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ISBN: 9781552211960


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Laws of Government, 2/e

The Legal Foundations of Canadian Democracy

The Laws of Government is a comprehensive legal treatise on the law of Canadian democracy. This book is a one-stop-shop for an area of law and policy that is emerging quickly. Almost every year, Parliament has had to deal with controversies involving electoral reform, political fundraising rules, ethics and conflict of interest, access to information, judicial appointments, parliamentary reform, and minority governments, to name a few. The book grapples with these contemporary issues.

Each chapter deals with a discrete area in the law of democratic governance, providing a detailed account of the relevant legal and policy issues and exploring the nature and likelihood of law reform. It includes original empirical research on judicial and non-judicial governor-in-council appointments, lobbying, and legislative productivity in Parliament.

The book is intended as a rigorous legal resource, but one that is accessible to a non-legal audience. It has multidisciplinary appeal, incorporating public administration and political science themes. The Laws of Government is essential reading for journalists, elected officials, public servants, lobbyists and all who are interested in politics and Canadian democracy.

This second edition incorporates changes in the law since 2005.  In particular, the Conservative government’s Federal Accountability Act, which received royal assent in December 2006, revamped the Canadian law of government accountability – especially that dealing with ethics.  Since 2006, other refinements to the legal superstructure supporting democratic governance at the federal level have been put in place.  All of these new developments are reflected in the revised volume.


Craig Forcese

Craig Forcese is an Associate Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. There, he teaches administrative law, public international law, and national security law and runs the annual foreign policy practicum. Much of his present research and writing relates to democratic accountability, national security, and international law. Prior to joining the law school faculty, he practiced law with the Washington D.C. office of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, specializing in international trade law. Craig has law degrees from the University of Ottawa and Yale University, a B.A. from McGill, and an M.A. in international affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University. He is a member of the bars of Ontario, New York and the District of Columbia. He is author of National Security Law (Irwin Law, 2008) and co-author of The Laws of Government, Second Edition (Irwin Law 2010) and International Law: Doctrine, Practice and Theory (Irwin Law, 2007).

Aaron Freeman

Aaron Freeman is a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Premier of Ontario. For 10 years, he wrote a regular column in The Hill Times, Canada's parliamentary newspaper, and his work often appeared in Canada's leading newspapers and publications. He has provided policy and communications advice to organizations in the health, consumer, environmental, democratic reform, human rights, and international development sectors. Aaron is a part-time faculty member of the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law, where he has taught the law of Canadian democracy. He is a graduate of McGill University and the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law, where he was awarded the Gowling Lafleur Henderson Prize for International Trade Law.

Chapter Title Contents Contributors Pages Year Price


Two key principles inform “liberal” democracy — the kind of democracy we enjoy in Canada. First, government should be by the citizenry, at least indirectly. Second, government … ; 7 $0.70


This chapter considers, first, the extent to which democracy is constitutionally entrenched in Canada’s written Constitution. Second, we look at democracy as an unwritten constitutional … ; 61 $6.10


This chapter will outline some of the key elements of how elections to the House of Commons are regulated. It begins with a discussion of voting and electoral rights, as enshrined in the Charter … ; 93 $9.30


In this chapter examines the full range of unelected officials, divided by branch of government — legislative, executive, and judicial. We focus on rules and practices governing the … ; 130 $13.00


Beginning with this chapter, we examine rules and procedures for ensuring that, once selected, officials govern democratically. Running through this chapter is one of our key themes: the … ; 57 $5.70


The Governor General generally acts only on the advice of the prime minister or Cabinet. Meanwhile, as is explored in greater detail below, departments and agencies of the public administration … ; 69 $6.90


As this chapter suggests, ethics rules for both elected and unelected officials are contained in a variety of sources, some statutory, some common law, and some that are part of parliamentary … ; 43 $4.30


Guarding against special interest governance is a difficult task. In Canada, we have responded by regulating the activities of those who would influence government in one direction or another, … ; 20 $2.00


This chapter has a dual focus. The first is transparency in government, specifically, mechanisms ensuring that what government does is readily ascertainable not only by parliamentarians, but also … ; 48 $4.80


Accordingly, this chapter focuses on the implications of a changing national and international environment for democratic accountability. Specifically, as policy-making influence and power are … ; 15 $1.50


How best to evaluate Canadian democracy? The answer to this question depends on which criteria are used, and which democratic principles one chooses to emphasize. In keeping with the structure … ; 5 $0.50


Provides statistics on bills and Parliament, the Senate and the House of Commons. ; 6 $0.60


Provides a glossary of terms relevant to this book. ; 7 $0.70