Democracy at its Best: TWU Presents Eighth Annual Mel Smith Lecture

What happens when ordinary voters are trusted with decisions concerning democratic politics? Any community member who has pondered that question will not want to miss Trinity Western University's eighth-annual Mel Smith Lecture featuring David Elton, PhD, Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Lethbridge on Thursday, Feb. 16. Entitled Citizen's Engagement—Democracy at its Best, Elton's lecture explores the intersection of democracy and governing institutions.

With areas of expertise spanning from public opinion to propaganda, Elton taught for 30 years at Lethbridge until 1997. He has long been associated with the Canada West Foundation where he researched topics such as institutional reform and citizens' engagement.

Last May, British Columbians exercised their civic right and participated in a historic referendum to decide whether or not traditional MP selection would be transformed. And while Single Transfer Voting (STV) narrowly missed the minimum target needed to establish change, the process of deliberative democracy that preceded the referendum has drawn attention from around the world—and it holds promise to engage citizens in new ways.

A future political contributor will also be honoured at the event; the recipient of the Mel Smith Scholarship for 2006/07. This award is reserved for an exceptional TWU student majoring in Canadian history or political science.

The Mel Smith Lecture's aim is to foster a British Columbian contribution to significant public policy issues. The event is open to the public, and those concerned about democracy and our governing institutions are encouraged to participate. The lecture will be followed by a response from Paul Rowe, PhD, Assistant Professor of Political and International Studies at TWU, and a questions and answer period.

The Mel Smith Special Collection—chronicling federal-provincial relations during the crucial period of from 1967 to 1992—is housed in TWU's archives and includes a comprehensive set of professional and personal constitutional papers. The collection provides a unique, B.C. perspective on Canadian constitutional issues, and is available to students and researchers from all institutions.

Event: Mel Smith Annual Lecture, featuring David Elton, PhD
Date: Thursday, Feb. 16, 2006
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Northwest Auditorium, TWU campus, 7600 Glover Road.
On-campus directions provided by attendants at campus entrance.
Cost: No charge
Details: Reception will follow lecture
Contact: Inga Warnock at (604) 513-2033 or email

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,300 students this year. With a broad based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas of study ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 14 other graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2007-10-11
Author: Erin Mussolum