Christopher H. Achen
Voter turnout, particularly among youth, has been in decline over the past few decades. Federal officials have expressed concern about this trend. Although they have sought help from researchers to understand the reasons for the lack of participation in hopes of reversing it, scholars lack some of the information they need to confidently advise policymakers and their fellow citizens on how to get more ballots cast. In this article, the author outlines the main factors/variables which explain voter turnout. He then explains why researchers require supplementary information that only official government records can supply to properly consider these variables. Two sources of official information are highlighted as being particularly relevant—official turnout records and unemployment surveys with a voting supplement. The author concludes by offering three recommendations for how to make this information available to researchers while still taking steps to protect Canadians’ privacy.
Continue reading “Understanding Voter Turnout in Canada: What Data Do We Lack?”
During the past 30 years, New Brunswick’s Assembly has witnessed a trio of legislative oddities. First, in 1987, one party won every seat in the Assembly, meaning there was no opposition presence among MLAs. Second, in 1994, changing standings among caucuses in the Assembly created a situation where two opposition parties had an equal number of seats and vied to be recognized as the Official opposition. Third, and most recently, a general election resulted in New Brunswick’s first minority parliament since 1920. The incumbent government attempted to demonstrate it retained the confidence of the Assembly despite losing its majority, but was defeated when the House met to consider the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. After briefly summarizing the first two oddities, the authors deal substantively with the third and explain how the precarity of a minority parliament and policy differences among the four parties in the Assembly could mean the electorate will return to the polls well in advance of the province’s next fixed election date.
Continue reading “New Brunswick’s ‘Hung Legislature’ of 2018: Completing the Trilogy of Legislative Oddities”
How can we establish equitable gender representation in Canadian politics and parliament? What obstacles stand in the way of this goal? And, what can serving Canadian parliamentarians tell us about the challenges they have either experienced or witnessed among their colleagues. In this article, the authors use primary interviews with six MPs and a secondary literature review to explore theories used in support of methods designed to improve gender representation. They conclude by suggesting that methods to improve gender representation in politics need to be fulsome and diverse.
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In 2018 we lost one of the most significant voices participating in the study, discussion, and promotion of Canada’s parliamentary democracy. C.E.S. Franks’ was well known amongst scholars for his decades of work based at Queen’s University; but he was also known among the Canadian public as an expert commentator frequently sought out by journalists who covered Canadian politics. In this article, the author pays tribute to Franks by highlighting his seminal work, The Parliament of Canada (1987), and explaining how its insights remain relevant to any debate on how and why Parliament could or should be reformed.
Continue reading “Parliament and Parliamentary Reform: The Enduring Legacy of C.E.S. Franks”
More than 200 years ago work began on a building that would become a central part of Nova Scotia’s political and administrative future. Province House was not only a functional place where parliamentary debate could take place and government business could get done, but also a work of art. In this article, the author tells the story of its construction and how the province is celebrating its bicentennial.
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On January 18, 2019, the Canadian Study of Parliament Group held a seminar entitled “Gearing Up for the Next Election” to hear from experts about the preparations necessary in advance of the fall 2019 election. The well-attended gathering brought together political strategists as well as the Chief Electoral Officer and Parliamentary Budget Officer.
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On Friday, November 16, 2018, the Canadian Study of Parliament Group held a Parliamentary Business Seminar on Parliamentary Diplomacy, inviting experts to discuss various aspects of parliamentary involvement in foreign affairs. One panel explored how parliamentary diplomacy occurs in Canada while a second panel gathered current and former parliamentarians who participated in parliamentary diplomacy to offer their personal and professional reflections.
Paul EJ Thomas and Charlie Feldman
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Passing of Nunavut Speaker Joe Enook
The Honourable Joe Enook, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut, passed away on March 29, 2019, following a short illness.
In announcing the passing, Deputy Speaker Simeon Mikkungwak stated that:
Continue reading “The Canadian Scene”
Adam M. Dodek, The Charter Debates: The Special Joint Committee on the Constitution, 1980-81, and the Making of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Continue reading “Parliamentary Bookshelf: Reviews”
A selection of recent publications relating to parliamentary studies prepared with the assistance of the Library of Parliament (December 2018-March 2019)
Bell, Lauren C. “Obstruction in parliaments: a cross-national perspective.” The Journal of Legislative Studies 24 (4), December 2018: 499-525.
Continue reading “New and Notable Titles”