New and Notable Titles

Article 9 / 11 , Vol 46 No. 2 (Summer)

New and Notable Titles

A selection of recent publications relating to parliamentary studies prepared with the assistance of the Library of Parliament (March 2023 – May 2023).

Bélanger, Danièle, Laurence Simard-Gagnon, Adèle Garnier, and Gabriel Bergevin-Estable. “Immigration Emergency Rooms – Constituency Offices and Staff as the front line of immigration to Canada. » World Migration Dynamics 22p, April 2023.

  • …immigration files constitute an important part of the work of constituency staff, especially in urban ridings, where the proportion of the immigrant population is higher than elsewhere. In many constituency offices, one or more constituency assistants are dedicated full-time to immigration.

Bowden, J.W.J. “Party discipline & the King Doctrine.” The Dorchester Review 12 (2): 47-58, Autumn/Winter 2022.

  • Canada’s ironclad controls are beginning to rust out.

Bowden, J.W.J. “The ever-expanding House of Commons and the decennial debate over representation by population.” Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law / Revue de droit parlementaire et politique 17 (1): 101-, March/mars 2023.

In 2022, the House of Commons considered two superficially similar bills to amend the Representation Formula in section 51(1) of the Constitution Act, 1867. But they were, in fact, radically different…these two competing bills represent two conflicting theories on the purpose and nature of political representation in Canada and a debate which ultimately extends back to Confederation: liberalism, based on individualism and equality of votes between individuals, and communitarianism based on representation of communities, economic units, regions, or peoples.

Dutil, Patrice. “Crisis of cabinet government – The essence of our system is at stake.” The Dorchester Review 12 (1): 42-51, Spring/Summer 2022.

The practice of cabinet government has been in crisis for years: its machinery and spirit need to be relearned, updated, and improved.

Feldman, Charlie. “Federalism review in Parliament: scrutiny mechanisms describe.” Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law / Revue de droit parlementaire et politique 17 (1): 139-, March/mars 2023.

Both federal and provincial legislators in Canada are confronted with questions about whether the bills before them are intra vires given sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867. This reality was vividly illustrated during a debate in which the Prime Minister implored parliamentarians to defeat a bill on the grounds that it encroached provincial legislative authority. The legislation passed Parliament and was found ultra vires by Quebec’s Court of Appeal, only to have its constitutionality later confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada. Whether the Parliament of Canada – under section 91 – or the legislative assembly of a province – under section 92 – possesses legislative authority in a particular instance can prove to be an extremely vexing question of law…

Hynes, Aaron. “How to reinvigorate the Senate.” The Dorchester Review 12 (1): 52-61, Spring/Summer 2022.

To restore the Upper House to its proper role, it must be elected.

Keyes, John Mark. “Parliamentary scrutiny and judicial review of executive legislation – Is it working in Canada?” Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law / Revue de droit parlementaire et politique 17 (1): 191-, March/mars 2023.

Executive legislation is a form of law made by government bodies or officials to whom primary legislators (parliaments and legislatures) have delegated legislative authority. The exercise of this authority is subject to both parliamentary scrutiny and judicial review. This paper looks at the relationship between these functions and considers whether they are being performed sufficiently to ensure democratic accountability for executive legislation. It concludes that although these functions do not conflict, there are serious concerns about whether they ensure democratic accountability for executive legislation in Canada.

Leston-Bandeira, Cristina. “How public engagement has become a must for parliaments in today’s democracies.” Australasian Parliamentary Review 37 (2): 8-16, Spring/Summer 2022.

This short text outlines why public engagement should be seen as a core activity together with parliaments’ other core roles such as law-making, scrutiny and representation.

Olson, Kari. “Saskatchewan Hansard celebrates 75 years of parliamentary reporting.” The Parliamentarian – Journal of the Parliaments of the Commonwealth 104 (1): 64-5, 2023.

A Commonwealth first at the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.

Pepall, John. “The distorted way we choose our leaders.” The Dorchester Review 12 (2): 59-65, Autumn/Winter 2022.

What is democratic about allowing a few hundred thousand self-selected or press-ganged party members to ‘choose our next Prime Minister,’ as the candidates claimed?

Soroski, John. “Trudeau’s Eleven: the SNC-Lavalin affair as a demonstration of techniques and approaches of behind the scenes political persuasion.” Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law / Revue de droit parlementaire et politique 17 (1): 41-, March/mars 2023.

…more profoundly at issue in the Wilson-Raybould affair were questions about the role of the office of the Attorney-General and its relationship to the rest of government. As the apex legal officer and overseer of federal prosecutions in Canada, the AG is understood to have a responsibility to act independently of Cabinet and to exercise her discretion according to her own understanding of the principles at play. However, since the role is played by the person who is at the same time the Minister of Justice, the actor is unsurprisingly potentially subject to the everyday input associated with intra-Cabinet politics…

Speel, Robert W., Inwood, Gregory J. “Disruption and routine: choosing a Speaker in the United States compared to Canada.” Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law / Revue de droit parlementaire et politique 17 (1): 7-, March/mars 2023.

The election for the Speaker of the US House of Representatives in January 2023 was one of the most disruptive and contentious such elections in American political history. Elections for the Speaker of the House of Commons, in contrast, have to date remained routinized and orderly. The recent American experience creates an opportunity to compare the selection process and roles of legislative Speakers in the United States to the process in Canada. That election and the differences between the two countries can also provide some clues about the current and future state of democracy in both countries.

Russell, Meg. “House of Lords reform: navigating the obstacles.” Constitution Unit/ Institute for Government/Bennett Institute for Public Policy 40p, March 2023.

This paper goes beyond knee-jerk reactions to the House of Lords, to explore what the institution does, how it has evolved, what proposals for change have been put forward and what the key reform objectives and priorities should be. In doing so, it also touches on what experience from other bicameral parliaments can teach us.