The Canadian House of Commons: Representation
Published: December 1950© 1950
320 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Ebook - PDF
A STUDY of representation in a democratic legislature must be directed towards actual membership of the legislature and towards laws and practices governing the selection of members. The electoral system must be broadly viewed as embodying the devices by which constituencies are established and altered, the franchise which determines the extent of the electorate, and the provisions which are intended to control corrupt campaign tactics and otherwise prevent perversions of representation.
The first few decades after Confederation were years of bitter struggle over election laws. The result was that genuine reform of the electoral machinery in the public interest was a literal impossibility until well after the turn of the century. That honesty in elections became possible, and even profitable, was the result at least as much of forces beyond the reach of legislative enactment as of positive federal policies conscientiously adopted and administered.
The chronicle of this development, as it can be observed in several major sections of the electoral system, follows in these pages. In the first chapter the general nature of representation is discussed. The alteration of constituency boundaries after each decennial census is analysed in Part I. Membership in the legislature is examined in Part II. Part III covers the electoral machinery, both in its narrow aspect as a technique by which members of Parliament are returned, and in a broader sense as a large organization which includes the franchise, electoral corruption, and election expenses. Part IV comprises the conclusion.