Ties That Bind: Parties and Voters in Canada

Paperback | July 15, 1999

byJames P. Bickerton, Alain-G. Gagnon, Patrick J. Smith

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Viewed from afar, electoral politics in Canada may seem a strange amalgam of predictability and surprise, stability and volatility. At the close of the twentieth century, the party in power is the same one that governed at the beginning of the century and for an inordinate amount of time inbetween. Yet the contemporary party system seems to bear little relation to that which characterized either turn-of-the-century or mid-century Canadian politics. In fact, several dramatic upheavals have taken place in the relationship between parties and voters. Elections clarify for parties andvoters the current character of their relations. Partially obscured, vaguely calibrated, or hidden perils in the voter-party relationship will often rise to the surface during election periods, and the ties that bind diverse communities of voters to particular parties are tested. Clearly, the relationship between Canadian voters and their political parties has seldom been an easy one, especially at election time. However, to describe it as unstable or volatile would be misleading. There have always been strong currents of continuity and stability in voter-party relations inCanada that are deeply rooted in regional political cultures and party histories, in enduring ties between ethnocultural or linguistic groupings and particualr parties, and in the economic and class cleavages that influence left-right ideological divisions.Ties That Bind looks at the socio-economic, ethnolinguistic, and demographic factors in party support; the enduring quality of these social bases; the importance of geography in structuring variations in the voter-party relationship; and electoral change as a function of the strategic decisions ofthe parties and their leaders and the voter response these decisions evoke.

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Viewed from afar, electoral politics in Canada may seem a strange amalgam of predictability and surprise, stability and volatility. At the close of the twentieth century, the party in power is the same one that governed at the beginning of the century and for an inordinate amount of time inbetween. Yet the contemporary party system see...

James P. Bickerton is at St Francis Xavier University. Alain-G. Gagnon is at McGill University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:July 15, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195412761

ISBN - 13:9780195412765

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsNotes on the Authors1. Parties and Voters in Canada2. The Progressive Conservatives: Broken Ties, Broken Dreams3. The Liberals: Canada's 'Government Party'4. The New Democratic Party: The Left Tradition in Canada5. The Reform Party: Western Populist Roots, Neo-Liberal Designs6. The Bloc Quebecois and Its Nationalist Predecessors: The Thread of Continuity in Quebec History7. Continuity and Change in a New Era of Party PoliticsAppendices