The Donner Prize - The Award for the Best Book on Canadian Public Policy

For further information

Sherry Naylor, Prize Manager
The Donner Prize
505 Danforth Avenue, Suite 201
Toronto, ON M4K 1P5

(416) 368 8253



Democratizing the Constitution wins $50,000 prize

Toronto, Tuesday, May 1, 2012 – The winner of the prestigious Donner Prize, an annual award for the best public policy book by a Canadian, was announced this evening by Allan Gotlieb, Chairman of the Donner Canadian Foundation, at a gala awards dinner at The Carlu hosted by Don Newman, Chairman of Canada 2020.

Democratizing the Constitution: Reforming Responsible Government by Peter Aucoin, Mark D. Jarvis and Lori Turnbull, published by Emond Montgomery Publications, was awarded the $50,000 Donner Prize.

In Democratizing the Constitution, the authors argue that Canada’s time-honoured system of responsible government is failing us. The principle by which the executive must be accountable to the people’s elected representatives is slipping away, and our constitution and its unwritten conventions no longer provide effective constraints on a prime minister’s power. Democratizing the Constitution examines recent history and ongoing controversies as it makes the case for restoring power to where it belongs – with the people’s elected representatives in Parliament.

Peter Aucoin was Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public Administration at Dalhousie University; he passed away on July 7, 2011. Mark D. Jarvis is a doctoral candidate at the University of Victoria. Lori Turnbull is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Dalhousie University.

"An important and timely book - one that calls into question the legitimacy of our most fundamental institutions of democracy."

- Donner Prize Jury

The other nominated titles, each of which received $7,500, were:

  • Toward Improving Canada’s Skilled Immigration Policy: An Evaluation Approach by Charles M. Beach, Alan G. Green and Christopher Worswick (C.D. Howe Institute)
  • Museum Pieces: Toward the Indigenization of Canadian Museums by Ruth B. Phillips (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
  • XXL: Obesity and the Limits of Shame by Neil Seeman and Patrick Luciani (University of Toronto Centre for Public Management)

The winner of the Donner Prize was chosen from an impressive list of 58 submissions and a shortlist of four by the five-member jury: A. Anne McLellan (Jury Chair), Wendy Dobson, Kevin G. Lynch, Marcel Boyer, and Denis Stairs.

Jury Chair Anne McLellan commented on this year’s shortlist: "As a jury, our goal is to recognize and bring to the attention of the public outstanding writing in important areas of public policy concern. This year we have an impressive group of writers who have written on a diverse set of subjects. In choosing our shortlist we consider the importance of the subject, the soundness and originality of the analysis, the presentation of the evidence, the support for the conclusions reached, and the accessibility of the text."    

The Donner Prize, established in 1998, annually rewards excellence and innovation in Canadian public policy thinking, writing and research in Canada. In bestowing this award, the Donner Canadian Foundation seeks to broaden policy debates, increase general awareness of the importance of policy decision making and make an original and meaningful contribution to policy discourse.

For further information, please contact:
Sherry Naylor, Prize Manager
Phone: 416 368 8253