“Just Trust Us”

The Erosion of Accountability in Canada

“Just Trust Us”

Political analyst and historian Patrick Boyer gets to the root reasons many patriotic Canadians who care deeply about our country are perplexed, angered, even embarrassed by the way we govern ourselves. Programs that are promised don’t materialize, wasteful expenditures are made but no heads roll, and pass-the-buck behaviour characterizes far too many public office holders.

Since the late 1700s “representative government” has allowed people to elect individuals who speak for them in the legislatures, and since the mid-1800s “responsible government” has combined those representatives with the cabinet ministers in the same legislative assembly so those wielding power can be held to account by the people’s tribunes. “The form of these constitutional arrangements endures,” says Boyer, “but not their substance.” The result, he argues, is the absence of accountability in Canadian government.

Just Trust Us” draws together the patterns which explain why Canadians who recognize the absence of accountability in government today step away from this dysfunctional system. Many pressing concerns in public affairs can be traced to this fundamental lack of accountability. The solution, says Boyer, is not to impose mandatory voting, as some advocate, but to re-establish “responsible government” as the Constitution envisages.

Boyer’s book first dissects the problems which caused democratic accountability to erode, then outlines a range of pragmatic measures to reinstate responsible government in contemporary Canada.


“‘Just Trust Us’ is a learned and alarming dissection by one of our most knowledgeable political experts of the failure of modern government in Canada.” – Michael Bliss, historian, University of Toronto

A brilliant, lively, insightful and provocative book.” – William Christian, political scientist, University of Guelph


Publisher: Breakout Educational Network & Dundurn, 2003
Politics, governance, public administration, Canadian history
$22.99, Canada and U.S.A.
Softcover, 162 pages, 6 x 9 inches
Index, bibliography


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