Dave Meslin is a “professional rabble-rouser.” Based in Toronto, he works to make local issues engaging and even fun to get involved in.

Multi-partisan and fiercely optimistic, Dave Meslin embraces ideas and projects that cut across traditional boundaries between grassroots politics, electoral politics and the arts community. In his work, in Toronto and globally, he attempts to weave elements of these communities together. (His business card reads “Dave Meslin: community choreographer,” which feels about right.)

Some of his projects include 2006’s City Idol contest, which put a sexy new face on council elections; co-editing Local Motion, a book about civic projects in Toronto; and Dandyhorse and Spacing magazines. And he’s part of the Toronto folk/indie collective Hidden Cameras, using their worldwide touring to research voting practices in the cities where they play. He recently founded the Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto (RaBIT).

“For those who know Meslin, the real question is whether or not he will ever run for mayor. “I don’t think so,” he says. “Maybe for councillor, but I wouldn’t run under our current voting system. … For now, I’m getting more accomplished outside of City Hall than I could from within, and I’m having more fun.”” — National Post

Local politics — schools, zoning, council elections — hit us where we live. So why don’t more of us actually get involved? Is it apathy? Dave Meslin says no. He identifies 7 barriers that keep us from taking part in our communities, even when we truly care.