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Constituency Influence in Parliament

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 October 2009

Stuart Soroka*
McGill University
Erin Penner*
University of British Columbia
Kelly Blidook*
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Stuart Soroka, Department of Political Science, McGill University, 855 Sherbrooke St West, Montréal, Québec, CanadaH3A 2T7,
Erin Penner, Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia, 2642 Oxford St. (BSMT), Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaV5K IN3,
Kelly Blidook, Department of Political Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Science Building, SN-2042, St. John's, Newfoundland, CanadaA1B 3X9,


Abstract. “Dyadic representation” has received considerable attention in the US, but much less attention in parliamentary systems where party discipline strongly limits representatives' capacity for individual action. A link between the legislative behaviour of representatives and the preferences of their geographic constituencies may nevertheless exist outside the US, however, particularly in single member plurality systems where the “electoral connection” is strong. This paper tests for evidence of this dyadic relationship in Question Period in the Canadian Parliament, across three policy domains: defense, debt and taxes, and welfare. As anticipated, there is evidence of dyadic representation in Canada. Results are discussed as they pertain to the comparative study of legislative institutions and political representation.

Résumé. La «représentation dyadique» a reçu une attention considérable aux États-Unis, mais elle est beaucoup moins étudiée au sein des démocraties parlementaires où la discipline de parti limite fortement la marge de manœuvre des élus. Malgré tout, le lien entre le comportement politique des élus et les préférences de leurs commettants demeure important ailleurs qu'aux États-Unis, mais particulièrement dans les systèmes électoraux pluralitaires où la «connexion électorale» est forte. Cet article s'intéresse à cette représentation dyadique dans le cadre de la période des questions au Parlement canadien et plus particulièrement pour les trois enjeux suivants : la défense nationale, la politique fiscale et les services sociaux. Tel qu'attendu, la représentation dyadique semble se confirmer au Canada. Les résultats des analyses statistiques sont discutés et apportent un éclairage original sur l'étude comparée des institutions législatives et de la représentation politique.

Research Article
Copyright © Canadian Political Science Association 2009

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