A selection of recent publications relating to parliamentary studies prepared with the assistance of the Library of Parliament (June 2015 -August 2015)
Caldwell, Gary Gordon. “Québec’s Republican Temptation.” Dorchester Review, Spring/Summer 2015: 61-9.
- Republican thought, with its abstract and rationalist character, tends to ignore the geopolitical context – the giant, Anglophone republic to the south.
Davison, Nehal. “Supporting politicians to lead government: insights from the [UK] Institute for Government 2008-15.” The Institute for Government blog, July 3, 2015.
- This post outlines what works when it comes to running a program to support ministers in their new roles.
Devine, Dan. “Cabinet committees, sub-committees and taskforces.” The Institute for Government blog, June 12, 2015.
- Cabinet committees are a window into the power structure and priorities of government.
“Votes for 16-year-olds: ballots for bairns.” Economist. June 13, 2015.
- Scotland is set to lower the voting age – and others may follow.
Every-Palmer, Susanna, Justin Barry-Walsh and Michele Pathé. “Harassment, stalking, threats and attacks targeting New Zealand politicians: a mental health issue.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Forthcoming 2015.
- Due to the nature of their work, politicians are at greater risk of stalking, harassment and attack than the general population.
Farrington, Conor. “Lords reform: some inconvenient truths.” Political Quarterly, April-June 2015: 297-306.
- The author suggests that political debate should focus on small-scale reforms to ensure that the Lords becomes more effective, representative and legitimate, within the constraints of its present role.
Fisher, Lucy. “The growing power and autonomy of [UK] House of Commons select committees: causes and effects.” Political Quarterly, Forthcoming 2015: 1-8.
- The new system of electing committee chairs and members is explored as a central reform that has burnished the autonomy, independence and credibility of the committees…and which has added to the desirability of roles on committees, which now present an alternative career route to the ministerial ladder.
Gibbons, Michael. “Regulatory policy scrutiny: independent advice to government.” The Institute for Government blog, August 3, 2015.
- The Regulatory Policy Committee [UK] has just been given a new role on monitoring progress toward the government’s new £10 billion target for regulatory reduction over this Parliament. The author reflects on the RPC’s impact to date and where it needs to go next.
Gold, Jen. “Are we about to see an era of experimental [UK] government?” The Institute for Government blog, June 25, 2015.
- The author looks at the importance of a new cross-government support service aimed at helping departments run more experimental trials.
Kennedy, Stewart. “Bringing evidence back to Parliament.” Policy Options, July/August 2015.
- An independent parliamentary science officer would help revitalize the role of evidence in democratic debate.
Lewis, Helen. “The motherhood trap: is it easier to reach the top in politics if you don’t have children?” New Statesman, July 17-23, 2015: 26-31.
- The article looks at women in politics in Great Britain and elsewhere, focusing on the disproportionate share of women achieving high political positions who are childless and how this reflects wider social structures of capitalism that disadvantage mothers.
McLaren, Leah. “A party for women, by women.” Maclean’s, June 29, 2015: 40-1.
- How a ‘crazy idea’ launched a rising star of British politics.
Newman, Warren J. “Putting one’s faith in a higher power: Supreme law, the Senate Reform reference, legislative authority and the amending procedures.” National Journal of Constitutional Law, 34(2): 99-120 July 2015.
- This article contends that he Supreme Court’s opinion in the Senate Reform Reference leaves scope for the exercise of legislative power in relation to constitutional amendments and quasi-constitutional legislation of an organic character.
Purser, Pleasance. “Overseas parliamentary news: July 2015.” New Zealand Parliamentary Library
- Under the new French Intelligence Act intelligence agencies cannot request authorisation to conduct surveillance for intelligence purposes, on French territory using specified means, (for example, bugging or key logging of parliamentarians in relation to the exercise of their mandate.
Purser, Pleasance. “Overseas parliamentary news: June 2015.” New Zealand Parliamentary Library
- The Australian Parliament should play a constructive role during treaty negotiations ,and not merely rubber stamp agreements that have been negotiated behind closed doors, said a Senate committee.
Purser, Pleasance. “Overseas parliamentary news: May 2015.” New Zealand Parliamentary Library
- Measures for strengthening the role of committees in Denmark.
Russell, Meg. “The truth about House of Lords appointments.” Constitution Unit blog, July 29, 2015.
- The Prime Minister gave strong indications that he intends to make yet more appointments to the Lords. In doing so, he appeared to invoke a convention that does not exist: that of bringing Lords membership in line with Commons seats.
Salembier, Paul. “Is bad grammar good policy?: legislative use of the singular they.” Statute Law Review, June 2015: 175-85.
- A number of jurisdictions have adopted the use of the singular they, in which the pronoun ‘they’ is used to refer to a singular antecedent noun in order to avoid gender-specific references such as he and she.
Thornton, Daniel. “The [UK] government should give a realistic commitment to agile.” Institute for Government blog, June 30, 2015.
- Despite the fact that the civil service adapts rapidly to overnight reshuffles and changing policy priorities, it makes little use of agile project management.
Wherry, Aaron. “Sober second thought.” Maclean’s, June 22, 2015: 14-16.
- The Library of Parliament traces attempts to substantially reform the Senate to at least 1874.
White, Hannah. “Select committees under scrutiny: the impact of [UK] parliamentary inquiries on government.” Institute for Government blog, June 9, 2015.
- This post presents new research about the impact select committees can have on government.
White, Hannah. “Being an effective [UK] select committee member.” The Institute for Government blog, July 9, 2015.
- Who can tell MPs what makes the difference between being a really effective select committee member and simply making up the numbers?
Wilson, Paul R. “Minister’s Caucus Advisory Committees under the Harper government.” Canadian Public Administration, June 2015: 227-48.
- This article explore a move by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2010 to create a system of Minister’s Caucus Advisory Committees requiring ministers to consult with their backbench colleagues before taking policy proposals to cabinet.
Wright, Anthony. “Recalling MPs: accountable to whom?” Political Quarterly, April-June 2015: 289-96.
- The legislation on the recall of MPs, introduced as a response to the parliamentary expenses scandal, was presented as filling an accountability gap.
Curtis, Bruce. “La commission d’enquête comme réflexivité gouvernementale.” Bulletin d’histoire politique, 23:21-37, No. 3, 2015.
- Canadian law states that commissions of inquiry may be created on “any matter connected with the good government of Canada or the conduct of any part of the public business thereof.” A look at the history of these commissions reveals the public problems at the heart of society since the country’s formation, and even well before 1867.
France. Parliament. Senate. Comparative Studies in Law Branch. “Les mesures destinées à favoriser la participation parlementaire.” January-June, 2015.
- This note is about the systems that facilitate, encourage or strengthen the participation of parliamentarians on national or federal committees in the work of these committees.
Savoie, Donald J. “La fonction publique canadienne a perdu ses repères.” Canadian Public Administration, June 2015: 205-26.
- Some 30 years ago, in Anglo-American democracies, politicians adopted a series of measures designed to give them a dominant position in developing public policy and pushing senior public servants to become better managers.