Citizens have created many ways for their voices to be heard by the government throughout the year. Some of the more popular strategies to be used are pressure groups and lobbying, petitions and civil disobedience. Pressure group and lobbyists are an effecting group of people with similar beliefs, people who will come together to make a difference or to prove a point. These people are usually people higher up socially or economically, with experience, and or have previous understandings within the government system. Because these individuals participating in the pressure groups are typically respected, there is a good chance with a combined effort of change being made. These groups are effective and powerful but are not always acting to benefit the greater good of others with less of a say. Relating this to a case study about NAFTA, the pressure group involved was made up of a group of business men/ CEO’s who were mainly interested in their own wealth and growth. With their actions, they failed to acknowledge the damage they would be causing to the public, causing an extreme loss of jobs and other negative effects. Over all pressure groups and the use of lobbyists are an effective route to make change, but not always resulting in a fair and or positive outcome.
Petitions are another way to act on an issue. By having a large group of ordinary people sign a petition agreeing to a common issue, you can be sure that it is in the better interests of the public. Although the guide lines to make a valid petition is detailed, they are a simple way to tell the government that there is a public concern within the community. Petitions are a civil and not violent way to make change, but unfortunately have some downsides. They are not always the most reliably way to ask the government to address your issue because by law, the Canadian government is not obliged to address your concern even though they must read it. It is ultimately their decision weather they choose to consult the issue or address it no matter how many people signed off or how compelling the argument may be. Looking back at the HST case study, we see a positive time the petition method worked in a real-life scenario. When Canadians were not happy with the tax change from PST and GST to the 12% HST tax, they held a petition and an election was placed on this topic. In this case the petitions helped give the public a voice and resulted in the HST being repealed.
Lastly civil disobedience is a method used to get attention from the government. Advantages from civil disobedience would be from getting a wide range of attention and hopefully making the change you are working for. civil disobedience is when one, or a group of people break the law for a purpose, taking a stand to make a change. Unfortunately, this has not always worked very well in the past, it is not made to be violent but sometimes will resort to it, ex. Riots, rallies. In the Viola Desmond report, you will read about an extraordinary woman who took stand against racial discrimination by doing a simple act of resistance, through the form of civil disobedience. By simply sitting in the wrong section of a theatre she raised a lot of awareness towards her issue and made todays Canada so much more accepting to people of other races and equal human rights to all. Viola Desmond is proof that civil disobedience does not always have to be about committing a crime, causing an abrupt violent outbreak.