If the Blue Ensign of Australia is the Union Flag at night, then Newfoundland and Labrador’s flag is the Union Flag in fog.
Since January 2019, speculation that Premier Ball of Newfoundland and Labrador will opt for an early election has mounted. On 29 March, Ball confirmed that he would seek early dissolution so that the election itself occurs on or before 27 June 2019. CBC News covered Ball’s announcement with the headline, “It’s Almost Official, as Dwight Ball Narrows Election Window.” In fact, as I pointed out on page 61 of my thesis, this did become official on 1 April: Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will certainly now go to the polls this spring and thus join Prince Edward Islanders in the second early dissolution and provincial general election of 2019.
Events have answered a question that I posed last year here on Parliamentum on 24 May 2018. I wondered, “Will Wade MacLauchlan Become the First Premier to Ignore a Fixed-Date Elections Law Twice?” Yes. Wade MacLauchlan has become the first premier in Canada to ignore a fixed-date elections law twice, once on 26 April 2015 (as I wrote contemporarily in “The Mandate Problem: Early Dissolutions and Fixed-Date Election Laws in Prince Edward Island and Alberta”) and again on 26 March 2019. I also included that prediction on page 77 of my thesis “Reining in the Crown’s Authority Over Dissolution: The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act of the United Kingdom versus Fixed-Date Election Laws in Canada” in September 2018.
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:
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!
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.
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: