Study Questions: Chapter 9
1. What are the reasons for encouraging western Canadian settlement in the National Policy?
According to Brooks and Ménard, one reason was to open up a market for the products of central Canadian industry and the other was to protect this territory from American encroachment. (p. 282)
2. What are some of the major differences between the Liberals and the Conservatives in the pre-1920 era?
Liberals identified more with free trade and provincial rights. They were more sensitive to the interests of French Canadians and to the plight of farmers. They were hostile to banking and commercial interests, and were critical of the Roman Catholic Church. Conservatives were seen as the party of the British connection, and of privilege. They were supporters of banking and manufacturing concerns and of economic protectionism and centralized federalism. (pp. 282–283)
3. Describe the brokerage party system in Canada.
This refers to the federal Liberal and Conservative parties’ practice of acting as brokers of ideas, middlemen who select from all the ideas pressing for recognition as public policy those they think can be shaped to have wide appeal. Each party attempts to cobble together a winning coalition of voters at election time. (pp. 281–286)
4. How have the major parties always dealt with the periodic cycles of regional protest?
First, they ignore or downplay the significance of the protest party. Then, when the party shows signs of staying power, they endorse and implement some of the agenda of the protest party. This was the case with the Progressives and the Liberal Party, and the CCF and the Liberal Party. (pp. 286–288)
5. What is meant by the term “two and one-half” party system?
This refers to the consistent electoral results prior to 1993 in which the Liberals and Conservatives finished either first or second, while the NDP consistently finished third, with about 15 to 20 per cent of the popular vote and occasionally holding the balance of power. (p. 288)
6. What two elements for a durable party realignment were revealed in the 1993 federal election?
One was the low esteem in which political parties and politicians were and are held. Thus, citizen attachment to parties is very weak which, in turn, opened the door to new parties. Secondly, the popular consensus on the role of government and on a range of public policies has become frayed. Citizens are looking for new policy ideas; hence, they are open to what the non-traditional parties have to offer. (p. 289)
7. What two factors are said to explain the unexpected results of the 2011 election?
Leadership—Canadians were drawn to NDP leader Jack Layton—and a general sense in Quebec that it was time for another party. The goal of independence—and the way that the BQ framed the issue—lost its appeal and salience for Quebecers. (pp. 293–295)
8. Describe and contrast the three models for selecting party leaders.
Caucus, convention, and “one-member, one-vote” models need to be identified and assessed. (pp. 295–298)
9. Outline the arguments against the electoral system currently used in Canada.
The current system is known as the single-member constituency system, or the single-member plurality system, or the first-past-the-post system. The criticisms are that a party’s percentage of the popular vote is rarely consistent with its percentage of seats in Parliament or the legislature. As a result, it has exacerbated regional and ethno-linguistic divisions in Canada because a party’s share of the vote in a province is often not reflected in the percentage of seats it gets. It is also argued that it contributes to low voter turnout because of the “wasted vote” phenomenon leading voters to engage in strategic voting. Brooks disputes the validity of these latter two criticisms. (pp. 299–302)
10. What role does money play in Canadian elections? How effective are measures designed to regulate election finances of candidates and parties?