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Against Reform [Paperback]

John Pepall
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 16 2010 University of Toronto Centre for Public Management Monograph

In Against Reform, John Pepall offers a stringent critique of proposed reforms to Canada's political institutions. Examining electoral reform, an elected or provincially appointed Senate and reduced terms for Senators, fixed election dates, recall, initiative, and parliamentary reform, including 'free votes' and parliamentary confirmation of appointments, Pepall contends that these reforms are ill-conceived and would be harmful.

At the root of Pepall's critique is an argument that, in Canada today, too many voters are quick to blame institutions rather than their own conflicting interests and understandings when they do not receive what they want out of government. While considering influential factors such as academic and media bias, political fashion, and the American example, Pepall's unique and highly readable assessment takes aim at the practical and theoretical understandings of reform across party lines.

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'John Pepall's arguments 'against reform,' are passionate, witty, and persuasive. He debunks everything from public relations to fixed terms and election dates to great effect, and is wonderfully critical of the half-baked theories held dear by rationalist political scientists. Against Reform will enliven the broader political discourse with its practical wisdom and great attention paid to real-world detail.' (Barry Cooper, Department of Political Science, University of Calgary)

About the Author

John Pepall is a writer and political commentator based in Toronto.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I'm very much enjoying the insights presented in this book - it is a concise summary of the problems of many modern initiatives to re-write Canadian parliamentary democracy, and in all my reading I've never encountered a book that captures such a wide spectrum of critiques.

My only issue with the book is the author's writing style - some sentences are poorly worded, requiring me to read them 2-3 times before I can grasp the meaning of the statement. It's a tolerable distraction, but does detract from the experience of reading the book. The style of writing seems more suited to speaking, as emphasis on certain words within the sentences needs to be understood properly.

All in all, that's a minor issue, and I would recommend the book to any student of Canadian politics or anybody interested in rounding out their views on electoral reform.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Reformers June 14 2011
By Steven
I'm a democratic reformer to my core. I know my beliefs and most would have a hard time moving me from my positions. Then I read John Pepall's Against Reform. While he didn't turn me off of reform he did put some cold water on some of my ideas. Pepall does a terrific job of laying out the historical and political justifications for our governing system. Reformers are often more interested in change than what they hope to change, and what purpose these institutions serve. I strongly recommend this book for anyone intrigued with changing our system.
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