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The Importance of Local Party Activity in Understanding Canadian Politics: Winning from the Ground Up in the 2015 Federal Election

Presidential Address to the Canadian Political Science Association Calgary, 31 May 2016

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2016

William Cross*
Carleton University


Political parties have long been identified as critical players in Canadian democracy. In this address I focus on the activities of parties at the constituency level arguing that this is crucial to fully understanding many important questions in Canadian political science. By way of example, using data relating to the 2015 federal election, I argue that examining the relative vitality of local party associations in the period between election campaigns assists in a fuller understanding of election outcomes and that examining local party nomination dynamics is key to understanding the underrepresentation of women in the candidate pool and ultimately in the House of Commons.


Les partis politiques sont depuis longtemps considérés les acteurs clés dans la démocratie canadienne. Dans ce discours, je me concentre sur les activités des partis à l’échelon de la circonscription en faisant valoir le caractère essentiel que cette analyse revêt pour comprendre pleinement de nombreuses questions importantes en science politique canadienne. À titre d'exemple, en me fondant sur les données de l’élection fédérale de 2015, j'avance que l'examen de la vitalité relative des associations locales des partis durant la période écoulée entre les campagnes électorales aide à une meilleure compréhension de résultats de l’élection et que l'examen de la dynamique des courses à l'investiture des partis à l’échelle locale est déterminante pour comprendre la sous- représentation des femmes dans le bassin de candidatures et, en dernier ressort, à la Chambre des communes.

Research Article
Copyright © Canadian Political Science Association (l'Association canadienne de science politique) and/et la Société québécoise de science politique 2016 

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