Tweet to Follow, Tweet to Lead: Social Media Portrayal of Leadership Styles Among Canadian Mayors: Bianca Jamal (University of Saskatchewan), Andrea Perrella (Wilfrid Laurier University) Abstract: Elected officials increasingly use social media to communicate with the public. A large amount of such traffic occurs during election campaigns, as candidates obviously reach out for votes. Consequently, campaign-related social media use by elected officials has attracted a lot of research. But how do elected officials use social media between elections? On this, little has been done. Also, little has been done to examine how mayors communicate their personal brand and leadership style. Research on political branding and leadership has been directed to federal and provincial politics. Yet, of the three levels of government, municipalities are the most present in everyday lives. Our research examines the narrative style of mayors on Twitter and how that impacts their engagement with the public. Drawing from Henneberg's typology, tweets and retweets of about 20 mayors of Canadian cities will be analyzed based on the ability of each mayor 1) to lead and 2) to follow. Which narrative style best elicits engagement from their constituents. As a result, Canadian mayors and, potentially, other elected officials could use appropriate narrative style to improve their connection to constituents over social media.
Emerging Disruptive Technologies, America's Relative Decline and the Rise of China: Francis Okpaleke (University of Waikato) Abstract: The movement towards unmanned weapons systems seems inevitable and is often framed as necessary to retain the edge in US military effectiveness. Unmanned and autonomous systems have been central to the Department of Defense’s Third Offset strategy which calls for greater investments in these technologies to compete with rivals, such as China. This paper synthesizes interviews, experiments, surveys, and historical case analyses to question both the novelty of the move towards unmanned weaponry, and the belief that the development of these weapons is the inevitable pathway to achieving US national security objectives. Instead, we argue that there are a number of factors driving the push towards unmanned systems – defense industry pressures, the US public, and risk averse leaders – which have little to do with whether these weapons increase US military effectiveness. In many cases, in fact, unmanned technologies are poorly suited to achieving large-scale military objectives but may be attractive to political and military leaders for other domestic political reasons. The implications for future wars are real. Unmanned technologies may be effective in limited coercive conflicts with discrete and limited aims, but in existential conflicts the man will always be called back to the battlefield. Future leaders in democratic countries like the US will thus have to face a constant tension between the societal push for unmanned technology and a desire to win wars; a tension that may shape the types of conflicts that the United States and other democracies opt into (and win) in the future
Philosophic Affinities: Indigenous Canadian Political Thought and the Foundations of Conservatism: Samuel Piccolo (University of Notre Dame) Abstract: At long last, mainstream academia and wider Canadian culture alike are paying attention to Indigenous Canadian political thought. The works of Taiaiake Alfred, Glen Sean Coulthard, and Leanne Simpson, amongst others, have brought to the broader world of political theory the historic animating principles of Indigenous political communities, along with prescriptions for reconciling these communities and the state of Canada. Indigenous thought is typically thought to be allied with the political left, and it is the parties of the left who have most enthusiastically endorsed the project of of reconciliation. It is uncontroversial to suggest that, writ large, Canadian conservatism and Indigenous political theory are understood to be at odds. But need things be this way? This essay will be an analysis of the affinities between Indigenous Canadian political thought and philosophers of the western canon who are thought to be foundational to conservatism, including Edmund Burke and Johan Herder. Amid these thinkers of a conservative bent I see a profound respect for tradition, the particularities of communities, and a reverence for the natural world and its order. Such elements, too, can be found in contemporary Indigenous thinkers. That these similarities have largely gone unremarked is impoverishing not only for academic discussion, but also for public political debate. It is this impoverishment that I seek to enrich.
Distinct Minorities: A Socio-Psychological Approach to Visible Minority Canadians’ Political Preferences: Clayton Ma (Concordia University) Abstract: Visible minority Canadians made up over 22 percent of Canadian society in 2016 (Statistics Canada 2016), yet we seem to know relatively little about their political attitudes. While previous works such as Blais (2005) have noted that Canadians of non-European descent do prefer the Liberal Party of Canada at the ballot box, we do not know precisely why this is the case, nor do we know if this trend is truly uniform across the vastly diverse ethnic/racial communities that are considered as “visible minorities.”
Using data drawn from the 2014 Provincial Diversity Project which includes a sample of 1,647 visible minority Canadians living in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta, this study proposes a detailed approach to studying visible minorities’ political preferences. Doing so, I account for key factors relevant to visible minorities such as length of residence, generational effects, and social conservatism. Moreover, I go beyond the visible minority category by also looking at the issue at an ethnic/racial level which allows the different immigrant communities’ unique political attitudes to surface. In this study, I specifically focus on Canada’s three largest visible minority communities (Blacks, Chinese, and South Asians) when studying visible minorities as distinct groups.
In addition to assessing the influence of length of residence, social conservatism, and social networks, my findings indicate that while visible minorities do, as a whole, still identify most closely with the Liberals, this is very much not the case across all minority communities once we look at them separately.
Belonging? Exploring Humour and Identity Construction During the Canada 150 Celebrations: Wilissa Reist (University of Leeds) Abstract: Despite its potent ability to reflect and question common beliefs and values, humour and has rarely been used as a subject of analysis within Canadian political science. This project centers on questions of race, coloniality and belonging in Canadian humour. Using content and discourse analysis, I consider the ways in which Indigenous and settler identities were constructed in the political satire programs This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Rick Mercer Report as well as the Air Farce Canada 150 program distributed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation during the Canada 150 Celebrations. The following question guides this research: to what extent did the humour produced during the Canada 150 celebrations operate in relation hegemonic narratives about Canada’s colonial past? I argue that the humour presented in the three programs studied both reproduced and challenged hegemonic narratives about Canada as a colonial state by showing Indigenous people as agents of political and social change while also normalizing colonial narratives of European discovery and the land as an untouched resource.