Citizens’ Hall

Citizens’ Hall

Making Local Democracy Work

By Andre Carrel


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Based on years of practical experience in small towns, Carrel argues for municipal autonomy–for turning what are now “colonies” of the federal and provincial orders of government into independent, mature, and fully democratic entities. For Carrel, the citizen is the sole legitimate source of political power, and the best tool for citizen empowerment is the controversial tool of the referendum.This is the story of how a small municipality broke the rules of local government. It also recounts the author’s irreverence for the status quo and his ideas on the rebuilding of citizenship at the community level.


André Carrel’s story provides an important reminder that there is another aspect to municipal government, one that involves representation of, and response to, local citizens. This book should be of great interest to local citizen groups and community organizations.

– C. Richard Tindal, Ph.D., Municipal Consultant

The value of Citizen’s Hall is that it reports real-world practice rather than the standard academic ‘I see no reason why this shouldn’t work’ that predominates in the field.

– Peter McCormick, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Lethbridge

The issue of neighbourhood and community democracy, notwithstanding (or perhaps because of) Mr. Harris’s Mega City ordering, is a public policy issues of increasing importance. Maybe the mountain community of Rossland, B.C. has something to tell us!

– Bill Neilson, Professor and Director, Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives, Victoria, B.C.


Preface and Acknowledgements
Introduction by Jonathan Barker and Christopher Leo
Chapter 1 Rights and Power: Local Government in Question
Chapter 2 Changing the Status Quo
Chapter 3 A Municipal Constitution
Chapter 4 Municipal Government: Democratic Veneer on a Colonial Core
Chapter 5 Politics, Accounting, Assets, and Taxes
Chapter 6 Reforming the First Order of Government
Chapter 7 The Democratic Way
Chapter 8 Referendum:Toy or Tool of Democracy?
Chapter 9 Towards Democratic Local Government
Appendix I “A Constitution for Local Government”: The Rossland Discussion Paper
Appendix II Bylaw no. 1728
Appendix III Constitution Bylaw Statistics
Appendix IV Principles of Local Self-Government
Appendix V Revenue Statistics
Appendix VI The Parksville Experience
Selected Bibliography