Creating a Constitution: Establishing a Framework for a Constituent Assembly

When Cascadians and other regions around North America make the decision to, they will ignite a process of change that will impact the possibilities of governance for our foreseeable future. It is up to each of us, to decide what that future vision will look like.

A constitution is the social contract that people give themselves to organize their collective life and shape their governance structures. Just like bioregionalism, constitutions reflect the unique aspects and values of the inhabitants and physical boundaries defined by each place.

As a result, constitutional processes are a perfect occasion to openly express real popular sovereignty. The process through which a constitution is drafted is in itself highly significant, in particular because it is essential to ensuring that a new constitution’s contents reflect the values and aspirations of the people. Rules of procedure should be designed to ensure that law-making bodies operate in a balanced, well structured, professional and systematic manner.

Any pathway to greater autonomy, independence, or self determination must be decided and created by the people who live here, in a peaceful and democratic manner. Rather than small groups placing their ideas or will upon a larger - from the beginning a framework for a democratic body able to represent Cascadia, and enter into decision making and external negotiations must be put in place.

This is particularly the case for constituent assemblies that are tasked with drafting legislation while also constructing a new constitutional framework. In that context, priority is given to ensuring that the people’s views are adequately represented during the process while at the same time encouraging professionalism and efficiency throughout. Only in this way can the end result reflect the collective views and concerns of the people while at the same time enjoying some form of normative legitimacy as well. This means the first step to be a Constituent Assembly of delegates to be selected from the different Cascadian regions, and to elaborate the country’s and the region’s first truly democratic constitution.

One of the Assembly’s first acts is to draft and approve its rules of procedure (or by-laws), which are designed to organize the constitutional drafting process, as well as the ordinary legislative process. These processes must include democratic mechanisms for input, ideas and feedback, data driven approaches, as well as an incorporation of models from both at home and around the world for incorporating best practices into every level of governance.