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Advocacy Coalitions and the Alberta Water Act

  • B. Timothy Heinmiller (a1)

Abstract. In 1996, the Alberta legislature passed the Water Act, a landmark piece of legislation that introduced a number of significant water policy reforms, including a variety of eco-support instruments: regulatory mechanisms that can be used to define and preserve a share of water for environmental protection and restoration purposes. This article explains the inclusion of eco-support instruments in the Water Act by combining the Advocacy Coalition Framework with Joseph Nye's distinction between “hard” and “soft” power. It identifies two main advocacy coalitions in the Alberta water policy subsystem, the “Greens” and the “Aggies,” and argues that the development of the Water Act can be characterized as a contest between Green soft power and Aggie hard power. Accordingly, the inclusion of eco-support instruments in the Water Act was the result of the Greens' newfound soft power, but the Aggies' enduring hard power ensured that more radical reforms were not undertaken.

Résumé. En 1996, la législature de l'Alberta a adopté la loi sur l'eau, un projet de loi historique qui a introduit un certain nombre d'importantes réformes de la politique de l'eau, y compris une variété de l'éco-instruments de soutien: les mécanismes de régulation qui peuvent être utilisés pour définir et préserver une part de l'eau pour protection de l'environnement et à des fins de restauration. Cet article explique l'inclusion de l'éco-instruments de soutien à la loi sur l'eau en combinant l'Advocacy Coalition Framework avec distinction Joseph Nye entre «hard» et «soft» de puissance. Il identifie deux principales coalitions de plaidoyer dans le sous-système de l'Alberta, de la politique de l'eau “Verts” et le “Aggies, et affirme que le développement de la loi sur l'eau peut être caractérisé comme un concours entre soft power Vert et hard power Aggie. En conséquence, la prise en compte de l'éco-instruments de soutien à la loi sur l'eau a été le résultat des Verts soft power retrouvée, mais les Aggies énergie durable dur veillé à ce que des réformes plus radicales ne sont pas prises.

Corresponding author
B. Timothy Heinmiller, Department of Political Science, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Ave., St. Catharines ON, L2S 3A1. Email:
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Rob C. de Löe 1999. “Dam the News: Newspapers and the Oldman River Dam Project in Alberta.” Journal of Environmental Management 55: 219–37.

Daniel Nohrstedt . 2011. “Shifting Resources and Venues Producing Policy Change in Contested Subsystems: A Case Study of Swedish Signals Intelligence Policy.” Policy Studies Journal 39: 461–84.

Robert Paehlke . 2000. “Environmentalism in One Country: Canadian Environmental Policy in an Era of Globalization.” Policy Studies Journal 28: 160–75.

Christopher M. Weible , Paul A. Sabatier , Henk Jenkins-Smith , Daniel Nohrstedt , Adam Henry and Peter deLeon . 2011. “A Quarter Century of the Advocacy Coalition Framework: An Introduction to the Special Issue.” Policy Studies Journal 39: 349–60.

Christopher M. Weible , Paul A. Sabatier and Kelly McQueen . 2009. “Themes and Variations: Taking Stock of the Advocacy Coalition Framework.” Policy Studies Journal 37: 121–40.

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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-political-science-revue-canadienne-de-science-politique
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