Author Archives: James W.J. Bowden

1896: Tupper & Laurier Debate the Role of Governor General and Popular vs Parliamentary Sovereignty


Introduction   On 8 July 1896, Governor General Lord Aberdeen forced Prime Minister Sir Charles Tupper from office by refusing to promulgate his constitutional advice and sign off on Orders-in-Council to summon senators and make other appointments. Tupper sought to fill … Continue reading

Posted in Appointment of PM, Caretaker Convention, Confidence Convention, Constitution (Conventional), Crown (Powers and Office), Dorchester Review, Formation of Governments, History of British North America | 1 Comment

When Hollywood Screenwriters Don’t Understand How Parliamentary Government Works


The plots of some films hinge upon fundamental misunderstandings of how parliamentary government works, and I thought that outlining an example would prove both entertaining and instructive. Sherlock Holmes from 2009, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Jude Law and … Continue reading

Posted in Humour & Satire | 8 Comments

Newfoundland & Labrador Must By Law Hold An Early Election By 2021


Dwight Ball Announces His Intention to Resign as Premier On 17 February 2020, Dwight Ball announced that he would step down as Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador as soon as the Liberal Party of the province chooses its new leader. … Continue reading

Posted in Crown (Powers and Office), Dissolution, Formation of Governments | 1 Comment

Rejecting Constitutional Advice Equals Dismissal from Office: How Governor General Lord Aberdeen Forced Sir Charles Tupper’s Resignation in 1896


When I first embarked on this constitutional odyssey in 2011, I encountered scholars who propagated a novel constitutional interpretation with no basis in history, nor in the principles of Responsible Government itself, which I call “Reserve Powers Without Consequence”: the … Continue reading

Posted in Articles, Caretaker Convention, Dorchester Review, Formation of Governments | 2 Comments

Extra-Constitutional Reform of the Senate of Canada


The latest issue of The Dorchester Review includes my piece on “The Founders’ Senate.” In this article, I outline how the Senate of Canada, and the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada, functioned as partisan legislative bodies from the … Continue reading

Posted in Articles, Dorchester Review, History of British North America, Senate Reform | Leave a comment