A selection of recent publications relating to parliamentary studies prepared with the assistance of the Library of Parliament (December 2020 – February 2021)
Burns, Ian. “Possibility of conflict in chief justice’s role as acting governor general limited: legal scholar.” The Lawyer’s Daily 3p., February 10, 2021.
The resignation of Julie Payette as governor general last month after allegations of workplace harassment led to Chief Justice Richard Wagner assuming her powers on an interim basis until a replacement is found. But legal scholars are saying any concerns about potential conflicts of interest between the chief justice seemingly straddling both the executive and judicial branches are fairly minor.
Hazell, Robert. “The Fixed-term Parliaments Act: should it be amended or repealed?” Constitution Unit 8p., December 11, 2020.
A parliamentary committee has been established to review the effectiveness of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. Rather than wait for its conclusions, the government has published a draft bill designed to return control of the timing of general elections to the executive. The author examines the issues the committee will have to consider, and proffers some possible improvements to the status quo.
Inter-Parliamentary Union. “Social media guide for parliaments and parliamentarians.” Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union, 52 p., 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic that emerged in 2020 has again brought into sharp focus the vital role that social media plays in keeping people connected and allowing them to share information and opinions…this guide is structured as a “playbook”: a more informal and adaptable format that includes a series of short case studies. As well as supporting parliaments in using social media more effectively, it is also geared towards parliamentarians.
Lim, Jordan Preston. “Parliamentary debate as a driver of military justice reform in Canada.” Canadian Journal of Law and Society / La Revue Canadienne Droit et Société 35 (3): 437-54, December 2020.
In June 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada pronounced judgment in the case of R v Stillman, upholding the military justice system’s ability to try serious civil offences. The Stillman decision highlighted one key mechanism of military justice reform: court judgments. This article argues, however, that military legal experts have overlooked Parliamentary debate as a key driver of military reform…
Lovewell, Mark. “Opinion – Royal Descent – Rideau Hall is brought down to earth.” Literary Review of Canada 29 (2): 7, March 2021.
…Justin Trudeau should set aside whatever animus he feels toward Stephen Harper and reinstitute the perfectly sensible arrangements of his immediate predecessor.
Mahéo, Valérie-Anne, Bélanger, Éric. “Lowering the voting age to 16? A comparative study on the political competence and engagement of underage and adult youth.” Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique 53 (3): 596-617, September 2020.
One reform considered for increasing voter turnout rates is to lower the voting age to 16 years old. Advocates of such a reform argue that young people would vote for the first time while they are still in school and living with their parents, which would provide a social context that is supportive of their electoral participation. However, opponents argue that 16- and 17-year-olds are not mature enough to take part in elections…
Manning, Susan M, “The Canadian Senate: An institution of reconciliation?” Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d’études canadiennes 54 (1): 1-24, Winter/hiver 2020.
Growing mainstream awareness of tensions surrounding Indigenous rights and recent political movement to promote reconciliation suggest that the time might be ripe to revisit some of the most important ideas for strengthening Indigenous Peoples’ place and space within the Canadian federation, particularly within the country’s central political institutions. This article argues that the Canadian Senate has the potential to be an important institution for reconciliation in Canada’s system of federalism…
Russell, Meg. “Parliaments and COVID-19: principles and practice; challenges and opportunities.” Constitution Unit 6p., December 9, 2020.
In the UK and around the world parliaments have had to adjust their practices to the unexpected new environment of COVID-19. This has brought major challenges but, some suggest, also opportunities in terms of suggesting future means for parliaments to adapt. This post starts from the core principles of parliamentary functioning, briefly reviews practice under COVID-19, and considers the primary opportunities and challenges presented…
Russell, Meg, Gover, Daniel. “Taking back control: why the House of Commons should govern its own time.” Constitution Unit 78p: January 2021.
The House of Commons is the senior chamber in the UK’s sovereign parliament, to which the executive is accountable. Yet MPs have surprisingly little control over what the Commons can discuss, and when…this report addresses why MPs lack control of their own institution, what problems this causes and, crucially, what should be done.