84% of Canadians want powers of Prime Minister and premiers restricted with clear, enforceable, written rules – only 9% disagree

Same high level of support for change across the country from every type of Canadian

Media Release

To see the Postmedia News article about this release, click here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 23, 2013

OTTAWA – Today, the national educational foundation Your Canada, Your Constitution (YCYC) released the results of its recent national survey of 2,013 Canadians on the question of restricting the powers of the Prime Minister and provincial premiers with clear written rules that can be enforced. The results show that a very large majority of Canadians (84%) want this change made, while only 9% do not want the change.

Harris/Decima was commissioned by YCYC to conduct the data collection from November 29th through December 10th, 2012. The survey asked 2,013 Canadians ages 18 or older whether they agreed or disagreed with writing down the currently unwritten constitutional “conventions” that cover decisions such as: when the Prime Minister and premiers can open and close parliament; what measures can be included in bills such as budgets; whether a government has lost a vote that should cause an election; whether an election should be called just because a Prime Minister or premier wants an election, and; which political party, or parties, will be the government after an election.

Across the country in every province, 80% to 90% of Canadians of all types want these constitutional rules clearly written down and made enforceable so that these powers of the Prime Minister and premiers are restricted — male and female; of every age from 18 to over 65; employed, self-employed, unemployed or retired; student or homemaker; English or French; high school or university educated; single or married or divorced or widowed; small family or large; rich, middle class or low-income — with only 7% to 12% disagreeing.

Also across the country, through every demographic, 44% to 54% strongly agree that the rules should be written down, with 33% to 46% agreeing, while 7% to 10% disagree, with only 2% to 4% strongly disagreeing.

For the past decade, arbitrary opening and shutting down of parliament by the Prime Minister and premiers, snap elections, omnibus budget bills, questionable votes of confidence, and questionable pre- and post-election moves by various political party leaders across Canada, have caused huge controversies that have been left unresolved, with constitutional experts arguing about whether the unwritten constitutional conventions were followed or violated.

“Will the Prime Minister and premiers, and party leaders across Canada, respond to this national consensus and finally write down these key democratic government rules, as most countries in the world already have, to ensure that everyone knows the rules and can be clearly held accountable if they violate them?” asked Duff Conacher, Coordinator of YCYC. “Given the survey results, any political leader who takes steps to write down the rules will be applauded by almost every Canadian.”

In most countries in the world, including Britain, Australia and New Zealand, these rules are written down so the powers of their politicians are clearly defined and restricted, and so the rules can be enforced by the courts or through other enforcement processes.

About the poll: The data was gathered from November 29th through December 10th, 2012 through Harris/Decima’s teleVox, the company’s national omnibus survey. Results are based on a sample of 2,013 Canadians, and the corresponding margin of error is ±2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Your Canada, Your Constitution
Tel: 647-824-5959
Email: info@ycyc-vcvc.ca
Internet: www.YourConstitution.ca


Survey Question

Some rules that are part of Canada’s Constitution, that are called “constitutional conventions”, are not written down, and so experts disagree what these rules actually are and whether the rules can be enforced. Experts do agree that the unwritten convention rules cover decisions such as: when the Prime Minister and premiers can open and close parliament; what measures can be included in bills such as budgets; whether a government has lost a vote that should cause an election; whether an election should be called just because a Prime Minister or premier wants an election, and; which political party, or parties, will be the government after an election.

In most countries in the world, including Britain, Australia and New Zealand, these rules are written down so the powers of their politicians are clearly defined and restricted, and so the rules can be enforced.

Do you think Canada’s constitutional convention rules should be written down so that the powers of the Prime Minister and provincial premiers are clearly defined and restricted, and so the rules can be enforced?

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  • Don’t know/refused

PDF Format


What do you think? You can send a letter letting key politicians across Canada know what you think HERE.