No Confidence in Non-Confidence Votes: Would the New Zealand Confidence Protocol or Constructive Non-Confidence Restore the Canadian Confidence Convention?
Constructive Vote of Non-Confidence
Fixed Election Legislation
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AbstractCanada’s minority governments from 2004-2011 were characterized by hyper-partisanship, constant brinkmanship, and a number of constitutional controversies that raised questions about the state of Canadian constitutional conventions. This led a number of academics to call for constitutional reform, particularly to the confidence convention. Those advocating reform sought an alternative to the Canadian negative non-confidence vote, which typically triggers new elections, and embraced more “constructive” non-confidence votes, which limit the possibility of early elections and promote mid-term transitions. The reformers drew on ideas from New Zealand, whose confidence convention encourages constructive non-confidence votes, and from European countries that require all non-confidence votes to simultaneously select an alternative government. This thesis assesses the merits and difficulties of importing such models into Canada and concludes that New Zealand’s confidence protocol is the preferred choice for Canada.
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