Political culture and regimes in atlantic canada
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Political Culture and Regimes in Atlantic Canada. D Brown St Francis Xavier University Pols 322 January 2007. Political Culture and Regimes in Atlantic Canada. Overview of Adamson and Stewart (2001) “Changing Party Politics in Atlantic Canada” Six indicators of the regime and the culture:

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Political culture and regimes in atlantic canada

Political Culture and Regimes in Atlantic Canada

D Brown

St Francis Xavier University

Pols 322

January 2007


Political culture and regimes in atlantic canada1

Political Culture and Regimes in Atlantic Canada

  • Overview of Adamson and Stewart (2001) “Changing Party Politics in Atlantic Canada”

  • Six indicators of the regime and the culture:

    • Party system stability

    • Social Bases of Politics

    • Social composition of political elites

    • Leader dominance

    • Political patronage

    • Role of Ideology


Regime and culture 1

Regime and Culture…1

  • Regime institutions differ little from other regions of Canada …

    • Westminster-style parliaments, cabinet and public services

    • First-past-the-post electoral system (single member plurality)

    • Federalism of provinces


Regime and culture 2

Regime and Culture ..2

  • But political culture said to be “traditional and conservative” in Atlantic Canada

    • Stable, unchanging, durable partisan attachments to old-line parties

    • Male, anglo dominated

    • Leader-oriented and dominated parties

    • Patronage-ridden

    • generally non-ideological parties (or uni-ideological)

    • Traditional social cleavages explain party support: religion, language, ethnicity, class


Party stability

Traditional model

Dominance of Liberal and Conservative

Very difficult for new parties to compete

Tight connection of provincial and federal parties

Revised Assessment

NDP breakthrough in Nova Scotia (fed and prov elections)

1997-2003: Atlantic Canada sticks with old PCs, bucking national trends

Rise and fall of COR in New Brunswick

Party Stability


Social bases

Traditional model

Old-style cleavages

Heavily local and rural-based attachments

Catholics, French vote Liberal (except NL)

Protestants, Anglicans vote Conservative (except NL)

Women vote same as men

Revised Assessment

Urban-rural split, esp in NL and NS

Decline of rural society means decline of partisan attachment?

French in NB now more flexible

Women more likely than men to vote NDP, Liberal

Social Bases


Social composition of elites

Traditional model

Male, white

English and French (latter especially in NB)

Some degree of consociationalism

Revised Assessment

A degree of improvement for women, minorities

Religious consociationalism no longer important ?

Social composition of elites


Leader dominance

Traditional model

Leaders dominate their parties

Leaders choose when to leave, or are defeated in election

Leaders chosen in delegated, broker-style conventions

Revised Assessment

Premiers still dominant, but Opposition party leaders vulnerable

A few cases where Premiers forced out

Some moves to direct membership election of leaders

Leader Dominance


Patronage

Traditional Model

“treating voters” on election day

Many patronage jobs

Pork-barrel form of allocation of public goods

Patron-client dependency

Revised Assessment

Newfoundland and Labrador eliminated a lot of patronage after Smallwood years

NS’ John Savage took strong stand against

Elsewhere: some proctices in decline, less acceptable

Dependency on government now more a feature of socio-econ status.

Patronage


Ideology

Traditional Model

Two parties converging at the middle

“Ins” vs “Outs”

Pragmatic, not radical

Supportive of Big Business…and Big Government?

Lags behind ideological trends elsewhere

Revised Assessment

No lag effect in adoption of Neo-conservative and “new public management trends

But overall AC continues to support continuity over change, and moderate over radical ideology

In 1990s strong support for PCs and NDP indicated a regional political preference for continuity and moderation

Ideology


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Many aspects of traditional model no longer apply

  • Political culture converging with Canadian norm …but in ways that stress continuity and moderation.

  • Potential forces driving change: urbanization; interregional mobility; changing federal political landscape; media and education.


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