Presentation on theme: "Political Parties in Canada D Brown D Brown St Francis Xavier University St Francis Xavier University Winter term 2007 Winter term 2007."— Presentation transcript:
Political Parties in Canada D Brown D Brown St Francis Xavier University St Francis Xavier University Winter term 2007 Winter term 2007
Political Parties The role of parties in the political system The brokerage model in Canada Declining role of parties ?
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 Roots in Macdonald’s successful but necessary coalitions of moderate reformers, Conservatives -- French and English Later….Liberals and Conservatives become “omnibus parties” (compare Republican and Democrat in USA) Bridging regional and linguistic divides– i.e. the party as an instrument of national integration
Challenges to the Brokerage Model Break-away and new parties based on class and other economic cleavages … E.g…parties for Farmers, Labour, the CCF, Social Credit, NDP 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 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” –type, national party left. Can the (new) Conservatives regain that status? Why is the NDP not a successful brokerage party?
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.cahttp://www.liberal.cahttp://www.ndp.ca http://www.blocquebecois.org