Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Combining the Hazards of Ministerial Appointment AND Ministerial Exit in the Canadian Federal Cabinet

  • Matthew Kerby (a1)
Abstract

Abstract. The Canadian federal cabinet stands out among Westminster parliamentary democracies because of the large number of first-time ministers who are appointed to cabinet without any previous parliamentary or political experience. Several explanations have been put forward to account for this peculiarity but no attempt has been made to examine how Canadian prime ministers overcome the information deficit associated with appointing ministers with no experience. How can prime ministers be confident that they are making the right choice? This paper explores the subject by estimating the survival functions of ministerial turnover for potential, but not yet appointed, cabinet ministers were they to survive to a defined political benchmark; these survival rates are included in a logit model of Canadian ministerial appointment following four general elections (1957, 1979, 1984 and 2006) in which the prime minister was tasked with appointing a cabinet with ministerial neophytes.

Résumé. Le Conseil des ministres fédéral du Canada se démarque dans l'ensemble des démocraties parlementaires britanniques en raison du grand nombre de ministres novices qui sont nommés au Conseil alors qu'ils ne possèdent aucune expérience parlementaire ou politique antérieure. Plusieurs explications de cette anomalie ont été proposées, mais aucune démarche d'analyse ne s'est encore penchée sur la manière dont les premiers ministres du Canada arrivent à surmonter le manque d'information associé à la nomination de ministres sans expérience. Comment les premiers ministres peuvent-ils être certains d'avoir fait le bon choix? Cette étude scrute le sujet en évaluant le coefficient de survie, en cas de remaniement ministériel, pour les ministres du Conseil potentiels, mais pas encore mandatés, advenant que ces derniers survivent à certains jalons politiques précis. Ces taux de survie font partie intégrante d'un modèle de répartition des nominations ministérielles qui sont survenues à la suite de quatre élections générales (1957, 1979, 1984 et 2006) où le premier ministre a dû constituer un Conseil des ministres composé de néophytes.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Matthew Kerby, Department of Political Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1C 5S7, Canada, kerbym@mun.ca
References
Hide All
Alderman, R.K. and Cross, J.A.. 1985. “The Reluctant Knife: Reflections on the Prime Minister's Power.” Parliamentary Affairs 38: 387408.
Alderman, R.K. and Cross, J.A.. 1987. “The Timing of Cabinet Reshuffles.” Parliamentary Affairs 40 (1): 119.
Atkinson, Michael M. and Docherty, David C.. 1992. “Moving Right Along: The Roots of Amateurism in the Canadian House of Commons.” Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique 25 (2): 295318.
Barrie, Doreen and Gibbins, Roger. 1989. “Parliamentary Careers in the Canadian Federal State.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 22 (1): 137–45.
Berlinski, Samuel, Dewan, Torun and Dowding, Keith. 2007. “The Length of Ministerial Tenure in the UK 1945–1997.” British Journal of Political Science 37 (2): 245–62.
Berlinski, Samuel, Dewan, Torun and Dowding, Keith. 2010. “The Impact of Individual and Collective Performance on Ministerial Tenure.” The Journal of Politics 72 (2): 559–71.
Berlinski, Samuel, Dewan, Torun, Dowding, Keith and Subrahmanyan, Gita. 2009. “Choosing, moving and resigning at Westminster, UK.” In The Selection of Ministers in Europe: Hiring and Firing, ed. Dowding, Keith and Dumont, Patrick. Abingdon: Routledge.
Bienen, Henry and van de Walle, Nicolas. 1992. “A Proportional Hazard Model of Leadership Duration.” Journal of Politics 54: 685719.
Box-Steffensmeier, Janet M. and Jones, Bradford S.. 2004. Event History Modeling: A Guide for Social Scientists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Crossley, John. 1997. “Picture This: Women Politicians Hold Key Posts in Prince Edward Island.” In In the Presences of Women: Representation in Canadian Governments, ed. Arscott, Jane and Trimble, Linda. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Canada.
Davey, Clark. 1957. “Diefenbaker Appoints 2 Ministers, 8 Aides.” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), August 8, 2.
Desserud, Don. 1997. “Women in New Brunswick Politics: Waiting for the Third Wave.” In In the Presence of Women: Representation in Canadian Governments, ed. Arscott, Jane and Trimble, Linda. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Canada.
Dewan, Torun and Dowding, Keith. 2005. “The Corrective Effect of Ministerial Resignations on Government Popularity.” American Journal of Political Science 49 (1): 4656.
Dewan, Torun and Myatt, David. 2010. “The Declining Talent Pool of Government.” American Journal of Political Science 54 (2): 267–86.
Docherty, David C. 1997. Mr. Smith Goes to Ottawa: Life in the House of Commons. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
Dowding, Keith and Dumont, Patrick, eds. 2009. The Selection of Ministers in Europe: Hiring and Firing. Abingdon: Routledge.
Dowding, Keith and Kang, Won-Taek. 1998. “Ministerial Resignations 1945–97.” Public Administration 76: 411–29.
Ferris, J. Stephen and Voia, Marcel-Cristian. 2009. “What Determines the Length of a Typical Canadian Parliamentary Government?Canadian Journal of Political Science 42 (4): 881910.
Heard, Andrew. 1991. Canadian Constitutional Conventions: The Marriage of Law and Politics. Toronto: Oxford University Press.
Hougaard, Philip. 2000. Analysis of Multivariate Survival Data. New York: Springer.
Huber, John D. and Martinez-Gallardo, Cecilia. 2004. “Cabinet Instability and the Accumulation of Experience: The French Fourth and Fifth Republics in Comparative Perspective.” British Journal of Political Science 34: 2748.
Huber, John D. and Martinez-Gallardo, Cecilia. 2008. “Replacing Cabinet Ministers: Patterns of Ministerial Stability in Parliamentary Democracy.” American Political Science Review 102 (2): 169–80.
Indridason, Indridi and Kam, Christopher. 2008. “Cabinet Reshuffles and Ministerial Drift.” British Journal of Political Science 38 (4): 621–56.
Kam, Christopher and Indridason, Indridi. 2005. “The Timing of Cabinet Reshuffles in Five Westminster Parliamentary Systems.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 30: 327–63.
Kerby, Matthew. 2009. “Worth the Wait: The determinants of ministerial appointment in Canada, 1935–2008.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 42 (3): 593611.
Kerby, Matthew and Blidook, Kelly. 2011. “It's Not You, It's Me: Determinants of Voluntary Legislative Turnover in CanadaLegislative Studies Quarterly 36 (4): 621–43.
King, Gary, Alt, James E., Burns, Nancy Elizabeth and Laver, Michael. 1990. “A Unified Model of Cabinet Dissolution in Parliamentary Democracies.” American Journal of Political Science 34 (3): 846–71.
Laver, Michael and Schofield, Norman. 1998. Multiparty Government: The Politics of Coalitions in Europe. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
Laver, Michael and Shepsle, Kenneth. 1996. Making and Breaking Governments: Cabinets and Legislatures in Parliamentary Governments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Matheson, William A. 1976. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet. Toronto: Methuen.
Matland, Richard E. and Studlar, Donley T.. 2004. “Determinants of Legislative Turnover: A Cross-National Analysis.” British Journal of Political Science 34: 87108.
Nielsen, Erik. 1989. The House Is Not a Home. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada.
Page, Barbara. 1990. “Ministerial Resignation and Individual Ministerial Responsibility in Australia 1976–1989.” Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 28: 141–61.
Porter, John. 1965. The Vertical Mosaic. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Punnett, Robert Malcolm. 1977. The Prime Minister in Canadian Government and Politics. Toronto: Macmillan.
Studlar, Donley T. and Moncrief, Gary. 1997. “The Recruitment of Women Cabinet Ministers in the Canadian Provinces.” Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration 10: 6781.
Sutherland, S.L. 1991. “The Consequences of Electoral Volatility: Inexperienced Ministers 1949–90.” In Representation, Integration and Political Parties in Canada, ed. Bakvis, Herman. Ottawa: Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing and Canada Communications Group, Supply and Services Canada and Dundurn Press.
White, Graham. 1998. “Shorter Measure: The changing ministerial career in Canada.” Canadian Public Administration 41 (3): 369–94.
White, Graham. 2005. Cabinets and First Ministers. Vancouver: UBC Press.
Woodhouse, Diana. 1994. Ministers and Parliament: Accountability in Theory and Practice. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

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
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 7
Total number of PDF views: 57 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 247 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 17th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.