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About the Institute of Parliamentary and Political Law

The Institute of Parliamentary and Political Law (IPPL) is a think-tank dedicated to the understanding and strengthening of democracy and democratic governing. Toward these ends, it engages in professional and educational activities aimed at interdisciplinary, comprehensive and comparative analysis of the democratic conduct of public affairs. The Institute is politically neutral, autonomous from any partisan political party, organization or interest and does not to engage in advocacy. L'Institut fonctionne de façon bilingue.


The following are the specific topics of interest for the Institute:


  • definition of the legal components of democracy;

  • legal framework of the electoral system and process;

  • balance of law and politics in the legislature as a branch of government and in the legislative process;

  • applicability of the general law to legislative institutions and the interaction between the general law and the legal rules specific to legislative institutions;

  • law of parliamentary privilege;

  • choice of legal or other instruments for governing;

  • presence of law and its accommodation to or conflict with other types of instruments in the management of the executive branch of government;

  • legal aspects of, and requirements for, good governance;

  • enforceability through legal means of electoral, political or policy promises by figures in public life;

  • role, influence and impact of law in politics;

  • treatment of diversity, equality and inclusion in public policy, through common law, civil law or Indigenous law;

  • role, influence and impact of the two official languages in parliamentary institutions, law, public policy and politics;

  • role, influence and impact of laws on public ethics, independent ethics commissions and their decisions;

  • examination of whether and when the use of judicial process, litigation, prosecution or judicial inquiry is warranted and appropriate;

  • relative weight of legal, policy and political influences in the staffing of the judicial branch of government, in the adjudication of judicial disputes on issues of public governing and in prosecutions involving political issues;

  • combination of law, public policy and administration, and politics in the constant modernization of Parliament, its institutions and processes;

  • combination of law, public policy and administration, and politics in the constant reform of government institutions and process;

  • interaction of law, public policy and administration, and politics in democratization;

  • legal view of the public interest; and

  • accountability to law of heads of State and government.


The IPPL's principal activity is the publication of the Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law (JPPL). The JPPL is the Institute's voice in the forum of ideas on public affairs. It is published three times a year by Thomson Reuters and has now completed 14 volumes. Each issue comprises perspectives and commentary on the role of law, articles and specialized papers on legislation, litigation, jurisprudence and the literature of public affairs. Contributors include many of Canada's most knowledgeable experts on various aspects of democratic governing. The Journal is directed by an Editorial Board.  


The IPPL’s work also includes the organization of professional / academic conferences and other activities aimed at the dissemination of knowledge about the role of law in Parliament and governing.


The Institute of Parliamentary and Political Law was established in 2008 and now functions pursuant to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act.

The IPPL is based in Ottawa and includes Canada-wide participation from the legal, public policy and administration, and political science communities.  The IPPL is headed by its President, who is supported by the Executive Director. As a reflection of its interdisciplinary characteristic, the IPPL Board of Directors includes participants from the legal profession, academics from law, public policy and political science, as well as parliamentary experts. One director is a senior official of the Canadian Bar Association. Other directors are drawn, in turn, from the ranks of the senior public service, retired members of the judiciary and the world of politics. The criteria for membership on the Board are expertise in law and governance, along with political neutrality.  

The IPPL is recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable and tax-free organization.


President and Executive Director:

Gregory Tardi, (formerly) Senior Parliamentary Counsel, House of Commons, Parliament of Canada


Gregory Tardi, Chair

Kathy Brock

Kerri Froc

Arthur Grant

Ian Greene

Gregory Inwood

Melanie Mortensen

Johanne Poirier
Tamra Thomson

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