A selection of recent publications relating to parliamentary studies prepared with the assistance of the Library of Parliament (September 2022 – November 2022).
Bhattacharya, Caroline, Gavin Hart, Sean Haughey Holden, Stephen Bates, Alexandra Meakin. “Introduction – The past, present and future of parliamentary and legislative studies.” Parliamentary Affairs 75 (4): 697-98, October 2022.
- This special section emanates from the roundtable on the past, present and future of parliamentary and legislative studies, held as part of the PSA Parliaments specialist group’s 2020 annual conference.
Bochel, Catherine. “Procedural justice: New approaches to Parliament’s engagement with the public?” Parliamentary Affairs 75 (4): 919-38, October 2022.
- This article utilises the idea of procedural justice (‘fair processes’) as a tool for analysing the ways in which Parliament engages with the public. It concludes that the engagement work of individual services in Parliament often reflects such ideas, and suggests that procedural justice could have value in bringing new insights to the work of Parliament in this area.
Brock, Kathy. “Executive-parliamentary relations in Canada: Moving forward from the pandemic.” Canadian Public Administration / Administration publique du Canada 65 (3): 497-515, September/septembre 2022.
- The pandemic caused governments worldwide to respond quickly to a greater array of health, economic and social issues in a more concentrated time span than previously. The Canadian public sector had developed many of the tools needed to act with agility to support the government agenda response to these challenges. With the consent of political parties, Parliament modified its operations and passed empowering legislation to provide the executive branch with sweeping powers to act. In this turbulent time, government accountability was delayed but never forgotten as a series of conversations with senior public servants revealed. This article delves into those reflections on the first year of the pandemic to discern how government operations changed and how both Parliament and the public sector can adapt to ensure that government can act effectively and efficiently but be held accountable for its decisions as it addresses more complex policy challenges in future.
Campagnolo, Yan. “Why Québec politicians must swear an oath to the King — even if they don’t want to.” The Conversation: 4p, 19 October 2022.
- The leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, sparked controversy by stating that he will not swear an oath of allegiance to King Charles, as required by the Constitution Act, 1867, before taking his seat in the Québec National Assembly. The two other elected members of his party took the same position. Québec Solidaire followed, with the 11 elected members of their party also refusing to swear an oath to the King. In the wake of this controversy, a number of constitutional experts made comments suggesting that it was possible to refuse taking the oath. They proposed various interpretations and solutions that would, in their view, enable the PQ leader to sit as a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) without swearing allegiance to the King. As a constitutional scholar, I do not share this view.
McCallion, Elizabeth. “From private influence to public amendment? the Senate’s amendment rate in the 41st, 42nd and 43rd Canadian Parliaments.” Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique 55 (3): 583-99, September/septembre 2022.
- Recent reforms to the Canadian Senate removed senators from the Liberal Party caucus and changed the appointment process to be more nonpartisan. This article asks: to what extent did the reforms affect legislative oversight in the Senate? By studying the Senate’s legislative amendments, I find that the reformed Senate is more willing to amend bills than it was previously. The reforms led to sharp increases in the Senate’s amendment rate, the number of amendments moved and the percentage of successful motions in amendment. In interviews, senators revealed that they see oversight differently following the reforms. Senators no longer have opportunities to advise the government in caucus, so they have begun using amendments to exercise oversight. This article concludes that the reforms shifted senators’ understanding of their function of oversight, leading to a higher amendment rate and increased visible scrutiny of government by the Senate.
McKevitt, Dawn. “The role of Attorney General and Minister of Justice; the perspective of an informed citizen.” Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law / Revue de droit parlementaire et politique 16 (3): 703-, September/septembre 2022.
- The position of Minister of Justice and Attorney General is one of the most unique roles held by a member of Parliament in Canada…a daunting responsibility such as this requires a deep understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the position by all those that are involved in government. Without a thorough common understanding, there exists great risk of a breach of the rules governing the conduct of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, including those with respect to prosecutorial independence and confidentiality.
Turk, James L. “The public nature of ministerial tasks: mandate letters before the Supreme Court of Canada.” Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law / Revue de droit parlementaire et politique 16 (3): 601-, September/septembre 2022.
- Cabinet secrecy, one of the significant limits on open and transparent government, will be before the Supreme Court in its coming term. The Court has granted leave to the Ontario Government to appeal an order that it release Premier Ford’s 2018 ministerial mandate letters…The Ontario Cabinet Office’s refusal to release the mandate letters was surprising because, in recent years, previous Ontario governments had made ministerial letters available to the public as have nine of the 13 other federal, provincial, and territorial governments in Canada. At the heart of the case is the issue whether the protection of cabinet deliberations should be narrowly understood or should be a black hole that takes in anything coming near to cabinet.