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Statement on International Day of Democracy

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement: September 15, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada “Despite the challenges democracies face worldwide, we can take heart in the fact that people everywhere continue to fight for their freedoms, dignity, and human rights, online and offline. On this International Day of Democracy, let us renew our commitment to the inclusive, democratic values that are essential to the world we want.” “The promotion and protection of democratic principles is at the heart of Canada’s international engagement. We are working to uphold and build democratic norms through our participation at the UN and in other multilateral organizations. Canada currently serves as president of the Community of Democracies and is an active member of multi-stakeholder organizations, such as the Open Government Partnership, the Media Freedom Coalition, the Freedom Online Coalition and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance—all of which are working to promote and protect democracy, reinforce trust and confidence in democratic institutions and governments, and ensure that people have the opportunity to engage with their governments without fear. In 2021-2022, Canada contributed 9 million toward inclusive governance globally, with 6 million specifically allocated to supporting democracy initiatives. These initiatives empower young people, including women and girls in all their diversity – who have time and again proven their ability to galvanize action on climate change, social justice and other critical issues—to act as democratic leaders and decision-makers. “The International Day of Democracy is a timely opportunity to renew our commitment to democratic principles and values at this pivotal juncture for all countries. No system of government is perfect, but democratic governance is the surest route to lasting peace, sustainable prosperity, and the respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights for all. Unfortunately, democracy today faces unprecedented challenges worldwide. Threats to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, and the undermining of information integrity are all contributing to the erosion of civic space. We are also seeing too many countries with electoral processes that are disrupted or targeted by malicious attempts to disinform. These attempts interfere with people’s capacity to access transparent, factual and independent information, to freely participate in elections, and to exercise their right to vote.

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