Actors, Targets, and Guardians: Using Routine Activities Theory to Explore the 2008 Decision to Prorogue Parliament in Canada


  • Johannes Wheeldon Heritage University



Routine Activities Theory, Prorogation, Constitutional studies, Responsible Government


While a number of scholars have offered a variety of constitutional critiques and political analyses for the 2008 prorogation of Parliament, to date no comprehensive theoretical exploration has been attempted. In addition to the widespread agreement that the use of prorogation to avoid a potential non-confidence vote was problematic, some have acknowledged that efforts to undermine the role of Parliament in Canada have become routine. Combined with the role nationalistic tensions played in justifying such a profound departure from the principles of responsible government, this paper accepts and better explicates the view that the 2008 decision to prorogue Parliament constituted a ‘harm.’ Using Routine Activities Theory it explores the events before during and after prorogation based on the confluence of a motivated actor, a suitable target, and the lack of a capable guardian. While this theory frames past events in a new way, of specific value is how the theory can be used to begin to chart a course to correct what has been called a dangerous constitutional precedent.