A Very, Very Modest Proposal

Can a microscopically small-ball approach accomplish political reform?

Triple E Senate? Dead. Electoral Reform? Moribund. Referendums? Post-Brexit, probably a fool’s errand. Constitutional amendments? Pretty much impossible. Breaking up the country? Never so unlikely in 50 years. Are changes to Canadian governance possible at all?

Maybe. Now that all the big plays have failed, perhaps space has opened up for small ball, even for arguments that the big plays were always a bad idea. Maybe a few parliamentary tweaks will save the country, or at least start to address the democratic deficit. Two recent examples of the small-ball argument for better governance are Turning Parliament Inside Out: Practical Ideas for Reforming Canada’s Democracy, a book of essays collected by a group of sitting members of Parliament, and The Unbroken Machine: Canada’s Democracy in Action, by Dale Smith, a press gallery journalist with a lively online presence.

The prototype for all...