Meziktilar Some of these changes would alter the power of the governor general. The authors argue that the prime minister is unconstrained because of the unwritten nature of the role p. A Fundamental Democratic Problem Chapter 2: This was an awesome and comprehensive review of the current democratic deficiencies in our system, followed by a logical, well thought out and researched plan for addressing the identified problems. At the very least, this book provides a foundation to inform democratziing process.
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Start your review of Democratizing the Constitution: Reforming Responsible Government Write a review Sep 29, Derek Simon rated it it was amazing A very readable and scholarly overview of how we can reform the Canadian constitution to prevent some of the abuses we have seen by recent Prime Ministers.
It details the problems with the status quo and provides detailed and practical proposals for reform. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Jarvis, and Lori Turnbull sets out a rather simple case. Its a case often presented by the intelligentsia in this country in newspapers and debates, and here it is again in this book that our democracy is unwell, and requires reform to continue to function.
The authors write that political scientists were unable to reach a common ground, and point out that if experts were unable to come to a clear answer then how are everyday citizens supposed to draw a conclusion? Should the Governor General have prorogued parliament despite expressions of non-confidence from the House and parties willing to form a new government? Should the Prime Minister have ultimately control over these powers when the source of his power, confidence in the House, falls into question?
Ultimately the authors do not weigh in on the issue but point out that this kind of confusion and abuse by the Prime Minister fundamentally undermines our status as a responsible government and democracy.
The Prime Minister, using the full executive power of our system, can abuse and run roughshod over the House of Commons, which is supposed to be supreme. Critically, the authors highlight how Canada is the outlier when compared to the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Documents in those countries expressly define the rules and conditions for the conventions. In Canada a vague set of precedents that are easily violable are in place where the realm of partisan interest increasingly holds sway.
The fifth fleshes out the issues in our actual elections and government formation, and finally, sixth the authors propose a package of reforms. I should be clear that the authors are not particularly concerned with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Though his actions have stretched, broken and violated parliament to the greatest extent the authors see a clear pattern in the accumulation of power to our head of government.
The trouble is with institutional decline. This book caused me to fundamentally change my opinion on one matter. The authors state that whatever flaws the first-past-the-post system Canada may have reforming how we elect MPs is irrelevant if the fundamental issue of prime ministerial power is not checked. Democratizing even has me reconsidering my position on fixed election dates. The authors propose a number of reforms to check the power of the prime minister.
They compliment, support and help constrain the power of the prime minister while empowering individual MPs, the House of Commons, and by extension, citizens. Reading chapter six I could not help but wonder what Ontario would look like today if these reforms were in place over the last few years. The brinksmanship that tormented the legislature would have been useless because no legislation would have doomed Ontario to a fresh election.
Perhaps under the circumstances the Tories would have been inclined to govern with the Liberals, or the ONDP would have been offered a power-sharing deal. This is a frank, straightforward, though academic, discussion of the crisis at the heart of Canadian democracy. It is a necessary read for citizens concerned about our country and wondering what is going so terribly wrong. The authors offer peace of mind in a positive set of reforms and forceful rebuke of naysayers and defeatists.
The problems are institutional and will require great leadership to end them. As a country Canada cannot remain on its current path and expect to be anything other than a semi-democratic state. Full of ideas for democratic reform. My only complaints are that it is a bit dry and largely overlooks the important role the governor-general should have. Feb 19, Jason rated it really liked it An interesting argument for signficiant changes to how Canada is governed, but argued from one severly flawed premise.
Dec 20, Victor Andres rated it really liked it This was an awesome and comprehensive review of the current democratic deficiencies in our system, followed by a logical, well thought out and researched plan for addressing the identified problems. A must read for anyone aspiring to political office, for current parliamentarians, and indeed for any citizen wishing to become engaged again in the political process.
Nov 06, Saul rated it really liked it This book is a "must read" for any Canadian who values our democratic system of government, and to understand why there is so much cynicism today about politics and Parliament.
Will we continue to allow a "benign dictator", also known at the Prime Minister, to abuse power? Jun 19, Brodie Conley rated it it was amazing A thoughtful take on the current democratic malaise in Canada. Full of top-notch policy proposals for improving democratic governance in the context of the Canadian system of responsible government. Mar 30, Bruce Dayman rated it it was amazing Every Canadian needs to read this book!
Jarvis, and Lori Turnbull. Toronto: Emond Montgomery, It is often said that Canadian government works in practice, not in theory. Our Constitution barely mentions the prime minister or responsible government, yet the prime minister rules and responsible government prevails. So goes the typical refrain. However, according to the late Peter Aucoin, Mark D.
DEMOCRATIZING THE CONSTITUTION AUCOIN PDF
Start your review of Democratizing the Constitution: Reforming Responsible Government Write a review Sep 29, Derek Simon rated it it was amazing A very readable and scholarly overview of how we can reform the Canadian constitution to prevent some of the abuses we have seen by recent Prime Ministers. It details the problems with the status quo and provides detailed and practical proposals for reform. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Jarvis, and Lori Turnbull sets out a rather simple case. Its a case often presented by the intelligentsia in this country in newspapers and debates, and here it is again in this book that our democracy is unwell, and requires reform to continue to function.
Democratizing the Constitution: Reforming Responsible Government
Jarvis and Lori Turnbull. Democratizing the Constitution: Reforming Responsible Government. Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications, For example, on dissolution, Eugene Forsey and other scholars have suggested that if a prime minister requested a dissolution not long after a general election perhaps within six months the governor general, based on the reserve powers of the office, could refuse the request and invite the leader of the opposition to try to obtain the confidence of the House of Commons. Others dispute what is sometimes seen as a lesson of the King-Byng crisis of and take the view that the governor general does not have such discretion. Less than two months after the October 14, , election, the three opposition parties issued a public written declaration of nonconfidence in the Harper government.