1. James Bowden & Parliamentum


About Me

My area of academic expertise lies in Canadian political institutions, especially the Crown, political executive, and conventions of Responsible Government; since 2011, I have made a valuable contribution to the scholarship by having been published and cited extensively in my field.

This list of my own publications attests to my scholarship, which, along with this list of materials in which other scholars have cited my works, demonstrates the contributions that I have made to the study of political institutions in Canada and the Commonwealth.

I’m also a contributing editor to the Dorchester Review and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law.

My hobbies include biking, cross-country skiing, camping, and wildlife photography. Among my other interests are vertebrate paleontology, linguistics, and various geeky, popular-cultural and film matters. During my high school years, I also swam competitively to modest success.

How I Started This Blog

I started this blog in 2011, originally as a means of making the Manual of Official Procedure of the Government of Canada publicly available online.

In addition to making my ATIP’ed documents available for all who are interested, I started this blog in order to fill crucial gaps in the scholarship and media coverage of our system of government.

Overall, I consider myself part of the traditional “historical institutionalist” school in Canadian political science and would also describe myself a Burkean Whig, a constitutional monarchist, and a realist. My scholarship reflects this integrated approach to history and political science.

Perhaps like some of my readers and peers, my interest in this subject-matter and in developing my own academic writing started just after the prorogation-coalition controversy of December 2008. In the fall of 2010, I discovered an intriguing essay languishing in the obscurity of microfiche. The author, using the Latinization of parliament “Parliamentum” as a pseudonym,  described the parliamentary precedents relating to the Pacific Scandal, which precipitated the first controversial prorogation in Canadian history in 1873 and the defeat of first Macdonald ministry, so it seemed only fitting that I call my blog Parliamentum. 

I’ve also designed Parliamentum as a hub of research designed to encourage informal networks of peer review on Westminster parliamentarism. As such, I’ve created tabs for the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand that link to various constitutional and parliamentary documents, as well as the websites of the Queen and her vice-regal representatives, and those of all the parliaments and legislative assemblies in those four Commonwealth Realms. Finally, I provided links to the websites of established scholars and practitioners who write on Westminster parliamentarism.

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One Response to 1. James Bowden & Parliamentum

  1. Mike Donison says:

    I have just re-read your excellent article in the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of The Dorchester Review on whether 1841 or 1848 is the year when Responsible Government was achieved. You cite Elgin’s appointment of the new Baldwin/Lafontaine Ministry based on the fact that the Reformers had achieved an overall majority in the Province of Canada Legislative Assembly. You say this was importantly backed up by Elgin’s support of the Ministry in the 1849 Annexation crisis. However, surely the defining moment signalling the true arrival of responsible government was Elgin’s decision to give Royal Assent to the Rebellions Losses Bill based on the advice of the Ministry and the bill having been adopted by both the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council and despite the fact that he personally thought its adoption was unwise. In other words, in the end he followed the advice of his Ministers who continued to have the confidence of the Assembly rather than his own opinion. That is the essence of Responsible government. And of course, as we know, as a result of Elgin personally attending in the Legislative Council in the then legislative buildings in Montreal to give Royal Assent to the bill in person, led to the his attack by the Montreal Protestant mob ( his carriage was pelted with eggs) and after he left for Government House, those folks then burned the legislative buildings to the ground.

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