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The Laws of Government

The Laws of Government

The Legal Foundations of Canadian Democracy

2nd edition

By Craig Forcese and Aaron Freeman


The Laws of Government is a comprehensive legal treatise on the law of Canadian democracy. This book is a one-stop-shop for an area of law and policy that is emerging quickly. Almost every year, Parliament has had to deal with controversies involving electoral reform, political fundraising rules, ethics and conflict of interest, access to information, judicial appointments, parliamentary reform, and minority governments, to name a few. The book grapples with these contemporary issues.

Each chapter deals with a discrete area in the law of democratic governance, providing a detailed account of the relevant legal and policy issues and exploring the nature and likelihood of law reform. It includes original empirical research on judicial and non-judicial governor-in-council appointments, lobbying, and legislative productivity in Parliament.

The book is intended as a rigorous legal resource, but one that is accessible to a non-legal audience. It has multidisciplinary appeal, incorporating public administration and political science themes. The Laws of Government is essential reading for journalists, elected officials, public servants, lobbyists and all who are interested in politics and Canadian democracy.

This second edition incorporates changes in the law since 2005. In particular, the Conservative government’s Federal Accountability Act, which received royal assent in December 2006, revamped the Canadian law of government accountability – especially that dealing with ethics. Since 2006, other refinements to the legal superstructure supporting democratic governance at the federal level have been put in place. All of these new developments are reflected in the revised volume.

In addition, the authors maintain a legal blog,, that includes cross-referenced updates to chapters in the book.


Preface to the Second Edition
The Constitutional Basis for Canadian Democracy
Voting and Elections
Unelected Officials
Parliament and the Legislative Process
Responsible Government: Parliament and Cabinet
Ethics and Conflicts of Interest
Information and the Currency of Democracy
Democratic Accountability in a Globalized Confederation
Concluding Thoughts on the Law of Canadian Democracy
Appendix: Statistical Trends in Law-making
Table of Cases

Published 28 January 2011
Publisher Irwin Law (Canada)
ISBN 9781552211960
Australian RRP $66.00
International Price $60.00
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Government / Political Studies
Law - Constitutional
Law - Canadian Law

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