Lesson 4: Democratic and Equality Charter Rights

Snapshot

Grade Level

8-10

Duration

2 periods; if the model election simulation is done it will take 2 additional periods

Lesson Plan (PDF)

Introduction

Democracy is a concept that, as Canadians, we all understand at some basic level. We tend to think of it as an absolute – Canada is a democracy, while many other countries are not. This lesson will introduce students to both the nature of the democratic rights that are enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as some of the complexities of defining countries as democratic and undemocratic. Students will become familiar with the basics of the electoral process in local elections in BC. An optional “Model Election” assignment is included.  Students also look at federal elections and the right and responsibility to vote.

Objectives

At the end of this lesson students will:

  • Understand the wording of the Democratic Rights sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and their practical application
  • Explore aspects of the factors that contribute to a country being considered democratic
  • Learn the basics of the procedures and rules for electing members of local government
  • Understand and explain how electoral boundaries are created and revised
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the voting process (the writ, enumeration, election campaign, voting, and tabulation)
  • Identify and understand different electoral systems — first past the post, proportional representation and single transferable vote
  • Become familiar with common reasons that some citizens do not vote
  • Develop and defend a position on whether or not voting is a responsibility

Focus Questions

  1. What democratic rights do Canadians have?
  2. What factors contribute to a country’s status as a democratic nation?
  3. What is a local government election?
  4. What are the rules governing the holding of local government elections?
  5. What are the rules governing federal elections?
  6. Who is eligible to vote?
  7. Do Canadians have not only the right to vote but the responsibility to vote?

Teaching Summary

Topic 1: Democratic Rights

Students will examine democratic rights in Canada and then expand that knowledge by looking at the factors that make any country democratic. They will work in groups to decide what degree of democracy is found in seven make-believe countries.

Topic 2: Elections

Local Government Elections

Students will read about local government elections and answer questions about what they read. If the teacher decides to hold a model local election they can learn first-hand about the process in this optional activity.

Federal Elections

Students are introduced to the processes and procedures of a federal election and will look for words to match to the word clues on the word search handout.

Topic 3: Right and Responsibility to Vote

Students have learned that democratic participation is a factor that enhances the degree and quality of democracy in a country. In Canada, while our democratic rights are well protected and our electoral system is sound, we have seen an erosion in the participation rate of eligible voters in our federal, provincial and local elections. Students will examine by conducting a small voter survey and then debate whether we, as citizens, have not only a right to vote but also a responsibility to vote.