Prof. John Borrows: What Are The Greatest Challenges Populism Poses To Democracy?

In this video, John Borrows, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria Law School, discusses how populism can be a good challenge for democracy but can also undermine it. According to John Borrows, it could have a positive influence on democracy because it induces us to take the critique of populism seriously and to find proper ways to engage different groups in the democratic process.

Nevertheless, populism can have negative consequences if only some people have the right to participate in this process and the “people” is defined in narrow ways under increasingly narrow ethnic identifications. Thus – notes Borrows – if populism becomes about only some people’s views and those views are empowering people to put down those who are vulnerable, then that populism presents a negative challenge.

This video is part of the CEDoD project and was produced as part of the event “Constitutionalism in the Age of Populism”, which took place on 6-8 March, 2020 in Victoria, BC. CEDoD stands for “Canada Europe Dialogue on Democracy: Democratic Deficit and the Rise of Populism in Europe”. This project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Action of the European Union, the Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Faculty of Law at the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council and the University of Victoria: the Faculty of Law, the Centre for Global Studies, Vice President Research Office, Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Social Sciences. The European Union support for the production of publications does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflect the views only of the authors, and cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.