Green democracy in action?

Canadian Academics: Climate Change Assemblies could Break Political Deadlocks

Essay by Eric Worrall

The Academics admit “many Canadians are polarized along party lines” – but think the solution is to change how “representatives” are selected.

How climate assemblies can help Canada tackle the climate crisis

Published: September 15, 2023 5.28am AEST
Simon Pek Associate Professor of Business and Society, Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria
Lorin Busaan PhD Student, Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria

Unfortunately, Canada has consistently failed to make a significant contribution to this broader effort. And this failure is due, in no small part to political polarization and a corresponding inability of governments to follow through on high-level commitments. We argue that climate assemblies can be a powerful tool in moving past these limitations and driving meaningful action on climate policy, if designed and executed thoughtfully.

The challenges of climate policy are exacerbated by Canada’s political context as an oil and gas producing country. Indeed, many Canadians are polarized along party lines when it comes to key tensions concerning economic and climate policy, including when it comes to phasing out oil and gas, and how it relates to Canada’s future economy. 

Climate assemblies are part of a broader family of democratic innovations referred to as “deliberative mini-publics.” They gather a representative slice of a given population selected through a lottery to study, deliberate and make recommendations about a specific climate-related topic. 

Climate assemblies’ distinctive blend of characteristics gives them many advantages over other political institutions. With lottery selection, participants are less likely to represent political or special interests, enabling them to be more impartial and adopt a longer-term perspective that takes account of future generations.

Read more:

Britain has a climate assembly, though unlike the Canadian proposal it is an advisory body rather than a legislative body. The GWPF claim the British climate assembly process is rigged:

Environmentalists tried to sidestep democratic process

London, 29 January: The UK Climate Assembly, which claimed to have delivered a mandate for a green revolution, could not have delivered a mandate of any kind, according to a new analysis published by the Global Warming Policy Forum.

According to the report’s author, Ben Pile, the Assembly was set up to deliver a preordained result:

It was in no way a democratic process. Almost everyone involved with convening the assembly, and almost everyone who spoke to it, was involved with environmental campaigning to some extent. Most can be linked to a small group of wealthy environmental funders.”

Pile says that the Assembly was actually set up because the public were unpersuaded of the case for radical action.

Politicians agreed the net zero target without debate and at best lukewarm public support. The Assembly was an attempt to provide a justification for strong policy measures, but it is ridiculous to suggest that a project like this could deliver some sort of a mandate. The assembly was an attempt to sidestep the democratic process.”

The UK Climate Assembly: Manufacturing Mandates can be downloaded here

Source: Net Zero Watch

Venezuela loves rigged citizens assemblies, in 2017 Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro used a rigged citizen assembly to dismantle the last vestiges of genuine Venezuelan democracy.

Venezuela’s controversial new Constituent Assembly, explained

Analysis by Jennifer L. McCoy
August 1, 2017 at 7:00 a.m. EDT

Why did the government hold this vote?

The government said it was to bring peace to the conflicted country, but it was widely seen as a move to avoid holding other scheduled elections that the government expected to lose — including elections for governors and mayors in 2017 and for president in 2018.

The government’s approval rating has hovered around 20 percent because of the weakening economy, shortages of food and medicine, and the Supreme Court’s controversial decision to curtail the authority of the legislature. The resulting protests have left more than 100 dead, and at least 10 more died during Sunday’s vote.

What is a constituent assembly?

President Hugo Chávez established a similar body in 1999 that was intended to give the people “originary” power. Venezuelan constituent assemblies have the authority not only to change the constitution but also to dismiss existing officials and institutions.

The election’s rules were heavily biased in favor of Maduro’s government. Instead of “one-person, one-vote,” every municipality in the country elected one delegate and state capitals elected two, no matter the size of the town or city. In addition, a proportion of delegates was reserved for selection by members of specified organizations such as students, workers and indigenous groups. This helped ensure that a larger number of delegates would come from constituencies favorable to Maduro, even if the opposition participated.

The vote lacked many of the safeguards normally present in Venezuelan elections. The government agency in charge of the election skipped 14 of the 21 audits of the automated system, did not use indelible ink, and allowed people to vote anywhere in their city, not only where they were registered. Ballots didn’t even have names of candidates, just numbers.

Read more:

The scientists behind this climate assembly proposal claim that Canadians are split along party lines, yet somehow they believe their climate assembly would produce a more climate friendly outcome than representative democracy? How could this possibly be the case, unless the assembly process is flawed, and somehow doesn’t genuinely represent the will of the Canadian people?

The track record of non representative citizens assemblies in other countries is not good. Even in places like Britain, where they have no legislative authority, they are criticised as sham bodies which don’t properly represent the people.

In my opinion this proposal is not a genuine attempt to improve democracy, it is an attack on democracy.

In a real democracy, you don’t sway policy by changing the system, you change the system by persuading people to vote for different candidates. But the academics pushing this climate assembly idea seem to have implicitly given up on the idea of persuading voters to support stronger climate action. Instead, the academics appear to be looking for ways to change the democratic process, to produce the outcome they want.

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September 14, 2023 10:12 pm

There is a Russian name for a “climate assembly”. It is “soviet”. All power to the soviets!

Reply to  generalmilley
September 14, 2023 10:30 pm

Yeah we’re about to vote on one of these ‘deliberative mini-publics’ the usual suspects have cooked up-
Jacinta Price’s speech could mark a ‘turning point’ in Australian race relations (

Bryan A
Reply to  observa
September 14, 2023 11:02 pm

If THEY really wanted a forum that could end polarization and resolve the issues, THEY should consider National Televised Debates. But THEY are afraid of “Debating the issues” as the opposite of their preferred outcome could come to fruition as Climate Truths are revealed and the “Climate Emergency” is laid to rest.

Tom Halla
Reply to  generalmilley
September 15, 2023 6:50 am

Another term for such groups is Fasci. As in Fascist. Purportedly workers assemblies, like a Soviet. Actually producing whatever result the Party apparatchiks desire.

Stephen Wilde
September 14, 2023 10:24 pm

When the people don’t agree, change the people.

Ron Clutz
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
September 15, 2023 12:43 pm

Well said. Or plan C, change what people said to what they should have said. Trudeau claimed that a survey of Canadians supported the carbon tax he imposed. And yet hidden in the details and ignored by media was this chart:

comment image

Full discussion:

September 14, 2023 10:41 pm

Judging by their CV’s, they couldn’t tell anyone the LCL (Lifting Condensation Level) on a standard skew-T diagram, so their Ph.D’s make them less qualified than the average small plane pilot to make any determinations of weather, much less climate….so they are pontificating based on hearsay and should simply be ignored, after being scoffed at.

September 14, 2023 11:25 pm

Get a bunch of selected sheeple friendly to your cause with a few fence sitters. Bombard them with propaganda that all climate change is human caused and getting worse . Get them to vote for all the green lunacy beloved of the elite masters

Reply to  alastairgray29yahoocom
September 14, 2023 11:34 pm

That’s exactly what happened with the UK’s climate assembly.

Reply to  alastairgray29yahoocom
September 16, 2023 4:36 am

It’s a trial with no defense and no rule of procedure.
Also called an Alex Jones trial.

September 14, 2023 11:46 pm

There’s a perfect example of a rigged assembly designed to make sure certain groups were given outsize voice

US senate , each state no matter the population has equal votes….by design not by accident.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 15, 2023 3:08 am

“The senate is there to ensure the rights of the minority don’t get trampled by the majority.”

But with the result that the minority can often trample the rights of the majority.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 15, 2023 4:40 am

It all depends on whose ox is being gored.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 15, 2023 9:05 pm

What are these alleged rights of the majority that are getting trampled?
The right of the majority to force the minority to work for the good of the majority?

George Daddis
Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 15, 2023 7:19 am

The 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators) turned the Founders original concept into a 2nd House of Representatives, electable by “the mob”.

Reply to  George Daddis
September 15, 2023 9:12 pm

The beauty of the constitution was in how it balanced power between different competing blocks. Congress vs the Executive vs the courts. Each with their own defined power centers.
Another designed in conflict was the power of the states vs the power of the federal government. All governments want to expand their power, it’s human nature.
As originally designed, the job of the senate was to represent the interests of the state governments. The federal government couldn’t pass any law that took power away from the states, without the consent of the states, through their representatives in the senate.
Once the states lost representation in the federal government, the federal government was free to grow as big as it wanted to. And it quickly proceeded to do just that.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 15, 2023 8:44 am

which restrained filibuster

There’s also the rule that allows someone to filibuster by saying “I filibuster” instead of taking the floor and refusing to yield. (Probably vastly simplified that rule). I remember reading once of a Senator who for part of his filibuster read the phone book.

Reply to  Duker
September 15, 2023 9:25 am

The senate was designed to represent the interests of the individual states, by design. That’s why members of the senate were selected by the state governments. Making the senate a popular vote was one of the biggest mistakes this country has made.

Joe Gordon
Reply to  MarkW
September 15, 2023 12:23 pm

At this point, do you really trust the people elected to state legislatures to do a better job of choosing senators than the voters? I don’t see how that would change much, except perhaps get us senators even more beholden to extreme party politics.

The only way, and our Founding Fathers said this over and over, to get an effective government is to limit the power of government as much as possible. Everyone these days seems consumed with dividing the country into Democrats and Republicans. All or nothing. Skewing the rules so that their party has more chance of power.

But as we saw with four years of Trump is that the Republicans are no better than the Democrats in controlling spending. They’re no better at resisting the climate religion. It’s hopeless. All we can do is wait until states fail and countries fail and hope that people finally understand what the Founding Fathers understood about limited government.

It’s going to be bad, though. We won’t have a separation of climate church and state for a long time.

ethical voter
Reply to  Joe Gordon
September 15, 2023 1:59 pm

The best way to limit the power of the government is for the people to eschew political parties and elect only independents. This would mean that every legislative decision would require proper examination and a true majority. Also by choosing independents the voters would have a more diverse and better qualified field to choose from. The odd nut case, instead of rising straight to the top, would be harmless.

Reply to  Joe Gordon
September 15, 2023 9:07 pm

I doubt the legislators of the past were much better than those of today.
What I trust state politicians to do is look out for the interests of the states.
The growth of the federal government could not have happened had the states had a means to prevent the federal government from usurping state powers.

That was the role of the senate, to prevent the federal government from growing at the expense of the states.

Reply to  MarkW
September 16, 2023 1:43 pm

The growth of the federal government could not have happened had the states had a means to prevent the federal government from usurping state powers.

I understand what you’re saying, but I think a big part of it is that the states didn’t stand up for their own rights, at least in the beginning. It snowballed from there.

September 15, 2023 12:05 am

The U.K. assembly could not have been more ‘loaded’ or biased

It didn’t work.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 15, 2023 12:31 am

The idea was to bypass democracy

Peta of Newark
September 15, 2023 12:24 am

Oh goody, more politically correct virtue signalling from magical thinkers.
we are soooo saved

Meanwhile and timing is everything, look what my old school has come up with = ‘Climate Conversations’
(as best I can tell, anyone can join in – not just actual alumni of Leeds University)
Partnered with the Daily Mirror newspaper????? The Mirror ffs?

Is it something like a Cage Fight = two opposing people are put in a box, supposedly private, but with unknown numbers of ‘researchers’ eavesdropping, recording and ‘analysing’

I expect they’ll only find what they thought they’d find.
<scrub that>
I know they’ll find…….

‘Quick questionary’ is at:

(As a measure of how it’s likely to progress, or did progress, visit the Mirror link and scroll down to the ‘Comments’
All 3 of them from three weeks ago. haha
You will smile. haha)

Climate Conversations.PNG
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 15, 2023 12:26 am

Climate Conversations….

Turned out nice again!

Reply to  strativarius
September 15, 2023 11:20 am

I’m leaning on a lamppost at the corner of the street
In case a certain little they comes by

September 15, 2023 1:06 am

The answer is simple- hold a referendum

Reply to  Paul Homewood
September 15, 2023 1:07 am

Post Brexit?

Not a chance

ethical voter
Reply to  Paul Homewood
September 15, 2023 2:08 pm

Referenda are rubbish. Guaranteed to deliver an average quality result. Better to elect good, smart, educated and independent people to make decisions democratically. Not party rubbish.

Ed Zuiderwijk
September 15, 2023 2:56 am

We used to call such assemblies: Soviets.

Tom Johnson
September 15, 2023 4:39 am

Someone needs to show these fools a globe. Canada is a HUGE land mass, the bulk of which lies north of the 50th parallel. The majority of its population lives below that. The weather gets comfortable for them, only for a few days in July and August. Global Warming will be nothing but beneficial for ALL of them. There’s no amount of global warming that will bring palm trees to Hudson Bay.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Tom Johnson
September 15, 2023 7:54 am

Re Hudson Bay, 50m year old crocodile bones have been found on both the Arctic Island of Ellesmere and in northern British Columbia. So was certainly hot enough there then. 🙂

Reply to  Tom Johnson
September 15, 2023 12:29 pm

The weather in Canada is extremely variable depending upon where you live. In our neck of the woods the weather is comfortable most of the time with the exception of late December and January. You display the misconception common to many Americans that once you cross the border it’s cold all the time. Three of the most populous cities in Canada are below the 49th parallel and further south than Seattle.

Reply to  Nansar07
September 15, 2023 1:21 pm

I checked a map and the 49th is south of the 50th parallel Tom mentioned. So he displayed a perfect conception of where the majority of where the population lives. Are the coasts different than the interior, yes. But his general comments are valid.

Captain Climate
September 15, 2023 4:40 am

Struggle sessions are so 20th century

September 15, 2023 5:22 am

Truly amusing. There is indeed a Green Party in Canada. Routinely it gets blown out every single election. So rather than whining about partisanship, the silly idiots who pretend to be academics could try harder to get their party elected. Either that, or they are faced with the truth that, for 95% of Canadian voters, Green politics stink worse than a dead skunk.

John the Econ
September 15, 2023 5:56 am

So democracy is not producing the results we want, so we’ll change the democracy to one we can better influence. Got it.

Reply to  John the Econ
September 15, 2023 6:49 am

What might be interesting is to see whom these fools imagine they are convincing.

Tom Halla
September 15, 2023 6:48 am

Well, the US had the Magic Mail-in Ballot Machine in 2020 and 2022, which produces remarkable turnout results. I am sure an even less transparent system will produce whatever results the advocates want.

George Daddis
September 15, 2023 7:13 am

This approach is similar to the Doran-Zimmerman climate consensus study widely touted by alarmists.
10,000 questionnaires were sent out to “earth scientists” and they got about 3,000 back (a pretty good return).

They presumably checked the answers to their 3 questions (only two of which were eventually touted) and then used a mysterious process of culling returns by adding successive restrictions to the qualifications of the responders to be counted until they ended up requiring a title of climate scientist and having published recently in a climate journal. They were left with 79 (or so) responses.
(Why weren’t those required qualifications mentioned in the original questionnaire?)

Lo and Behold, all but 2 of those 79 agreed with their supposition that current temperatures have increased since prior to 1850 (gasp!).

The 2 who disagreed (why?) were culled out of responding to the 2nd question of whether mankind played a “significant” role in that temperature increase. (without defining “significant” – more than by random chance or “substantial”)

(The Cook et al “study” was even more flawed.)

Reply to  George Daddis
September 15, 2023 9:36 am

Another weakness to that question is that there are many ways in which humans can influence temperatures. They assumed that CO2 is the only one that matters. Not a good assumption.

Reply to  MarkW
September 15, 2023 12:55 pm

The Earth is still in a 2.56 million-year ice age named the Quaternary Glaciation in a warmer interglacial period named the Holocene. In most places outside of the tropics it impossible to live year round without lots of technology in the form of warm clothes and shoes, warmed houses, warmed transportation and warmed workplaces

September 15, 2023 7:22 am

“Academics”. In other words, folks who preach from their ivory towers using faux arguments which have never been proven using actual facts. A snake oil salesman’s pitch backed up by corrupt government lackeys utilizing taxpayer paid government agencies to quell any disagreement on what they spout.
Remove the “academics” and turn the campuses into housing for the homeless, hopefully some of the folks who pass themselves off as the “brightest and best” of society. Make them get real jobs to earn their daily bread and watch as they flounder and flop around to survive.
Harsh? Nah, real justice for the morons. Karma at its best.

September 15, 2023 9:18 am

Next step, get rid of democracy altogether and let the self declared experts run everything.

Communism, this time it will work.

September 15, 2023 9:22 am

The other day Biden declared that democracy itself was under attack.

Looks like he was right.

Old Mike
September 15, 2023 11:59 am

The halls of Canadian fake science academia are trying to preserve the golden goose of the Chinese influenced Trudeau and Guilbeault duopoly that has fed them for the last decade.

However, the pendulum is reaching it’s apogee and will soon reverse direction political winds in Canada are shifting, and surprisingly rapidly. The academics know that the Canadian publics tolerance for throwing away any more of their taxes on useless PV/Wind/Carbon-Capture subsidies is close to full depletion. Canadians are slow to anger but once stirred up beware, especially when they live in the parts of the country that can experience -40

The Climate Change Gravy train drivers around the world can now see the end of the tracks, it’s going to be a spectacular pile up. I’ll open my popcorn and watch the scrabbling and blood letting from a distance.

Maybe the displaced academics and climate change freeloaders can learn to mine Coal, or Potash. We could always ship them to run tread-mills in energy starved countries around the globe to give them an understanding of how energy really works.

In the words of Bob Dylan “The times they are A-changin”

September 15, 2023 12:11 pm

“the academics appear to be looking for ways to change the democratic process, to produce the outcome they want.”
Nail. head, whack!

Edward Katz
September 15, 2023 6:13 pm

Except that Canadians, despite what the left-leaning CBC and most mainstream media want them to believe, attach only secondary importance to climate action and certainly don’t intend to make any major lifestyle sacrifices to support it. This is more than simply obvious when all eight emissions reductions plans over the last 35 years have fallen well short of their targets, and few citizens lost any sleep over the results. In fact, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2011 withdrew the country from whatever climate agreement it had earlier signed up for, a CBC poll found 64% of Canadians approved the move since they felt the deal was costing too much money and was consistently falling short its goals anyway.

September 15, 2023 6:50 pm

There is only one solution for this mess. All CAGW advocates must be blocked from using fossil fuel for home, office, transportation or anything. They must also be blocked from using nuclear power. This goes for their immediate family also.

September 16, 2023 4:33 am

They say they support democracy, then they say democracy must be replaced by something else. Which one is it?

At least past thinkers (like Voltaire) were honest about their skepticism about democracy and their lack of confidence in the average man of their time.

Bruce Cobb
September 16, 2023 9:44 am

Democracy has an annoying habit of getting in the way of ideology.

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