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  • Peter Russell: A Stumble Bum's Prorogation

    Stephen Harper's last two prorogations were the work of a tyrant. This latest one, says parliamentary expert Peter Russell, is the work of a stumble bum prime minister just lurching along.
    Posted date : September 04, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Casino Decision Shows Democracy Works

    Toronto council's decision against a casino puts the city in perfect sync with the Wynne government - exactly as democracy is supposed to work, says the parliamentary expert
    Posted date : May 28, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: In A Season Of Sensational Scandals, A Tempest In A Quebec Teapot

    Charges in a new book that the late Supreme Court Justice Bora Laskin undermined the repatriation of Canada's constitution in 1982 are just plain wrong.
    Posted date : May 23, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Ontario Leaders Need Lessons In Minority Government

    While Premier Wynne has reached out to the opposition leaders with the new budget, Andrea Horwath is playing a game of political chicken we all might live to regret.
    Posted date : May 07, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Teaching Tomorrow's Leaders Today

    We can't expect tomorrow's leaders to be effective citizens without teaching them how government works today. But the current mandatory high school civics course being used is inadequate.
    Posted date : April 22, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Justin Trudeau's Constitutional Crisis

    Whereas his father Pierre faced a constitutional crisis with Quebec threatening to leave Canada, his son faces one of a different sort: a malfunctioning parliamentary democracy.
    Posted date : April 16, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Harper Shirking Responsibility By Muzzling Scientists

    The CPC can't possibly govern intelligently by gagging scientists and stopping them from doing proper scientific research. And that means we'll all pay.
    Posted date : April 10, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Quebec Liberal Leader's Mistake A Whopper, But Useful

    Phillippe Couillard's idea to make Quebec a constitutional signatory by 2017 is big mistake. Constitutional expert Russell warns not to go down that road again.
    Posted date : March 25, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Canada Shamefully Shuns UN’s Scrutiny

    The Harper government is refusing a visa to one of the world's leading experts on the rights of indigenous peoples, UN "rapporteur" Dr. James Anaya. Is it afraid of what he may report?
    Posted date : March 19, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Piling On Tom Flanagan Was Unfair

    Canada failed a basic test of a liberal democracy recently when it made Professor Tom Flanagan an instant pariah for saying those who view child pornography may not belong in jail.
    Posted date : March 12, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Joyce Murray Best Choice for Liberals, Canada

    Although not a Liberal, the parliamentary expert is endorsing Vancouver MP Joyce Murray for Liberal leader. He particularly likes her ideas to reform our sagging democracy.
    Posted date : March 04, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Is Stephen Harper For Turning?

    There are signs that Mr. Harper may be turning to the political centre-a bit. It's easy to see why: his party is lagging in the polls, and he'd like to keep his majority next election.
    Posted date : February 19, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: The Senate Again? Let's Figure It Out

    There are ways to fix the Senate, says one of Canada's eminent constitutional scholars. But does Stephen Harper have the political will to do it?
    Posted date : February 12, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Will Kathleen Wynne Be A Transformative Premier?

    She's already reached out to the Opposition parties, insisting she's determined to make minority government work. Will Wynne usher in a new kind of politics?
    Posted date : February 04, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Stop "Lethal" Prorogation Disease

    Calling prorogation a disease "lethal to parliamentary democracy and responsible government," constitutional scholar Peter Russell says Ontario should adopt a motion to stop its spread as soon as possible.
    Posted date : January 22, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: The Harper-Atleo Meeting Has A Remarkable Precedent

    Few Canadians knew it, but the Prime Minister-AFN meeting last week reprised a great historical event that defined the legal pact between First Nations and Canada.
    Posted date : January 15, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: It's Time Ontario Was "Idle No More"

    When Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with Aboriginal leaders this week over treaty issues that prompted the Idle No More movement, there'll be one major player missing: Ontario.
    Posted date : January 08, 2013
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  • Peter Russell: Let Judges Manage The Courts

    A published story has revealed the Ontario government isn't even keeping track of how many charges are dropped due to delays getting to court. Should judges take over managing the courts?
    Posted date : November 20, 2012
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  • Peter Russell: The US Election's Lessons For Canada

    Barack Obama's win in the U.S. presidential election has lessons for all parties. The parliamentary expert says Tea Party politics didn't work there, and it won't work here.
    Posted date : November 13, 2012
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  • Peter Russell: The Threat of "Partyocracy"

    First ministers like Dalton McGuinty are acting like absolute monarchs of old, arbitrarily shutting down legislatures. It's created "partyocracy: party first, responsible government second.
    Posted date : November 06, 2012
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  • Peter Russell: Thoughts On The Canadian Crown

    William and Kate have raised the Crown's profile in Canada and worldwide. But our education system is woefully inadequate when teaching students the role of the Crown in Canada.
    Posted date : October 30, 2012
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  • Prorogation: Stopping The Abuses

    Responsible government has received a body blow by Dalton McGuinty, Stephen Harper and Christy Clark. But parliamentary expert Peter Russell has a way to rein in their aims to shut down our democracy.
    Posted date : October 23, 2012
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  • McGuinty's Prorogation Worse Than Harper's: Peter Russell

    Ontario is very close to losing parliamentary democracy now the Premier has prorogued the Legislature indefinitely for political convenience, says the parliamentary expert.
    Posted date : October 17, 2012
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  • Peter Russell: The War of 1812 - What Did We Win?

    Both Canada and the US came out of the War of 1812 seen as sovereign powers. But for the third party in the War, First Nations, that recognition may only now - 200 later - be coming.
    Posted date : October 15, 2012
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  • Peter Russell: Be Grateful For Our Diversity

    Is diversity a new phenomenon in Ontario? Its seeds actually go back more than 250 years, says the parliamentary expert. And for that we should be very grateful.
    Posted date : October 02, 2012
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  • Peter Russell: Is Ontario Becoming Canada's America?

    Imposing a wage freeze on teachers, as Dalton McGuinty is doing, flies in the face of Canada's traditional aims of social and economic equality.
    Posted date : October 01, 2012
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  • ONW Columnist Peter Russell

    September has been good for voters in both Ontario and Quebec, says parliamentary expert Peter Russell. Both have ended the month with minority governments, and that's good for all of us, he says.
    Posted date : September 24, 2012
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  • Democracy Week: Is Our Democracy At Risk?

    Not since the 1830's when the Family Compact and Chateau Clique ruled have we had government as authoritarian as Stephen Harper's, says ONW's new columnist, constitutional expert Peter Russell.
    Posted date : September 18, 2012
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Peter Russell
Peter H. Russell is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is one of Canada’s leading constitutional scholars, has published widely in the fields of aboriginal policy, the judiciary and parliamentary democracy, and is a frequent commentator on Canadian government and politics. He is the founding Principal of Senior College at the University of Toronto. Peter Russell is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.