Drawing from several chapters contained in Canadian Democracy from the Ground Up: Perceptions and Performance, in this article Elisabeth Gidengil and Heather Bastedo examine citizens’ evaluations of their elected representatives and assess several key aspects of MPs’ performance in light of these evaluations. Noting some possible reasons for a disjuncture between citizens’ perceptions of MPs and how MPs perform their representational roles, the authors suggest some possible avenues for improving MPs’ public image.
Satisfaction with the way democracy works in Canada lags behind a number of other established democracies. In fact, only a bare majority of Canadians (55 per cent) are satisfied with the country’s democratic performance, placing Canada in 11th place among 20 countries in which the same question was posed.1 Moreover, dissatisfaction with the way democracy works in Canada has grown in recent years. Canadians appear to be particularly displeased with the performance of their MPs.2 But is their dissatisfaction warranted?