UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Rationalizing legislative rule change : three cases of rule change in the Canadian House of Commons Bosley, Mitchell


What stops governments from unilaterally changing the rules of parliament? I argue that governing parties fail to unilaterally restrict the rights of the legislative minority due to the expectation that their actions will be perceived negatively by the electorate. Through reference to three episodes of legislative rule change in Canadian history, I show with formal modelling that expectations of audience costs can reduce the likelihood of a government implementing rule changes unilaterally. Using newspaper coverage of the debates over rule change as a measure of audience costs, I show that the government ignores the opposition when audience costs are low and tries to compromise when audience costs are high.

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