Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Fixing Canadian Democracy

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Fixing Canadian Democracy

Article excerpt

Gordon Gibson (ed.), Fixing Canadian Democracy (Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 2003), 268pp. Paper. $19.95 CAN. ISBN 0-8897-5201-X.

This book is based on the proceedings of a conference on democratic reform held three years ago by the Fraser Institute, a right-wing think tank in British Columbia. However, do not be put off by its sponsorship. The contributors represent a broad spectrum of political views, and the discussion of the issues is thorough and far-reaching.

The book's well-organised structure makes its material accessible and easily understandable. Each section starts with an analysis of a particular problem of electoral reform, followed by comments from the panelists and the audience. The writing style is, by and large, clear and straightforward.

The editor's useful and detailed overview on the fundamentals of democratic reform is marred by his anti-government views, which take away from the book's general tone of non-partisanship and its central theme that polarised politics have limited BC economically and politically, a view supported by representatives of BC political parties both left and right. However, the articles, which cover selecting and empowering representatives, powers reserved to the electorate, constitutional constraints, and most importantly, the process for getting there, provide valuable information and make this book essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the complexities of reforming the democratic process in Canada. …

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