Direct Democracy: Plebiscites and Referendums

Lesson Four: Do the People Know Best?

Students will consider the benefits and drawbacks of direct democracy and look at ways to make better democratic decisions.

1.Review the powers that citizens have to bring about plebiscites and referendums in Saskatchewan.

2. Read Do the People Know Best?
• Can we truly understand the views of our opponents if we do not hear them out in their own words?

3. As a summary discussion, ask class to consider the merits and drawbacks of governing by direct democracy.
• Is direct democracy the best possible way of governing society?
• Are some decisions best left to elected representatives?

Final Considerations
4. The final consideration questions point to issues related to direct democracy. They may be best used as a long-form assignment such as a paper or presentation.

Further Exploration
5. To more deeply consider how referendums may produce results that trample the rights of minorities, check out Switzerland’s Minaret Debate from Lesson 5 of Democracy and the Rule of Law.

6. To more deeply consider Hitler’s rise to power, check out The Rise of Naziism and the Destruction of Liberal Democracy from Lesson 3 of Democracy and the Rule of Law.

7. To better understand how we can identify bias, check out Media Smart’s Bias in News Sources Lesson Plan.

8. For ways to identify and deal with so called “fake news,” check out the CBC’s multi-part feature on fake news.

Do the People Know Best?


Final Considerations


What is Revolution?