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Canada's leading constitutional expert Peter Russell offers statement of support for Project Democracy's efforts

Thursday, April 28th 2011 12:10:58pm

For Immediate Release

(Ottawa, April 28, 2011) Projectdemocracy.ca is an initiative to help foster genuine democracy in Canada. The site offers detailed riding by riding polling summaries for all 308 ridings in the country, in both official languages to assist voters in making strategic decisions in 45 key ridings to block a Harper government -- an electoral outcome opposed by a large majority of Canadians. In a mere two and a half weeks it has attracted over a quarter of a million visitors and support from artists and luminaries such as writers Margaret Atwood and Nino Ricci, pianist Anton Kuerti, and professor Henry Mintzberg, a leading Canadian thinker and management expert.

Now, esteemed constitutional scholar, author and University of Toronto professor emeritus Peter Russell has added his name to its list of supporters with this important statement.

"This is the most important federal election in my life time. What is at stake is nothing less than parliamentary democracy. If the electorate rewards Mr. Harper with a majority it will mean that he will be able to operate as a presidential prime minister without the check and balance of congress. It will also mean that two out of five Canadians think very little of the need to hold government accountable to parliament. Mr. Harper has reduced parliamentary debate to "bickering" and the role of parliament in the formation of government to irrelevant constitutional stuff. I hope and pray that the parties of parliamentarians win a majority next Monday."

Other new features at Projectdemocracy.ca:

Heading into the last few days, the all-important issue of who will make it to the polls is coming increasingly into the fore. Projectdemocracy.ca has augmented its riding pages with information on the percentage of voters who actually voted in each riding in the last election.

In the drop-down menu under the charts, users can choose which poll or combination of polls they want to consult and new information has been added showing the results of the best available regional polls.

Projectdemocracy.ca has also commissioned local polls in hard-to-call ridings with results expected today and tomorrow.

To hear Peter Russell speak about his grave apprehensions of what a Harper Conservative government could mean for the future of Canadian parliamentary democracy see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEsXSb_JJSU

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For more information please contact:

Alice Klein                                              
416-364-1300 ext.379                              
cell:416 318-2805                                                      
alice@nowtoronto.com

Christopher Majka
902 425-3725
c.majka@ns.sympatico.ca  

Peter H. Russell is a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Toronto where he taught from 1958-1997. Considered one of Canada's most respect political scientists, Russell was Director of Research for the McDonald Commission on the RCMP, a member of the Federal Task Force on Comprehensive Land Claims, and President of the Canadian Political Science Association. He chaired the Research Advisory Committee for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. His recent publications include articles on constitutional politics, judicial independence, and Aboriginal peoples. He is the author of Two Cheers for Minority Government: The Evolution of Canadian Parliamentary Democracy.