Presentation on theme: "Political Parties and Elections in Canada D Brown St Francis Xavier University Pol Sci 222 Winter term 2013."— Presentation transcript:
Political Parties and Elections in Canada D Brown St Francis Xavier University Pol Sci 222 Winter term 2013
Political Parties The role of parties in the political system The brokerage model in Canada Is the party’s role declining?
Seven Functions of Political Parties (John Meisel) Parties integrate citizens into the political system They develop policy They recruit leaders (“elites”) They help to organize Parliament into clear roles of government and opposition They help voters to structure their choices They organize public opinion around ideology or sets of political values They aggregate interests into a larger consensus
Theories of Party Support Traditional model: allegiances based on specific social cleavages….religion, ethnicity, language, class, etc. Brokerage model: collections of allegiances with convergence to the centre Rational choice: voters choose each time on the merits of their self-interests
The Canadian Brokerage Model Arises in large part due to Single Member Plurality electoral system. Roots in Macdonald’s successful but necessary coalitions of moderate reformers and Conservatives – and both French and English Later….Liberals and Conservatives become “omnibus parties” (similar to Republican and Democrat in USA) Brokerage parties try to bridge regional and linguistic divides– i.e. the party is an instrument of national unity and integration
Challenges to the Brokerage Model Break-away and new parties based on class and other economic cleavages …since First World War E.g…parties for Farmers, Labour, the CCF, Social Credit, NDP, Greens Regional or “national” movements or parties…Maritime Rights, Progressives, Bloc populaire, Reform, Bloc québécois
Challenges to the Brokerage Model, 1993 election Progressive-Conservative Party vote declines dramatically, and party wins only 2 seats Bloc québécois (Quebec only) and Reform (west only) take 2 nd and 3 rd place in seats. Liberals were only “brokerage” party left, and for next 3 elections were safe from credible challenge. Two questions posed: –Could the right re-unite? –Why is the NDP not a successful brokerage party?
Restoration of Brokerage Politics? 1999: Canadian Alliance formed out of Reform party, Stockwell Day elected leader, but unable to convince many Progressive Conservative voters to join. 2003 the Progressive Conservative Party merges with Canadian Alliance to form the Conservative Party. Harper elected first leader. 2004, 2006, 2008 elections: three minority parliaments….what does this say about brokerage politics? 2011: Conservative majority, NDP Official opposition: a stable recipe for continued brokerage model?
Decline of Party Role Parties no longer very important in determining policy Leaders dominant in a television age A more independent media than in the past Interest groups and social movements define political identity and community more precisely
Future of Parties… Would change a lot if electoral system changed …i.e. to a proportional system Electing Senators might help reinvigorate party life Municipal-level party development? The party that can attract the youth vote could transform the system
Party websites http://www.conservative.ca http://www.liberal.ca http://www.ndp.ca http://www.blocquebecois.org