Author Archives: J.W.J. Bowden

About J.W.J. Bowden

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. 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.

Manifest Destiny Hijacks The Monroe Doctrine: A Bill to Annex All of British North America into the United States


Introduction The American Civil War captured the rapt attention of our Fathers of Confederation during the Confederation Debates in 1864 and 1865, and the prospect of another American invasion into Canada (a repeat of the War of 1812), as remote … Continue reading

Posted in Comparative, History of British North America, Monarchism v Republicanism, Parliamentarism v Presidentialism | 2 Comments

Electoral Reform: Quebec Will Hold a Referendum With a Clear Question


Last spring, I wrote about the prospect that the Legault government in Quebec would implement mixed-member proportional representation in time for the next provincial general election scheduled for 2022 in a piece for Policy Options. Recent developments answer this question … Continue reading

Posted in Electoral Reform, Reform | 7 Comments

The Constitution of the Confederate States of America Disproves the States’ Rights Narrative & Contains a Parliamentary Twist


During this lockdown and quarantine, I recently re-watched Ken Burns’s epic documentary series on the Civil War, serenaded with the dulcet, non-rhotic tones and mellifluous commentary of the late Shelby Foote. I also read several speeches and essays by one … Continue reading

Posted in Comparative, Parliamentarism v Presidentialism | 4 Comments

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 | 3 Comments

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 | 9 Comments