Democratic Rights and Electoral Reform in Canada

Overview

The studies in this volume present different views on issues that have caused Charter-based court challenges and provoked public concern about the integrity of the electoral system.

Jennifer Smith’s study of voting rights favours the dignity of the vote over the uncritical advocacy of rights. Conversely, Pierre Landreville and Lucie Lemonde argue for the right of prisoners to vote on the grounds of philosophy, social science and criminology. Yves Denoncourt suggests that current legal tests of mental competence could be used to determine whether persons with mental disorders can vote.

Patrice Garant argues, based on Charter principles and Quebec’s experience, for the right of public servants to participate in elections, while Kenneth Kernaghan cautions Canada to preserve a politically neutral public service.

Peter McCormick favourably considers the recall of elected officials, while David MacDonald evaluates the use of referendums and concludes that they should not be held in conjunction with general elections.

John Courtney and David Smith examine the problems of voter registration. Cécile Boucher deals with the myth of widespread fraud in suggesting how election law could be administered without recourse to the courts.

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