend the law.

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