Dalhousie Law Journal


Home Rule, Women, Power-Sharing, Canadian electoral system, reform, constituent units


This paper is about the Canadian electoral system and the need for reform of its constituent units. Canadian politics have been remarkable for the comparative lack of interest that has been displayed in this aspect of the system, an aspect that is of great importance in any democratic society. In 1949, a speaker at the annual meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association in Halifax summed up the situation as follows: The basic units of representation . . . the constituencies, are thus conceived in the darkness of a legislative committee, and born to blush unseen on an electoral map which is not readily available to the public. That our constituencies are a remarkable hodge-podge is hardly surprising, for the only principle that has been consistently applied to them is the elementary one that no part of the country should be left outside an electoral district, and that was violated once. '