Cover of book, Politicians Above the Law, published late February 2011.
Comments About the Book (click text for more)

This is a wonderful achievement.  It is an important theme that will be of great interest internationally as well as in Canada.  This appears to be on a vestige of class entitlement that has survived over the centuries and you and David have now tackled it head-on.  I look forward very much to reading your book.


Prof. Ed Ratushny, professor of constitutional law, University of Ottawa
and author, The Conduct of Public Enquiries

During my twenty-one years in the Canadian House of Commons, three of them as Government House Leader, I participated in many discussions and debates about the rights and privileges of Members of Parliament.  During this time, if there were books like Politicians Above The Law, which presents a scholarly and analytic assessment of some of those rights and privileges, I was unaware of them.  Thus in writing this book, Maingot and Dehler not only present a strong argument for the abolition of parliamentary inviolability, but also contribute to a rather sparse body of work on the important area of how parliamentarians should govern themselves.


Hon. Harvie André, Calgary, AB.
Member of Parliament Calgary Centre, 1972-1993

In Politicians Above the Law, Maingot points out that democracy must distinguish between parliamentary immunity and parliamentary inviolability.  The former, the right to speak freely in Parliament, is desirable.  The latter, exempting elected officials from the Criminal Code, is not.  What is most disturbing is Maingot's revealing evidence that in many of the world's democracies, it is legal inviolability that prevails.  Maingot calls passionately for this to change.


Hon. Ed Broadbent, first President of the International Centre for
Human Rights and Democratic Development,
and former national leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada

The author of Politicians Above The Law presents a most compelling case for the abolition of parliamentary inviolability as contrasted with the necessary concept of parliamentary immunity. Any truly democratic society requires that a member of any legislative body should be accountable to the criminal justice system.


Hon. R. Roy McMurtry, former Chief Justice of the Province of Ontario,
Canadian High Commissioner to London, and Attorney General of the Province of Ontario

Parliamentary immunity is a necessary guarantee of the independence of the legislature. When it extends to protecting members beyond their parliamentary activities from the criminal justice system however, it brings the legislature into disrepute and there can be few greater attacks on its independence than that caused by the contempt this engenders. You may not agree with every point made by Joseph Maingot but I believe you will agree this book should be read.


The Right Honourable Paul Martin, PC
21st Prime Minister of Canada (2003-2006)

Three quarters of parliamentarians in the world enjoy parliamentary inviolability.

Canadian authors J.P. Joseph Maingot Q.C. and David Dehler Q.C., present this fascinating book which studies how it came about that three quarters of parliamentarians in the world enjoy parliamentary inviolability, which protects a politician beyond the walls of parliament, as opposed to parliamentary immunity (privilege) which protects the politician only while within those walls.


Through critical analysis, this book demonstrates that parliamentary inviolability defies the rule of law, equality before the law, the separation of constitutional powers, prosecutorial discretion, and encourages disrespect for and clashes between the three branches of government.  The Craxi scandal in Italy (1993), the ongoing Berlusconi affair in Italy, and the Juppé affair in France (2004) serve amply to demonstrate this.


This book is peppered with relevant and fascinating newspaper reports from the international press which testify to the havoc created globally by the claim to parliamentary inviolability as it discourages good governance.  The final chapter undergirds the entire book as it provides an in-depth analysis of the foundation of human rights in the intrinsic, created dignity and worth of the human person and seeks to demonstrate why nobody -- especially no lawmaker -- is above the law.  Having rid our thought of the 'divine right of kings', we ought not to now tolerate the 'divine right of legislators' or the 'divine right of the state'.


While it presents a case for the abolition of parliamentary inviolability, the book concludes with an optimistic yearning for age-old values that centre on humanity and human rights, urging peace and justice in the world.


An Annex contains the parliamentary inviolability / immunity provisions of each of the constitutions of the world, and a list of of the parliaments which enjoy 'inviolability' and those which enjoy 'immunity'.


To order this book, please click here.

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Book Launch Announcement


The book, Politicians Above the Law, will officially launch Wednesday, March 2, 2011.  This gathering, discussion and book-signing opportunity will take place at the National Library Building (home of National Library and Archives Canada) located at 395 Wellington St., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  This event will run from 6 PM to 8 PM, and there is no cost to participate.


I hope to see you there!


- Joseph

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