The Big Red Machine: How the Liberal Party Dominates Canadian Politics by Stephen ClarksonThe Big Red Machine: How the Liberal Party Dominates Canadian Politics by Stephen Clarkson

The Big Red Machine: How the Liberal Party Dominates Canadian Politics

byStephen Clarkson

Hardcover | October 15, 2005

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The Liberal Party of Canada has governed for 78 of the last 110 years, making it the most successful political party in the world. How has one party been able to dominate the polls during such a tumultuous sweep of history? Will it continue to win?

In The Big Red Machine, astute Liberal observer Stephen Clarkson tells the story of the Liberal Party’s performance in the last nine elections, providing essential historical context for each and offering incisive, behind-the-scenes detail about how the party has planned, changed, and executed its successful electoral strategies. Arguing that the Liberal Party has opportunistically straddled the political centre since Sir John A. Macdonald – leaning left or moving right and as circumstances required – Clarkson also shows that the party’s grip on power is becoming increasingly uncertain, having lost its appeal not just in the West, but now in Québec. Its campaigns now reflect the splintering of the party system and the integration of Canada into the global economy.

An ideal political primer, deftly written and filled with a wealth of fact and analysis, The Big Red Machine is a fascinating history of Liberal pragmatism, communication tactics, and dramatic changes in leadership style. "Even if the last century did not belong to Canada, Canada turns out to have belonged to the Liberal Party," Clarkson concludes. Although he foresees considerably less rosy prospects for Grits in the years ahead, the "big red machine" remains a formidable political force.

Stephen Clarkson is the author of Trudeau and Our Times, Canada and the Reagan Challenge, and Uncle Sam and Us.
Title:The Big Red Machine: How the Liberal Party Dominates Canadian PoliticsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.28 × 6.27 × 1.17 inPublished:October 15, 2005Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774811951

ISBN - 13:9780774811958

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Table of Contents

Preface: The Joy of Winning


Introduction: Party Systems and Liberal Leaders

Pierre Trudeau: Victory, Fall, and Recovery

1974 The Liberal Party and Pierre Trudeau: The Jockey and the Horse

1979 The Government’s Defeat, the Party’s Decline, and the Leader’s (Temporary) Fall

1980 Hiding the Charisma: Low-Bridging the Saviour

John Turner: From Disappointment to Despair

1984 The Dauphin and the Doomed: John Turner’s Debacle

1988 Election or Referendum? Disoriented in Defeat

Jean Chrétien: Power without Purpose

1993 Yesterday’s Man and His Blue Grits: Backwards into Jean Chrétien’s Future

1997 Securing Their Future Together

2000 The Liberal Threepeat: The Multi-System Party in the Multi-Party System

Paul Martin: Saved By the Far Right

2004 Disaster and Recovery: Paul Martin As Political Lazarus


The Liberal Party As Hegemon: Straddling Canadian History





Editorial Reviews

It is a popular political history, rich in detail, sparse in language, packed with backroom anecdotes, well-documented information, and the incisive political analysis that only an academic of Mr. Clarkson’s stature can bring to a controversial, political hot-seller. - Richard Cleroux - The Hill Times - 20051031