Tuesday, November 17, 2015

History of October nineteenth

That was fast. UBC Press has produced Canadian Election Analysis,  a free-download e-book collection on the October 19 federal election.

I was struck by a line or two in Jamie Gillies's piece, "The Presidentialization of Executive Leadership in Canada (at p. 39, bolding added by me):
Power and authority over government decision-making has shifted from cabinet and Parliament to the prime minister and a group of unelected officials that work directly for the Canadian executive in a very concentrated and centralizing way. In this regard, presidentializing leadership is compounded by the weakness of Canadian party mechanisms that force executives to bend to Parliamentary caucus will. This makes removal of party leaders by cabinet and elected members more difficult than other Westminster democracies.
He says it began in the Pierre Trudeau era, which is poli-sci speak for "in the mists of antiquity" or "since time immemorial." It began long before Trudeau pere.  But a decade ago, a sentence like Gillies's last one was simply unthinkable among political commentators.  Actually, they said so all the time: leadership accountability to caucus is "unthinkable in Canada," I was told again and again. No one favours doing anything about it yet, but the idea begins to enter the discourse.
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