After our first few graduate school lectures in Governance & Institutions with Professor Gabriel Eidelman, many people in our class, even those who had studied political science in undergrad, were shocked at how little basic information they knew about Canadian government formation and the powers of the Governor General. The sentiment was that if a group of Master’s-level policy students didn’t know any of this, then surely the Canadian public couldn’t be faring much better. Our uncertainty was bolstered by conflicting statements from party leaders and news sources, and a recalling of the confusion that swept the nation the last time these issues came to the fore during the 2008 constitutional crisis, when the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois tried to form a coalition government.
With Prof Eidelman’s encouragement, and help from Mark Jarvis of the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation, some of the students decided to put something together quickly that could correct some of the misinformation out there. Justine Desmond, Dalia Hashim, Lauren Birch, Emily White, and James Murray came up with the idea of distilling the complex process of Canadian government formation into an infographic that was easy to read and fit with the modern ways people digest information via social media. The goal was to reach a large number of people as fast as possible, providing a resource for anyone wondering what is going to happen after the current and future elections. We hope the more Canadians understand their Parliamentary system, the more they can hold elected representatives accountable and restore responsible government.