Democracy Rising


The Hill Times: Best Books of 2017

What are the limits of Canadian democracy and how are they being expanded by a revolution in participatory democracy?

The Brexit vote in Britain and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States illustrate that our system of representative democracy is in deep trouble.

There are signs of political alienation everywhere. Most believe that government is run by a few big interests. Wealthy corporations receive grants and beneficial regulations. The incomes of middle and lower earners have remained stagnant or decreased.

The way to change this imbalance is by strengthening our democracy and encouraging participation in the political process. A powerful grassroots movement of participatory democracy is emerging. Freeman’s message is that democracy is rising in this country, but we must organize to redress the dominance of business interests, and finally fulfil the promise of government by the people.


The challenge of democratizing democracy is key to the survival of our society. Without putting a participatory democracy in place, we can never reverse the environmental crisis, and establish a balance with Nature.

Dimitri Roussopoulos, author of Political Ecology: Beyond Environmentalism

Bill Freeman champions the idea that it is possible to achieve social justice democratically through organizing from the ground up.

Adam Vaughan, MP, Spadina—Fort York

This is a very important book. It argues that only grassroots organizations can bring the changes we need to reform our political practices and engage people in public life.

Irene Mathyssen, MP, London—Fanshaw

In this highly readable book, Bill Freeman successfully captures the history, and the vast breadth and depth, of Canadian community based organizations. He tells their stories with insight, often derived from his own personal involvement. This book will inspire, and delivers a road map for our communities, and our country. Even better, he shows how to get there.

Brian Iler, lawyer and community activist

About the Authors

Bill Freeman

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
Bill Freeman photo

Bill Freeman

Bill Freeman is a Canadian urban issues writer and winner of the Governor General's Literary Award. He has authored nineteen books, including The New Urban Agenda. Bill lives on Toronto Island.