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The discourse of democracy in Canadian nuclear waste management policy


  • Genevieve Johnson



Canadian nuclear waste management policy has taken a deliberative democratic turn. What explains this turn? What is its significance? What lessons does it teach us? I trace a narrative of a powerful discursive coalition that was able to take advantage of institutional and financial opportunities to advance deliberative democratic decision making. I identify limitations in this turn by evaluating the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s subsequent consultation process against the criteria of inclusion, equality, reciprocity, agreement, and integration. Despite impressive deliberative democratic designs, the process falls short of each criterion. This analysis clarifies the relative importance of actors to coalitions and institutions. Even with a strong coalition and favorable institutional context, realizing deliberative democracy is contingent on the will of involved actors. This conclusion has implications for the theory and practice of deliberative democracy. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLP 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Genevieve Johnson, 2007. "The discourse of democracy in Canadian nuclear waste management policy," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 40(2), pages 79-99, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:policy:v:40:y:2007:i:2:p:79-99
    DOI: 10.1007/s11077-007-9032-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pedro Solbes Mira, 2001. "Interview," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 6(1), pages 29-37.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ryane Straus, 2011. "Citizens’ use of policy symbols and frames," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 44(1), pages 13-34, March.
    2. Ramana, M.V., 2013. "Shifting strategies and precarious progress: Nuclear waste management in Canada," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 196-206.


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