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AVAILABLE EXPERT – Electoral reform and the need for a constitutional amendment

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Queen's University political studies professor Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant is available to comment on suggestions that electoral reform would require a constitutional amendment - thereby reducing the likelihood of the Liberal Government being able to meet this pledge.

Earlier this week, Sen. Serge Joyal, an independent Liberal, suggested that adopting some form of proportional representation could make majority governments less likely and lead to more coalition governments.He suggested that, in turn, it could necessitate clarification of the Governor General's prerogative to decide which party leader becomes prime minister and, if a coalition collapses, when to dissolve Parliament. Any change to the role of the Governor General's role could require a constitutional amendment.

"Electoral reform would cause no substantive change to the Governor-General's prerogative or reserve powers, but simply perhaps lead to the Governor General exercising their existing powers more frequently," says Dr. Goodyear-Grant. "No constitutional amendment is necessary for this to occur. The government can alter the electoral system with a simple piece of legislation amending the Canada Elections Act."

Dr. Goodyear-Grant is an associate professor of political studies. Her research interests include Canadian and comparative politics, elections and voting behaviour, the role of media in politics, and representation.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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