New research questions legitimacy and competency of Canada’s governing authorities

When researchers and advocates look at how governing authorities in many developing nations organize their societies and fail to provide the conditions necessary for health, they frequently apply the labels “incompetent” and “illegitimate.” They also suggest that many members of these societies are systematically exploited, excluded from participation in society and dominated by powerful, usually wealthy elites.

Dennis Raphael

Dennis Raphael

In a new paper, York University health policy and management Professor Dennis Raphael and colleagues argue that considering the situation of Indigenous peoples, the growing precarity of employment, the housing and food insecurity crises, and the continuing elevated levels and deepening of poverty in Canada, these terms should be applied to Canada and its governing authorities.

The paper, “Governmental Illegitimacy and Incompetency in Canada and other Liberal Nations: Implications for Health,” is published in the International Journal of Health Services.

“We have suggested that many concepts usually applied to the developing world may be relevant to the governance scene in Canada and other Anglo-Saxon liberal nations,” said Raphael. “The inability of Canadian institutions to respond to these problematic situations requires the mobilization of the public to literally force governing authorities to act. Canadian public policy may be reflecting order and, at least at this point, peace, but it certainly is not providing good government.”

The article by Raphael was co-authored by York health policy and equity PhD student Morris Komakech, University of Ontario Institute of Technology Associate Professor Toba Bryant, and York University health policy and equity master’s student Ryan Torrence. The paper is available to read online.

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