The State of Research on Canada’s Parliament

The State of Research on Canada’s Parliament

In 2009 the Library of Parliament commissioned the author to conduct a study about the state of academic research on the Parliament of Canada over the last decade. The 200 page report looked at publications on our representative institutions in books and refereed and other journals, papers presented to mainstream political science conferences, and grants to support research from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council, including the Canada Research Chairs program, and at the programs of the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The goal was to locate activity centred on Parliament, casting as wide a net as feasible. This article is a selective summary of that report.

Why study Parliament? Parliament is at the centre of Canadian democracy, whether its components function well or poorly. No matter how powerful the executive may appear to be, the House of Commons remains the public face of the government and the opposition, and the site of final decisions regarding how money will be spent both domestically and internationally.