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Electoral Promises and Single Party Governments: The Role of Party Ideology and Budget Balance in Pledge Fulfillment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 September 2018

François Pétry*
Université Laval
Dominic Duval*
Université Laval
Département de science politique, Université Laval Pavillon Charles-De Koninck, 1030 av. des sciences sociales, Quebec PQ, G1V 0A6, email:
Département de science politique, Université Laval Pavillon Charles-De Koninck, 1030 av. des sciences sociales, Quebec PQ, G1V 0A6, email:


The determinants of fulfilling campaign promises in Canada over the period 1994–2015 are analyzed in a comparative perspective. All other factors being equal, we find that promises to reduce government spending are more likely to be fulfilled by the Conservatives than by the Liberals. Majority and re-elected governments facing a budget surplus are more likely to fulfill their election promises than minority and newly elected governments facing a budget deficit. Promises are more likely to be fulfilled at the start than at the end of a mandate. We also find a small but noticeable increase in the rate of fulfilling campaign promises over time.


Nous analysons, dans une perspective comparative, la tenue des promesses électorales au Canada de 1994 à 2015. Toutes choses étant égales par ailleurs, nous constatons que les promesses de compression sont plus susceptibles d’être remplies par les conservateurs que par les libéraux. Les gouvernements majoritaires, réélus et ceux disposant d’un surplus budgétaire ont plus de chance de tenir leurs promesses électorales que les gouvernements minoritaires, nouvellement élus ou faisant face à un déficit budgétaire. Les promesses sont plus susceptibles d’être tenues au début des mandats qu’en fin de mandat. Et finalement, nous observons une augmentation légère, mais perceptible du taux de tenue au fil du temps.

Research Article/Étude originale
Copyright © Canadian Political Science Association (l'Association canadienne de science politique) and/et la Société québécoise de science politique 2018 

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