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Author Biography

Shelley Boulianne is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at MacEwan University. She received her PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007.

Kristjana Loptson currently holds a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Saskatchewan. She received her PhD in political science from the University of Alberta in 2017. She was a research assistant with Alberta Climate Dialogue from 2011-2016.

David Kahane is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta in Canada. From 2010-2016 he led Alberta Climate Dialogue, an international project that convened citizens to deliberate on climate change and influence climate policy. He teaches and researches democratic theory and practice, especially as these relate to the design of collaborative citizen and stakeholder processes, and to questions of sustainability and systems change.

Abstract

Citizen panels offer an alternative venue for gathering input into the policy-making process. These deliberative exercises are intended to produce more thoughtful and informed inputs into the policy-making process, compared to public opinion polls. This paper highlights a six day deliberative event about energy and climate issues, tracking opinion changes before and after the deliberation, as well as six months after the deliberation. In two of the five policy domains, opinions change as a result of the deliberation and these changes endure six months after the deliberation. The tracking of opinions across the three points in time reveals a pattern of convergence between panelists’ views and poll results for three of the five policy domains. Panelists were overly optimistic about many of the policy options prior to deliberation, but became more critical of these policies post-deliberation, moving their opinions closer to those of poll respondents.

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