Connecting with Canadians
The Society We Want [TSWW]
One of the key findings of Exploring Canadian Values, a pathbreaking work by the late Suzanne Peters, published in 1995, was that Canadians want to take part in social policy change. We want the opportunity to deliberate and reach more informed public decisions. To respond to this desire for democratic engagement, CPRN pioneered a public dialogue process called The Society We Want [TSWW].
TSWW is a public dialogue process designed to help citizens and communities explore values, review social policy priorities and objectives, and think through the society they want.
In the pilot phase from April 1996 to February 1998, some 3,000 Canadians met in 200 groups of 8-12 people, and in several larger community-wide gatherings, to deliberate about such key issues as Our Children, The Social Safety Net, Health, The Role of Government and Work.
Following a critical assessment of the pilot phase completed in 1998, the process was modified to respond to a number of important recommendations. These aimed to improve the user-friendliness of materials, the inclusiveness and deliberative nature of the dialogues, and reporting back to participants.
CPRN brought this phase of the TSWW project to a close in June, 2000. The Citizens' Dialogue on The Kind of Canada We Want builds on our experience with the TSWW project.