Today is the official launch of the Democracy Cookbook: Recipes to Renew Governance in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Cookbook is a project like no other I’ve been part of. First, it seeks to break down divides by bringing together pieces from both academics and community members. Second, the contributions are highly applied, with concrete ideas for revenue-neutral changes that could be made today. Third, it includes actual recipes for dishes like “Filibuster Fried Cod.”
My contribution looked at how to strengthen the province’s legislature, which is increasingly dominated by the government – especially given the reduction in legislative seats at the last election. I argue that adopting longer sitting hours and increased autonomy for committees would help to restore the balance. In particular, I recommend that the legislature take over the process of pre-budget consultations which are currently conducted by the executive. A collection of excerpts can be found on The Telegram’s website.
The Democracy Cookbook was driven by editors Alex Marland and Lisa Moore of Memorial University Newfoundland. They brought together the many contributors, donors, and partners involved, hounded us to stay on track, and challenged us to provide straightforward ideas in straightforward language. I’m grateful to be part of the project, and hope that it both leads to meaningful change, and inspires those passionate about governance in other provinces to follow suit.