2012 Donald Smiley Prize

May 31, 2012 | Donald Smiley Prize

Winner: Peter Aucoin, Mark. D. Jarvis and Lori Turnbull

Democratizing the Constitution. Reforming Responsible Government in Canada (Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications, 2011)

Excerpt from jury report: Democratizing the Constitution is an incisive analysis of the state of responsible government in Canada. The authors argue that the nature of the relationship between the Canadian Prime Minister and the House of Commons presents a democratic problem because of the control of the former over the latter. This problem, according to the authors, has both constitutional and a parliamentary government dimensions. Constitutionally, the book suggests the problem resides in the capacity of the Prime Minister to abuse the position’s powers to summon, prorogue, and dissolve the House. With respect to parliamentary government, the authors argue that rules and procedures that allow the Prime Minister to manage the business of the House have been put at the service of controlling the legislative branch in Canada. Democratizing the Constitution offers its analysis with an eye towards change as it puts forth a four-part proposal for constitutional reform.