Date: Jun 4 | Time: 01:30pm to 03:00pm | Location: SWING 409
Chair/Président/Présidente : Robert Finbow (Dalhousie University)
Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Robert Finbow (Dalhousie University)
Barriers to a 'Fair Share': Analyzing Major Royalty Policy Debates in Alberta: Justine Salam (University of Waterloo) Abstract: As Alberta’s oil sands constitute both a multi-billion dollar industry and Canada’s largest polluting industry, Albertans’ share of the oil sands—through royalties—has provoked contentious debates on deciding between royalty increase and status quo in 2007 and 2015.
Academics have studied Alberta’s oil sands from various perspectives, such as political ecology (Adkin, 2016) and sociology (Carroll, 2017). However, this paper focuses on on oil sands royalty policy and maps influential factors onto institutions, interests, and ideas (the 3 “I”s). By using this framework to deconstruct oil sands royalty policy outcomes, this paper guides an examination of institutional structures shaping interactions of key interest groups that are defined by dominant (and contested) ideas.
First, this paper analyzes institutions to identify how international agreements and regulatory structures generally favor the oil sands, reinforcing royalties’ status quo in Alberta. Next, the paper maps interest groups with different power resources (i.e. access to decision-making circles) and argues that the openness of Alberta’s top political spheres towards oil-interests creates unparalleled policy access to industry actors. Finally, the paper examines the influence of ideas, particularly narratives of Canada as an energy superpower, Alberta’s duty to extract 'ethical oil,' Albertans’ perceptions of what constitutes their “fair share,” and beliefs around the role and responsibilities of their government.
By providing an accessible and comprehensive analysis of royalty policy, this paper ultimately provides a framework for understanding the major barriers to, as well as opportunities for, Albertans seizing larger financial benefits from oil sands.
When Do Economic Crises Endanger Democracy? A Global Comparative Analysis of Thresholds: Andrew Klassen (Charles Darwin University) Abstract: INTRODUCTION: This article draws upon literature examining financial crises, economic growth, economic voting, and satisfaction with democracy. It aims to estimate thresholds beyond which key economic and financial indicators have the strongest effects on national public attitudes towards democracy.
METHODS: The study uses over 3.2 million survey respondents across 147 countries between 1973 and 2016. Survey data from nineteen sources is combined with indicators from multiple international organizations. The article uses time-series cross-sectional analysis to estimate thresholds for negative and positive effects on public satisfaction with democracy.
RESULTS: Negative effects are strongest with unemployment above 12%, inflation above 11%, government debts above 81% of gross domestic product (GDP), annual government deficits above 7.5%, and GDP growth below 0%. Estimates are additionally provided for thresholds and ranges with positive effects.
DISCUSSION: The findings are preliminary global approximations despite the apparent precision. National economic, political, welfare, and social contexts will affect the thresholds applicable within each country. Further research is needed to apply these findings under different national contexts and to undertake additional respondent-level analysis. This research is part of Human Understanding Measured Across National (HUMAN) Surveys.
Labour Councils as Political Actors: A Québec-Based Comparative Approach: Thomas Collombat (Université du Québec en Outaouais), Sophie Potvin (Université du Québec en Outaouais) Abstract: Labour councils are one of the oldest forms of class-based solidarity. By bringing together unions from different trades and industries, they have been important spaces for the labour movement to develop its political identity. As research objects, labour councils suffer from the declining interest in organized labour as a political actor. Within the labour movement itself, councils are often associated with two perceptions: on the one hand, very militant and progressive organizations (usually in large metropolitan areas); on the other, devitalised structures whose decline reflects the more general weakening of the labour movement (usually in non-metropolitan areas). However, no systematic analysis of labour councils’ activities has been conducted lately. This paper will present findings from a broader research project that aims at starting this work by comparing labour councils in three Québec regions: Metropolitan Montreal, Outaouais, and Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Québec’s peculiar union landscape means that in each of these regions, two labour councils coexist: one affiliated with the Québec Federation of Labour (Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec, FTQ) and one for the Confederation of National Trade Unions (Confédération des syndicats nationaux, CSN). The comparison is therefore double: cross-regions, and cross-union centres. We will analyse each of the six labour councils and their capacity to be significant local political actors. We will focus not only on their positions and involvement during electoral periods, but also on their role in building coalitions able to promote a progressive agenda at the regional level.