Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada

Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada

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Overview

2015 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize — Shortlisted, Non-Fiction



In Irresponsible Government, former MP Brent Rathgeber takes Parliament to task for its failure to hold the government to account.


Irresponsible Government examines the current state of Canadian democracy in contrast to the founding principles of responsible government established by the Fathers of Confederation in 1867. The book examines the failure of modern elected representatives to perform their constitutionally mandated duty to hold the prime minister and his cabinet to account. It further examines the modern lack of separation between the executive and legislative branches of government and the disregard with which the executive views Parliament. The book seeks to shine light on the current power imbalances that have developed in Canadian government.

Through an examination of the foundation principles of our parliamentary system and their subsequent erosion, Irresponsible Government seeks methods through which we can begin to recalibrate and correct these power imbalances and restore electoral accountability.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781459728370
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Publication date: 10/07/2014
Series: Point of View Series , #1
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Brent Rathgeber is a Canadian lawyer and former Member of Parliament. He was elected as a Conservative in 2008 and 2011. On June 5, 2013, he resigned from the Conservative caucus to sit as an Independent due to the government's lack of support for transparency and accountability. He lives in Edmonton.

Table of Contents

Foreword 11

Introduction 15

1 The Quest for Responsible Government: From the Magna Carta to Lord Durham 24

2 Public Debt: A Runaway Train Wreck 36

3 Federal-Provincial Cost Sharing: There Is Only One Taxpayer 54

4 Parliament: A Broken Institution 61

5 Cabinet: A Representative Not a Deliberative Body 93

6 Party Discipline: You Are There to Support the Team 104

7 The Prime Minister: The Americanization of Canadian Politics 115

8 The Prime Minister's Office: The Gang That Doesn't Shoot Straight 125

9 Political Parties: Power Is an End in Itself 135

10 The Bureaucracy: Information Is Power 148

11 Withholding the Power: Canada's Broken Access to Information Laws 161

12 The Media: If It Bleeds, It Leads 174

13 Judicial Review: A True Check on Government Power 188

14 Responsible Government in Canada, 1848-2014 204

15 Electoral Reform, Representative Recall, and Citizens' Initiatives 214

16 Democratic Reform: The Opposition Mantra 225

17 Conclusions: Where Do We Go From Here? 231

Notes 249

What People are Saying About This

Graham Thomson

If you think Canada's democracy is in trouble, you need to read this book; if you don't think our democracy is in trouble, then you really need to read this book.

From the Publisher

If you think Canada's democracy is in trouble, you need to read this book; if you don't think our democracy is in trouble, then you really need to read this book.

Graham Thomson

Political affairs columnist, Edmonton Journal

Graham Thomson Political affairs columnist

If you think Canada's democracy is in trouble, you need to read this book; if you don't think our democracy is in trouble, then you really need to read this book.

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