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Provincial and Territorial Politics in Canada and Beyond

J10(a) - Continuity and Change in Provincial Politics

Date: Jun 5 | Time: 10:30am to 12:00pm | Location: ESB 2012

Chair/Président/Présidente : Loleen Berdahl (University of Saskatchewan)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Loleen Berdahl (University of Saskatchewan)

A Nationalism In The Midst Of Change. Or What 2018 Quebec General Election Can Ultimately Tell Us.: Evelyne Brie (University of Pennsylvania), Catherine Ouellet (University of Toronto)
Abstract: The 2018 Quebec elections are the first provincial elections since the 1970s in which all major political parties excluded holding a referendum on Quebec’s independence. In this context, the Coalition Avenir Québec’s landslide victory raises the following question: nearly sixty years after the Quiet Revolution, has Quebec’s status within the federation become an outdated issue within provincial politics? Drawing from theories on the different dimensions of nationalism, this paper explores to what extent Quebec politics are still determined by dissatisfaction towards federalism. Our paper builds on unique exit polling data collected in Quebec City (Jean-Talon, Taschereau) and Montreal (Laurier-Dorion, Mont-Royal-Outremont) during the Quebec General Elections held on October 1st, 2018. Results are obtained using ordinary least square regression models. Data shows that despite not being a central campaign issue, attitude towards federalism remains a significant predictor of vote choice for some parties in Quebec. Overall, most respondents (70%) affirmed that a reform of Canadian federalism was necessary, yet most also considered that such a reform was possible (69%), with a slight majority being opposed to Quebec independence (56%). Neither of these attitudes towards Canadian federalism was a significant vote choice predictor for Coalition Avenir Quebec voters - yet all were positively associated with support for the Parti Québécois and Québec Solidaire. Thus, the 2018 Quebec provincial elections only partially confirm the existence of a dealignment between vote choice and attitudes towards Quebec’s status within the federation, with voters who display dissatisfaction towards federalism still supporting traditionally sovereignist parties.


Four Decades of Dominance: Explaining the Tory Dynasty in Alberta: Anthony Sayers (University of Calgary), David Stewart (University of Calgary), John Santos (University of Calgary)
Abstract: The Progressive Conservative Party dominated Alberta politics for over four decades, the longest unbroken run of electoral victories by a Canadian political party. The party suffered electoral defeat in the 2015 provincial election and was then terminated by a vote of its members as part of the merger with the Wildrose Party that formed the United Conservative Party. We use the Alberta case to explore the dynamics of one-party dominance, including the key political dimensions that underpinned the PCs success, the critical role of leaders in managing its appeal, and the institutional factors that sustained its organizational and campaign strength. We also canvass some of the key changes that led to its demise in 2015 and that help us to better understand the dynamics that produce dominant political parties.