The Legault Government Might Actually Implement Mixed-Member Proportional Representation in Quebec

Christophe Sasse, “Germany,” Chapter 3 in European Electoral Systems Handbook, edited by Geoffrey Hand, Jacques Georgel, and Christoph Sasse, 58-86 (London: Buttersworth, 1979), 64.

Judging from some recent reports in Quebec’s French-language press, I think that there is a good chance that Premier Legault’s government will in fact pursue electoral reform and that the National Assembly will switch Quebec’s provincial electoral system from single-member plurality to mixed-member proportional representation.

I believe that the Legault government might actually implement a proportional system for the following reasons:

Continue reading

Posted in Electoral Reform, Reform | Leave a comment

More Tidbits On Indirect Amendment and Dissolution by Efflux of Time

During a wonderful trip to Ireland, I took this photo of the Oireachtas on 21 August 2017, while it was undergoing renovation.

If only I had discovered these little gems in time!

Indirect Amendment

The Commonwealth Law Bulletin will publish later this year my article “‘Indirect Amendment’: How the Federal Department of Justice Unilaterally Alters the Text of the Constitution of Canada.” In the early 20th century, the Department of Justice had published consolidated versions of the British North America Acts for years, which usually compiled the complete text of every British North America Act from 1867 to the time of publication. But a senior lawyer and civil servant within the Department of Justice, Elmer Driedger, first devised an alternative which attempts to incorporate all changes into one document, a method and rationale which he called “Indirect Amendment.” The Department of Justice still employs this method today, most recently in a consolidation of the Constitution Acts, 1867-1982 published in 2013. Only in this most recent edition has the Department of Justice adopted the term “Non-Textual Amendment” instead of the original “Indirect Amendment.” Driedger died in 1985, but his legacy lives on in the foreword to these consolidations.

Continue reading

Posted in Amending Formulas, Constitution (Written), Crown (Powers and Office), Dissolution | Leave a comment

Dissolution By Demise of the Crown


Last year, the Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law published my piece “When the Bell Tolls for Parliament: Dissolution by Efflux of Time,” in which I highlighted a little-known means by which Parliament can dissolve automatically when it reaches its maximum lifespan – without any intervention whatever from the Crown. This is dissolution by efflux of time. The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, 2011 had now made dissolution by efflux of time the norm and has put into abeyance the prerogative authority over dissolution.

In his famous treatise Commentaries on the Laws of England, Blackstone identified that dissolution can occur through one of three ways:

Continue reading

Posted in Crown (Powers and Office), Dissolution | 7 Comments

Taking Stock of 2018: Recent and Upcoming Publications

I’m pleased to report that the Commonwealth Law Bulletin has accepted and will publish at some point in 2019 my manuscript entitled “‘Indirect Amendment’: How the Federal Department of Justice Unilaterally Alters the Text of the Constitution of Canada.” This piece started as an offshoot of my research into electoral reform in 2016; I happened to have two copies of the Department of Justice’s consolidated Constitution Acts, 1867-1982 from different years and noticed that the wording of section 37 of the Constitution Act, 1867 had changed, even though the Parliament of Canada had never amended it under the Section 44 Amending Procedure. I blogged about it here on Parliamentum in 2017 before discovering how deep the well went. I’ll announce when the Commonwealth Law Bulletin publishes it. This will become my second journal article derived directly from a blog entry or a comment on this blog; the first appeared in the Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law last year as “When the Bell Tolls for Parliament: Dissolution by Efflux of Time.”

Continue reading

Posted in Articles | 1 Comment

Toronto Has Always Been Thus

As so often happens, I discovered this wonderful little tidbit while reading about something entirely different.

Morison, J.L. British Supremacy & Canadian Self-Government, 1839-1854. Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons, 1919.

Continue reading

Posted in Humour & Satire | Leave a comment