Anatomy of an Election: Virtual Book Launch

Irwin Law is proud to publish Anatomy of an Election:
Canada’s Federal General Election of 2019 Through the Lens of Political Law

Elections are the high point of democracy. They provide scheduled opportunities for the people at large to have a participatory voice in their own government. They enable adult citizens to judge those who have governed them recently, to select those whom they want to govern them in the near future, and to give renewed direction to their own country. Contrary to impressions generated by the media, it is a reality of democracy that elections are neither solely political events nor personality contests. In fact, elections are the ultimate blend of constitutionalism, politics, public law, and public policy.

Anatomy of an Election takes a comprehensive and interdisciplinary look at Canada’s 2019 federal election as an example of a democratic election. This book is unique in its explanation of elections and electioneering. It sets the scene by enumerating the foundational elements of Canada’s electoral system, focusing on the constitutional principles, the legislation, and the major court judgments. It then traces the flow of political legal events since 2015 that have led to the forty-third general election. Most importantly, this text provides a day-by-day diary that records the most important political and legal events throughout the campaign. Anatomy of an Election does not favour any party or candidate and is designed to inform Canadian citizens about the electoral process and its fundamental importance in the public life of the country.

“I have a friend who never buys a lottery ticket. He says he won the lottery of life the day he was born in Canada. He doesn’t need to hit a million-dollar jackpot to consider himself lucky. Instead of buying lottery tickets, he votes. That’s how he ensures the stability of the life he has been able to build in a place that protects the rule of law and values human rights, civil rights, civil liberties, and political freedom. His one vote buys all of that. When I hear people say they don’t vote because it’s pointless or because one vote doesn’t matter, I think of my friend. He’s a Canadian who understands we all have a role to play in preserving what we have inherited.

Gregory Tardi has also figured it out. His diary of the 2019 federal election examines how it all works. Our system isn’t magical. It’s based on principles established years ago that we constantly try to sharpen and improve upon. No one seems to know who coined the expression, ‘Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.’ But I think that’s wrong. In a democracy we don’t accept everything just because we’re told to. It is better to see how things are made. It’s especially valuable to see how elections are made.”

Peter Mansbridge, from the Foreword

Introduction by Gregory Tardi

Reading from Anatomy of an Election

Closing Remarks


PrefaceThe Canadian Electoral System in a Capsule
Part OneThe 42nd Parliament as Prelude
Part TwoThe Campaign for the 43rd Federal General Election
Part ThreeThe 43rd Federal General Election
Part FourElection Results
Part FiveIntroduction to the 43rd Parliament of Canada
PostscriptLessons Learned

Preview Pages

About Gregory Tardi

Gregory Tardi, BCL, LLB, DJur, is a member of the Barreau du Québec. After an initial period in private practice in his father’s law firm in Montreal, he served in the Public Service of Canada. He worked in a variety of departments, including the Privy Council Office and the Department of Justice. His long experience as legal counsel at Elections Canada and as senior parliamentary counsel at the House of Commons led him to formulate his theory of political law. This is a novel way of uniting the various legal aspects of government into a single subject matter; of focusing on the role of law in democratic governing, in contrast to the role of policy and politics; and of conceptualizing the accountability of all public officials to law. In this conceptual framework, the legal aspects of electioneering play a central role. Mr Tardi has taught at Carleton University, McGill University, and Osgoode Hall Law School. He is the author of The Legal Framework of Government, The Law of Democratic Governing, and The Theory and Practice of Political Law, as well as a number of articles. He is the executive editor of the Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law | Revue de droit parlementaire et politique.

Downloadable Excerpts

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