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Worth the Wait: Determinants of Ministerial Appointment in Canada, 1935–2008

  • Matthew Kerby (a1)

Abstract. The subject of ministerial career paths is neglected in the Canadian political science canon. The existing literature, data and methods are for the most part descriptive and require updating. This article addresses this deficit by focusing on the topic of ministerial appointments in the Canadian federal parliament. An event history model is developed to estimate the “hazard” of ministerial appointment for all government party members of Parliament for the period 1935–2008. Existing theories and explanations for ministerial appointments and their relationship to constitutional conventions and political principles are systematically tested using a series of variables identified in the Canadian and comparative literature. The paper concludes with recommendations for further research and integration with complementary country-specific and comparative research programs in the field of ministerial career paths.

Résumé. Le parcours de carrière ministérielle est un sujet négligé dans la convention de la science politique canadienne. La littérature, les données et les méthodes existantes sont majoritairement descriptives et requièrent une mise à jour. Cet article tente de combler cette lacune en étudiant les nominations ministérielles au gouvernement fédéral canadien. Un modèle de survie couvrant la période de 1935 à 2008 est mis au point afin d'évaluer le risque des nominations ministérielles pour tous les députés du parti politique au gouvernement. Les théories et interprétations actuellement utilisées pour déterminer les nominations ministérielles ainsi que leur affinité avec les conventions constitutionnelles et les préceptes politiques sont méthodiquement analysées à l'aide d'une suite de données reconnues dans la littérature canadienne et comparative. Finalement le document préconise la poursuite des recherches et un rapprochement avec les programmes de recherche comparatifs et propres au pays en matière de parcours de carrière ministérielle.

Corresponding author
Matthew Kerby, Department of Political Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1C 5S7, Canada,
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Samuel Berlinski , Torun Dewan and Keith Dowding . 2007. “The Length of Ministerial Tenure in the United Kingdom, 1945–97.” British Journal of Political Science 37: 245–62.

Torun Dewan and Keith Dowding . 2005. “The Corrective Effect of Ministerial Resignations on Government Popularity.” American Journal of Political Science 49: 4656.

Keith Dowding and Won-Taek Kang . 1998. “Ministerial Resignations 1945–97.” Public Administration 76: 411–29.

Christopher Kam and Indridi Indridason . 2005. “The Timing of Cabinet Reshuffles in Five Westminster Parliamentary Systems.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 30: 327–63.

Gary King , James E. Alt , Nancy Burns and Michael Laver . 1990. “A Unified Model of Cabinet Dissolution in Parliamentary Democracies.” American Journal of Political Science 34: 846–71.

Donley T. Studlar and Gary F. Moncrief . 1997. “The Recruitment of Women Cabinet Ministers in the Canadian Provinces.” Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration 10: 6781.

Graham White . 1998. “Shorter Measure: The Changing Ministerial Career in Canada.” Canadian Public Administration 41: 369–94.

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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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