Realizing the Peoples Opinion May Matter After All
The Fathers of Confederation
established the Constitution of 1867 that created Canada without submitting
the question directly to electors. This cost federalist politicians so many
votes at following elections that Prime Minister John A. Macdonald vowed not
to impose Confederation on another colony without first consulting the people
through the polls. When Newfoundland, British Columbia and Prince Edward
Island later entered Confederation,
each first held a referendum.
Since then, the relative influence
of voters in Canadian parliamentary institutions has grown appreciably
to the point that politicians today are unlikely to enact any kind of fundamental
changes without consulting the electorate.