This article considers the process by which electoral reform ought to take place, focusing in particular on the democratic and constitutional constraints that bear on electoral reform. It addresses two inter-related issues: first, whether any particular process, such as a referendum, is required as a normative matter to establish the democratic legitimacy of a given reform; and second, whether a constitutional amendment involving provincial consent is required to implement electoral reform.
This article argues, with respect to the first issue, that while no one process is mandated for electoral reform, it is nevertheless important for the process to be and appear to be democratically legitimate. Part I considers a number of possible mechanisms, including a citizens’ assembly, a commission, a referendum and an all-party parliamentary committee, and it does so by drawing on provincial and comparative international experience with electoral reform. Part II argues that although no single process is required, the process must be and appear to be democratically legitimate. In order for the process of electoral reform to be democratically legitimate, it must visibly follow the norms of political neutrality, consultation, and deliberation.
"The Process of Electoral Reform in Canada: Democratic and Constitutional Constraints."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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