Lawmaking by the People

Referendums and Plebiscites in Canada

Lawmaking by the People

The first law book to focus on the democratic process of citizens casting ballots to decide an important public issue, Patrick Boyer’s 1982 ground-breaking work Lawmaking by the People is the second title in his 6-volume treatise on Canadian election law.

The book opens by examining the statutes which give people the right to vote on certain measures, then explores the theory and methods of “direct democracy,” followed by resurrecting the buried history of Canadian referendums at all levels of government. Boyer then weighs advantages and disadvantages of citizens making decisions that will affect them directly. The rest of the book details the law and experience with ballot questions at the Canada-wide level, in each province, and in the territories.


Patrick Boyer has codified Canada’s experience with referendums as one part of his monumental study of Canadian election law. In years to come many people are going to be grateful for this work. No one has ever before collected all the relevant statutory provisions and key rulings from the courts. Referendums are essentially political matters – but their practice needs firm foundations in law. Canadians involved in the working of democracy – and many beyond Canada – have reason to be grateful to Mr. Boyer.”David Butler, senior British political scientist, Nuffield College, Oxford


Publisher: Butterworths, 1982
Law, referendum, politics, democracy, citizenship, Canadian history
$39.95, Canada and U.S.A.
Hardcover, 304 pages, 6 x 9 inches
Foreword by David Butler, table of statutes, table of cases, index, bibliography


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