Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

This is a podcast for the curious. Strap yourself in for genuine dialogues with people who think deeply and are ready to tackle the big questions, such as broadcaster Terry O'Reilly, fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay, and journalist Sally Armstrong.

Join Ben Charland to peel back the headlines and ask, what are the forces, people and ideas that shape the human story today? From the Mafia to the Beavertonwomen in politics to women in leadershiphistory to artificial intelligence, and entrepreneurship in the digital age to the art of wheelchair fencing, just what on Earth is going on?

Subscribe to the podcast now.


Jun 26, 2020

What if being a Member of Parliament or Congress had nothing to do with an election, but rather worked like jury duty? What if our officials were seated randomly in a legislature? What if we innovated the very idea of government itself?

Dave Meslin says our politics is broken, but instead of repeating this from the sidelines, he's got 100 common-sense fixes. They are all detailed in his fascinating and provocative book, Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up. Ben chats with Dave in Toronto.

About the Guest

Multi-partisan and fiercely optimistic, Meslin’s presentations focuses on how we can overcome cynicism and create a culture of participation. His unassuming presence, creativity and sense of humour keep audiences enthralled. Meslin encourages those present to find what was important to them and become engaged in the process of promoting change by creative participation.

The Toronto Star has described him as “mad scientist”, “a start-up genius” and “a peripatetic public convener”. The Globe and Mail simply calls him a “persuasive rabble rouser”. Dancing between the worlds of mainstream politics and grassroots activism, Meslin has found positive ways to bring them both together and turn energy into action.

His TED talk “The Antidote to Apathy” has been viewed over 1.7 million times and translated into 37 languages. A CBC appearance in 2015, involving towers of colourful LEGO, has been watched 2.5 million times on Facebook.

Meslin’s resume of non-profit start-ups also includes the Toronto Public Space Committee, the Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto, City Idol, Spacing Magazine, Unlock Democracy Canada, the Downtown De-Fence Project, Dazzling Notice Awards, and DandyHorse Magazine. While he feels most comfortable working with small grassroots non-profits, Meslin has also donned a suit and tie and worked as an Executive Assistant at both City Hall and Queen’s Park. Meslin is currently crowd-sourcing 100 Remedies for a Broken Democracy for his next book.

Learn more about Dave or follow him on Twitter (@meslin).

Mentioned in this Conversation

  • Episode 1 of this podcast, featuring a conversation about populism with political scientist Keith Banting
  • The Magna Carta, literally "great charter, an agreement of rights signed in 1215 by the English monarch and a group of rebel aristocrats. While the charter failed to prevent conflict at the time, it presaged what would come and became a historically vital document for our modern conception of democracy.
  • The Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform, created by the government of British Columbia in 2004 to investigate changes to the province's electoral system.
  • Data collected by the Inter-Parliamentary Union ranks Canada no. 61 (previously 62) in gender representation in government.

The Quote of the Week

Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing.
- Archibald MacLeish