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The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution edited by Oliver, Peter; Macklem, Patrick; Des Rosiers, Nathalie (19th October 2017)

Part II Institutions and Constitutional Change, B The Parliamentary System, Ch.8 Political Institutions in Canada in a New Era

Lori Turnbull

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution

Edited By: Peter Oliver, Patrick Macklem, Nathalie Des Rosiers

This chapter examines the meaning and significance of the parliamentary reform package introduced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in 2015. The proposed measures address themes that have been part of democratic reform agendas for many years, and most of them can be fairly described as low-hanging fruit. The one that stands out from the rest is the Trudeau government’s approach to appointments. Historically, Prime Ministers have made appointments to the Senate, the Supreme Court, and other positions of profile and authority with little to no restrictions on their discretion. The Trudeau government’s creation of independent advisory boards to preside over appointments throughout federal government institutions, and the identification of specified criteria to guide these appointments, represents a major departure from historic practice and a potentially significant shift away from the concentration of power in the hands of the political Executive.

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