• A concept used in political science, and other disciplines like sociology, to explore
how society is divided into groups. They are deep and persistent divisions in society and
are used to describe, among other things, voting behaviour.
INTRODUCTION: THE STUDY OF POLITICS
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Figure 1.1: A Model of the Political System
Approaches to the Study of Politics
Five approaches can help interpret different aspects of the Canadian political system:
• Public Choice
• Class Analysis
The Pluralist Approach
1. Power is widely dispersed in the political system and not monopolized by any state
or corporate elite.
2. Individuals are free to employ a variety of resources at their disposal and to organize
whatever groups they wish in order to back their demands to the authorities.
3. The authorities make decisions that are basically compromises among the various
competing interests that articulate their demands.
4. Different policy areas are characterized by different individuals and groups making
demands on different authorities.
5. Advocacy group activity is increasingly replacing individual and party activity in the
political system. Public Choice Approach
• Also known as the rational choice approach
• Arguably the dominant approach in political science.
Can be summarized as follows:
1. Politics is a bargaining process in which both politicians and voters act in a rational,
self-interested fashion, the politicians making promises in return for votes.
2. Politicians and parties generally adopt policies that will get themselves elected, and,
other things being equal, they respond to those interests representing the largest
number of votes.
3. Politicians concentrate on marginal, undecided, or strategically located voters.
4. Politicians try to maximize publicity of their successes and minimize their failures,
take credit for good things and blame others for the bad, and manipulate the timing of
positive and negative decisions.
5. A similar rational, self-serving bargaining process also goes on at other points in the
political system, such as between politicians and the bureaucracy, the authorities and
advocacy groups, and the authorities and the media.
The Class Analysis Approach
1. The corporate elite or bourgeoisie not only control the private sector of the economy,
but also largely determine the shape of public policies and ensure that these policies
are designed to facilitate its accumulation of wealth.
2. This predominant influence is the result of the bourgeoisie‘s providing personnel for
public offices and funds for political parties, shaping societal values, and organizing
pressure groups; it also results from the dependence of the state on the capitalist
system for the provision of jobs and economic growth.
3. The petite bourgeoisie, the new middle class, and even the working class must be
accommodated to some extent by public policies that legitimate the capitalist system,
and these elements can influence events if they act as a class.
4. If these classes are not satisfied by legitimation, the government may have to resort
5. Especially in an era of globalization, modern states must also contend with powerful
transnational corporations and international agreements that states have signed on their
The State-Centred Approach
1. The state is largely autonomous from societal forces.
2. The authorities decide what is good for society and design policies to fulfill their
vision of the public interest.
3. The politicians rely heavily on the bureaucracy for advice.
4. The authorities seek to enhance their autonomy by the internal generation of
information and by maximizing their discretion, jurisdiction, and financial resources.
5. If necessary, the authorities resort to the manipulation of information or coercion in
order to persuade the public of their wisdom, or seek the support of the most relevant
societal interest. Globalization
(Approaches to the Study of Politics, cont‘d)
1. The government must increasingly respond to demands from external actors to
take certain actions or to refrain from actions already being taken.
2. The government is constrained from acting as it otherwise would by the rules of
international organizations it has joined or international agreements it has signed.
3. Those branches of government most closely involved with external relations have
become more active and significant than those dealing with purely domestic
4. Actors in the political system at the citizen level increasingly interact with
counterparts in other states to protect and promote their common interests.
5. Political ideas and ideologies and their transmission are increasingly globalized
and less distinctive to individual states.
How can we identify and study regionalism in Canadian politics?
• Are regional differences present when people belonging to the same social
categories manifest different political preferences from one region of the country
The Canadian Election Study (CES): http://ces-eec.org/pagesE/home.html
Canadian Opinion Research Archive (CORA):
Are provincial identities a product of strong provincial governments? (Cairns 1977)
Quantitative (CES) vs. Qualitative (Wiseman 1981) analysis?
Regions and Regionalism
There are 6 main regions in Canada:
• The Atlantic Provinces
• The Prairies
• British Columbia
• The North
Regional economic differences can be observed in the following three areas:
• Primary industries (raw materials)
• Secondary industries (manufacturing)
• Tertiary industries (services)
Regional Economic Conflicts
National Energy Program (1980)
• Emergency policy introduced in the wake of the 1970s energy crisis by Liberal
Churchill Falls Hydroelectric Plant (1967)
• Hydroelectric contract signed by Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec.
Two main ways of addressing regional economic disparities:
• Equalization Payments
1957-present: unconditional annual grant from the federal government for qualifying
provinces to provide services at a comparable national level.
• Regional Economic Development Programmes
1935-present: federal economic assistance to promote enterprise and industry.
Identity: perception amongst people of the same region that they hold shared collective
interests and distinctiveness.
Can be manifested in:
• east vs. west; north vs. south; centre vs. the periphery
• provinces and territories
• urban vs. rural
Example: Western alienation, “the west wants in”
Peripheral Regional Alienation (PRA) 1997
o Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador had highest
January 23 & 24
Idle No More campaign
Daniels v. Canada (2013 FC 6)
• Are non-status Indians and Métis, identified as ―Indians‖ under s
91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867? • Court responds, yes.
Aboriginal Demographic Profile Today
Aboriginal Peoples are divided into 3 categories:
• First Nations
Comprise approximately 4% of the Canadian Population, with the highest concentration
in the West.
Population counts by Aboriginal identity, 2006
Total aboriginal: 1,172,785 First Nations: 698,025
Provincial/territorial distribution of Aboriginal identity population, 2006
Manitoba and Saskatchewan: 15%
Younger median age (22-30) than non-aboriginal population(40)
Lower average total income in 2005 (19-27,000) than non-aboriginal population
Non-Aboriginal population still way more educated in terms of university degrees
Aboriginal people have a lot of problem with the law
Historical Treaties of Canada
Royal Proclamation of 1763:
• Prohibited the purchase of First Nation lands by any party other
than the Crown;
• Established precedent that the indigenous population had certain
rights to the
lands they occupied;
Prior to 1970s, Canadian governments viewed aboriginal rights and title as existing at
pleasure of the Crown; land-claim organizing banned from 1927 until 1951.
The Hawthorn Report (1967) The White Paper (1969)
• Harold Cardinal (The Unjust Society), ―a thinly disguised programme of
extermination through assimilation.‖
The Supreme Court in Calder (1973) recognized “inherent” nature of
aboriginal rights and title.
The federal government has jurisdiction over Indians and lands reserved for
Indians under s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867.
Constitutional Entrenchment of Aboriginal Rights:
Prior to 1982, Aboriginal rights existed at common law and therefore could be
altered and/or extinguished by the federal government through ―ordinary‖
legislation. Section 25 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees aboriginal
rights and freedoms are not affected by the Charter
―The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be
construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other
rights or freedoms that pertain to the aboriginal peoples of Canada including‖
• (a) any rights or freedoms that have been recognized by the Royal
Proclamation of October 7, 1763; and
• (b) any rights or freedoms that now exist by way of land claims agreements
or may be so acquired. Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act,1982 constitutionally
entrenches Aboriginal rights.
• ―The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of
Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.‖
The Constitution Act, 1982
Brought important additions to Canada‘s constitutional structure, including:
• Charter of Rights and Freedoms
• Aboriginal Rights
• Definition of the constitution
• Amending formals
Most aboriginal organizations opposed the package, leading to later meetings on
Aboriginal self- government.
• Dancing Around the Table (1987) • http://goo.gl/xh3tk
Meech Lake Accord (1987-1990)
Quebec‘s constitutional demands:
1. A full Quebec veto for constitutional changes;
2. The recognition of Quebec as a ‗distinct society‘;
3. A provincial role in making appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC);
4. A shift to the provinces in power over immigration;
5. Limits on the federal spending power.
While a right to Aboriginal self-government was part of negotiations, little head-way was
Manitoba MLA Elijah Harper‘s refusal to fast-track debate on Meech Lake - on the
grounds that Aboriginals were not adequately consulted - was a key factor in the
The Charlottetown Accord (1990-1992)
Key components of the accord included:
• The Canada Clause • Parliamentary reform
• ‗Triple E‘ Senate
• Quebec guaranteed 25% of HoC seats
• Division of powers between federal and provincial governments • Aboriginal self-
government Provincial governments, uneasy about Aboriginal self-government becoming legally
enforceable, insisted on a clause delaying justiciability of the right for 5 years.
Charlottetown Accord failed in a national referendum.
Oka Crisis (1990)
Ipperwash Crisis (1996)
The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1991-1996) The Kelowna Accord (2005)
Apology for residential schooling (2008)
Government of Canada, Comprehensive Land Claims Negotiations http://www.aadnc-
British Columbia Treaty Negotiations
FRENCH CANADA & QUEBEC
January 30 & 31
Number of people and proportion of the population reporting French by selected
language characteristic, Canada, 2006 and 2011
Mother tongue: 22.3%
Language spoken at home: 23.9%
Most often: 21.7%
On a regular basis: 2.2%
First official language spoken: 23.6%
Ability to conduct a conversation 30.7%
Didn’t change much between 2006-2011
New Brunswick highest population of mother-tongue (33%) and language spoken at
Quebec: mother tongue (80.1%), language spoken at home (86.9%)
Multination vs. Territorial Federalism
• Subunits (provinces, states, etc.) are region-based not peoples- based. Primary
example is the United States.
• Assumes that all regional-based units are entitled to the same powers.
• A country which contains more than one nation.
• Nation understood as a historical community, identified as being more or less
institutionally complete, occupying a given territory or homeland, and sharing a distinct
language and culture.
• In Canada, nations would include the Québécois, Aboriginals peoples, and English
Historical Overview of French-English Relations Pre-Confederation Developments
• Quebec Act 1774
• Constitutional Act, 1791
• Act of Union, 1840
• Official Bilingualism in the Constitution Act, 1867
Ethnic/Linguistic Conflicts 1867 – 1960
• The Riel Rebellions 1870, 1885
• Bilingualism in Manitoba
• Bilingualism in Ontario: Regulation 17, 1913
• Conscription Crises, 1917, 1939
• Quebec Quiet Revolution, 1960-66
• Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, 1963-68
• Official Languages Act, 1968-69
• Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) crisis, 1970
• The Parti Québécois wins Quebec election, 1976
• First Quebec referendum on sovereignty, 1980 • Yes: 40% No: 60%
• Constitution Act, 1982 • Quebec does not sign.
• Meech Lake Accord, 1987-1990
• Charlottetown Accord, 1990-1992
• Second Quebec referendum on sovereignty, 1995 • Yes: 49.4% No: 50.6%
• Secession Reference, 1998
• Clarity Act, 2000
• Liberal sponsorship scandal, 2004
• Parliamentary motion, 2006: ―Québécois form a nation within a united Canada‖
The Quiet Revolution describes the shifting beliefs about the purpose and character of
Quebec‘s society and politics in the 1960s. (John Lesage, premier minister du Quebec
Whereas French-Canadian nationalists had previously envisioned French Canada as
rural and agrarian, during this period social and economic development began to be
promoted in Quebec.
Secession Reference, 1998
1. Under the Constitution of Canada, can the National Assembly, legislature or
government of Quebec effect the secession of Quebec from Canada unilaterally?
2. Does international law give the National Assembly, legislature or government of Quebec the right to effect the secession of Quebec from Canada unilaterally? In this
regard, is there a right to self‐determination under international law that would give the
National Assembly, legislature or government of Quebec the right to effect the
secession of Quebec from Canada unilaterally?
3. In the event of a conflict between domestic and international law on the right of the
National Assembly, legislature or government of Quebec to effect the secession of
Quebec from Canada unilaterally, which would take precedence in Canada?
SCC presents four foundational constitutional principles:
• Constitutionalism and the rule of law,
• Respect for minority rights
―These defining principles function in symbiosis. No single principle can be defined in
isolation from the others, nor does any one principle trump or exclude the operation of
Opinions by ‗the Court‘
1. Under the constitution can Quebec secede unilaterally?
However, the federalism principle, in conjunction with the democratic principle,
dictates that following a clear majority on a clear question in favour of secession
a reciprocal obligation on all parties to Confederation exists to negotiate
constitutional changes to respond to that desire.
2. Under international law can Quebec secede unilaterally?
The right to self-determination arises only (1) in situations of decolonization, (2)
where a people are oppressed, or (3) where a ―definable group‖ is denied
meaningful access to government.
3. In the event of conflict between domestic and international law, which would take
No conflict exists.
DIVERSITY AND MULTICULTURALISM
February 6 & 7, 2013
Canadian immigration policy
Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (1947):
―The policy of the government is to foster the growth of the population of Canada by the
encouragement of immigration. The government will seek by legislation, regulation and
vigorous administration, to ensure the careful selection and permanent settlement of
such numbers of immigrants as can be advantageously absorbed in our national
economy. It is a matter of domestic policy [...] The people of Canada do not wish as a
result of mass immigration to make a fundamental alteration in the character of our
population. Large scale immigration from the Orient would change the fundamental
composition of the Canadian population.‖ th
Into the mid-20 century, Canada enforced immigration policies that were both
racist and discriminatory.
• Example: Chinese Immigration Act of 1923
After WWII, people became more aware of and concerned about the racism that
was manifest in many governments‘ public policies.
In 1962, Canada shifted to a universal skills-based selection criteria for immigration,
which was aimed in part to address domestic and international critics of racial
discrimination. Changes to Canada‘s immigration policies in the 1960s dramatically
altered the demographics of new Canadians.
Changing ethnic character of Canada
Change has been experienced most strikingly in Canada‘s largest metropolitan areas
where new Canadians of neither British nor French ethnic origins have clustered and
where visible minority populations have increased significantly in recent years.
Diversity and public policy
Growing ethnic diversity has generated two intersecting policy agendas in Western
• The first seeks to embrace diversity by respecting cultural differences, expanding the
room for minorities to express their distinctive cultures, and construct new and more
inclusive forms of citizenship
• The second agenda focuses on social cohesion or social integration and seeks to
reinforce the bonds of a common community and national identity.
The two agendas are not mutually exclusive; however, the historical record
demonstrates that political attention shifts back and forth between these intersecting
• Historically, ethnic diversity was seen primarily as a threat and was actively
discouraged, with immigrants, national minorities, and indigenous peoples being subject
to policies of assimilation and marginalization.
• In the late 20 century, however, many Western democracies adopted a more
accommodating approach, introducing programs designed to extend some level of
public recognition and support for ethnocultural minorities
• In the beginning of the 21 stcentury, there again appears to be a shift, with pessimism
pervading international debates about the consequences of ethnic diversity and a more
Conflicting state views on multiculturalism
Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chretien (1993-2003):
―Multiculturalism distinguishes Canada, as a country that not only cares equally about
all its citizens, but also believes preserving the uniqueness of each holds the promise of
a better future for all.‖ (1999)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel: ―Of course the tendency had been to say, 'let's
adopt the multicultural concept and live happily side by side, and be happy to be living
with each other'. But this concept has failed, and failed utterly.‖ (2010) What is multiculturalism?
The concept of multiculturalism is a label for many things that varies across jurisdiction.
In Canada, it can be said to:
• Describe the country‘s polyethnic diversity (as a sociological fact);
• Articulate a vision of cultural pluralism (as an ideology);
• Denote a policy of the federal government first introduced
in 1971 (as a policy).
The term ‗multiculturalism‘ was first coined in Canada as a result of federal policy.
The institutionalization of multiculturalism
Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (1969)
• ―Third force‖ lobbies for an expanded mandate for the commission
• Commission recommended the ―integration‖ (not assimilation) into Canadian society
of ethnic groups with full citizenship rights and equal participation in Canada‘s
Response by the federal government (1971): adoption of a policy of
multiculturalism within a bilingual framework.
As articulated by Trudeau, the policy of multiculturalism was to involve four main
• First, state funding was to be given to ethnocultural groups for cultural
• Second, cultural barriers to full participation in Canadian society were to be
• Third, there was to be promotion of creative exchanges among all Canadian
• Fourth, there was to be official language training for immigrants to Canada.
The institutionalization of multiculturalism
“For although there are two official languages, there is no official culture... A policy
of multiculturalism within a bilingual framework commends itself to the
government as the most suitable means of assuring the cultural freedom of
Canadians. Such a policy should help to break down discriminatory attitudes and
cultural jealousies. National unity if it is to mean anything in the deeply personal
sense must be founded on confidence in one’s own individual identity; out of this
can grow respect for that of others.” (House of Commons, 1971: 8545)
The institutionalization of multiculturalism
• Trudeau government adopts multiculturalism policy (1971)
• Multiculturalism recognized in Section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and
• Section 27: “This Charter shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the
preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians.” • Canadian Multiculturalism Act enacted (1988)
Canadian Multiculturalism Act (1988)
• Officially recognized the importance of Canada’s multicultural heritage and that it
must be preserved and promoted
• All government agencies, departments and Crown corporations are expected to
provide leadership in advancing multiculturalism
• All Canadian citizens have equal rights, regardless of skin colour, religion, country
of birth, ethnic background
• Recognizes the right of ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities to keep their
cultures, languages and religious practices
Criticisms of multiculturalism
Reform Party Platform (1990) called for:
1. The end of funding for the federal multicultural program
2. The preservation of cultural background as a matter of personal choice
3. Upholding the responsibility of the state to promote and preserve national
culture and to ‘encourage ethnic cultures to integrate into the national culture.’
Multiculturalism and Quebec
Québécois have expressed uneasiness about, or even resistance to, federal
multiculturalism policy since its inception. It is viewed as having a detrimental
impact upon collectivities, such as the Québécois, who perceive themselves as
nations that are minoritized.
Instead, Quebec follows an approach termed ‘interculturalism,’ which emphasizes:
• (1) French as the language of public life in the province;
• (2) the Francophone majority culture as the central hub towards which other
minority cultures are expected to converge.
Commission on Reasonable Accommodation (Bouchard-Taylor Commission), 2007-
In October 2008, responsibility for multiculturalism was transferred from the
Department of Canadian Heritage to the Department of Citizenship and
Immigration. The program was modified to stress:
• Support for the economic, social, and cultural integration of new Canadians and
• Facilitation of programs that promote mentorship, volunteerism, leadership, and
civic education among at-risk youth of different cultural backgrounds;
• Promotion of intercultural understanding and Canadian values (democracy,
freedom, human rights, and the rule of law) through community initiatives, with the
objective of addressing issues of cultural social exclusion (parallel communities)
GENDER & POLITICS
February 13 & 14 Introduction
6 of 13 provincial and territorial premiers (46%) are currently women – the largest
number in Canadian history
Women’s participation and representation in government institutions has increased
exponentially over the last four decades; however, notable gender gaps do remain.
The study of women and politics is multi-faceted and has evolved over time as
participation has changed and our understanding of gender has evolved.
Today’s lecture will focus on:
The historical waves of feminist mobilization
Canadian women’s representation in government, particularly elected office
Canadian women’s participation in politics as individual citizens and as voters
First Wave Feminism
The first wave of feminist mobilization in Canada began early in the twentieth century, and centered on the fight for women's right to vote.
Motivated largely by concern for a range of social ills brought about by urbanization and industrialization;
Accepted the definition of women's roles as wives and mothers, arguing that extending the vote to women would improve the moral tenor of
Won the right to vote in several western provinces in 1916, and nationally in 1919.
Executive of the Political Equality League of Manitoba after they witnessed the passage of the Suffrage Bill, January 1916
Second Wave Feminism
By the early 1960s, second wave mobilization had emerged, emphasizing women's equality
within the workforce, the need for equal pay for equal work, a desire to address violence
against women, and concerns about women’s reproductive rights.
In Canada, a variety of women's organizations, called on the Pearson government to
launch a formal inquiry into the status of women in Canada – leading to the Royal
Commission on the Status of Women (RCSW) in 1967.
The RCSW's report made 167 recommendations, with an emphasis on employment
equity, development of public child care programs, access to birth control,
decriminalization of abortion, and the reform of family law.
Women's organizations that had lobbied for the formation of the RCSW came together in
1972 to form the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC).
The story of second wave feminism in Canada is closely intertwined with
the country's “constitutional odyssey” of the 1980s and early 1990s.
Intervention by various women’s organizations helped to guarantee that
the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would protect women’s equality:
Section 28 guarantees that “notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the
rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and
• Unlike section 15 (equality rights), section 33 (the
notwithstanding clause) cannot apply.
Contestation within the Canadian Women’s Movement
Meech Lake (1987-90) & Charlottetown Accords (1990-92)
Among Quebec feminists, there was strong support for the constitutional recognition of Quebec as a distinct society.
However, for feminists outside Quebec, there were concerns that a distinct society clause would
allow the government of Quebec to trample on the rights of Quebec women.
NAC opposed the Charlottetown Accord because of its potential effect on social programs and
concerns about the equality of Aboriginal women.
Third Wave Feminism
Third Wave feminism describes more recent transformations, beginning in the 1990s.
Third Wave feminists often critique Second Wave feminism for its lack of attention to the differences among women due to race, ethnicity, class,
nationality, religion. It is often closely tied to notions of anti- racism, anti-colonialism, and anti-capitalism.
Taking difference into account
Canadian women are a diverse group with political interests and loyalties that vary widely.
Although all Canadian women have historically faced legislative and economic discrimination,
women belonging to minority ethnic groups, Aboriginal women, and economically
marginalized women, among others, have frequently faced much greater legal, political, and
In addition, Canada's decentralized federal structure means that public policies on matters
of significance to women as well as the political opportunities available to women vary
significantly from province to province.
Women as individual political actors
Regardless of occupation and income, women are more likely to adopt a statist view than
men, are less likely to favour a punitive approach to dealing with questions of law and
order, and are less socially conservative than men.
Canadian women are more likely to support parties on the political left.
For example, in the 2000 election, roughly 27% of women outside of Quebec voted
for the right of center Canadian Alliance whereas almost 40% of men did the same.
When seeking to explain these persistent gender gaps in voting, political scientists point to
situational and structural factors.
Women's greater reliance on the state as welfare beneficiaries and as public- sector
employees, their concentration in pink-collar occupational ghettos, and the role of
feminism in politicizing women all contribute to gendered voting patterns.
Women‘s Political Representation
What constitutes representation is complex and inter-connected:
Formal representation, referring to the institutional rules and procedures through
which representatives are chosen;
Establishing fair procedures for reconciling conflicts provides democratic citizens
one way to settle conflicts about the proper behavior of representatives.
Descriptive representation, referring to the compositional similarity between
representatives and the represented;
Substantive representation or responsiveness, referring to the congruence
between representatives‘ actions and the interests of the represented;
Does the representative advance the policy preferences that serve the interests of
the represented? Symbolic representation, referring to the represented's feelings of being fairly
and effectively represented. (Pitkin, 1967)
February 14, 2013
What is class analysis?
Class analysis is an approach to the study of politics and society that assumes that the
most important explanatory factory is the division of populations by economic class and
that politics is primarily about the necessary antagonisms between owners of the means
of production and non-owners. Heavily influenced by the work of Karl Marx.
Assumes that power and influence are unevenly distributed in societies on the basis of
social structure, position, and identity.
Whether there are singular (capitalism) or multiple causes of social stratification, the
class/status approach tells us that we can never study the individual political actor
outside the context of history or the broader social divisions of power and influence.
Is there class-based identity in Canada?
―One of the most persistent images that Canadians have of their society is that it has no
classes. This image becomes translated into the assertion that Canadians are all
relatively equal in their possessions, in the amount of money they earn, and in the
opportunities which they and their children have to get on in the world...
That there is neither very rich nor very poor in Canada is an important part of the image.
There are no barriers to opportunity. Education is free. Therefore, making use of it is
largely a question of personal ambition.‖
-John Porter (1965), The Vertical Mosaic
While Canadians are probably more aware of inequalities today than they were a
few decades ago, there is still a general view that Canada is basically middle
class and that barriers to upward mobility are relatively low.
However, while the gap between rich and poor is not as great as in other
industrialized democracies, it is nevertheless considerable and persistent.
Consider: at different times and in different places, to be born indigenous, female,
gay, or a member of a religious or ethnic minority (as a few examples), was
already to be in a position of disadvantage.
Significant disparities in income and wealth, in turn, lead to profound disparities
in power and influence that constitute the source of much political activity.
Poverty in Canada
‗Poverty‘ is to some degree a relative concept, meaning something different depending
on how you measure it.
In Canada, poverty is usually measured using Statistics Canada‘s definition of what
constitutes an income that is so low that an individual or household lives in ‗straitened
circumstances.‘ This low-income threshold is reached by a household that spends over 20 per cent
more of their annual family income on basic necessities of living (food, clothing,
shelter) than does the national average household.
In 2010, 9% of all Canadians fell below this low income threshold.
Example: low income cut-offs (after tax) in 2011 for two people living in a city,
While poverty rates fluctuate year-to-year, the likelihood of being poor is not evenly
distributed across the population. Two groups more likely to be at risk are Aboriginal
peoples and women.
General Facts: Women & the Economy
• Women who worked full-time, for the full year in 2003, earned 71% of the income of
men similarly employed
• Women's workplace struggles have included discrimination and the ―double day.‖
• In 2010, women spent an average of 50.1 hours per week on child care, versus 24.4
hours spent by men. While men reported spending, on average, 8.3 hours on unpaid
domestic work, women spent 13.8 hours
• The poverty rate for women is about 1/3 higher than that of men
• Over 40% of single-parent families headed by women fall below the poverty line; for
mothers under 25 it is close to 70%
Why are these groups more susceptible to poverty?
There is no single or simple answer. In the case of Aboriginal peoples in Canada,
discrimination and lower levels of education undoubtedly play a role.
Women no longer fall behind men in education; however a significant wage gap
• The wage gap reflects the fact that women compose the vast majority of part- time
workers—seven in ten in 2003, a figure that has not really changed since the mid
• Women are more likely than men to choose part-time work because of child care,
family, and/or personal responsibilities.
• The Canadian labor force continues to be segregated by gender;
• in 2004, 67% of all employed women were working in teaching, nursing and related
health occupations, clerical or other administrative positions, and sales and service
• Canadians tend to be less class conscious when compared to other social
characteristics like gender, race, ethnicity, region, and language.
• Consider: While women compose over 50% of the electorate and are uniquely
impacted by issues of class, they do not vote as a block.
• In analyzing the political dynamics of many groups, however, socioeconomic status
remains an important consideration.
February 27 & 28, 2013 What is ―culture‖?
―Culture‖ is a contentious concept that has been defined in hundreds of different ways.
• Can often refer to art, music, literature, and painting
• Some distinguish between ―high culture‖ and ―popular
• Used broadly to capture a range of features, like ―Western culture,‖ ―American
culture,‖ and ―youth culture‖
Political Culture: the values, beliefs, attitudes, identities, and orientations in a society
that impact on political participation.
Why is political culture important in the study of politics?
In the post-World War II period, culture has been viewed as significant to the study of
politics for several reasons.
1. Culture helps to describe the differences between peoples and states, and these
differences in turn may help to explain different political choices and outcomes.
• Ex: Why does Canada have universal health-care when the United States does not?
2. Culture has been used to help describe power relationships amongst different
groups. It sets the boundaries to political action, the actors who participate, and the
issues considered worthwhile and legitimate.
3. Culture is significant in studying questions related to democratic justice.
• Ex: Is equality achieved when everyone is treated the same under the law or should
there be distinct rights, treatment, or recognition for some groups on the basis of cultural
difference? For example, should Quebec have special powers?
How can we study political culture?
Political culture is one of the most controversial concepts in political science;
unsurprisingly, there are divisions on what is the best way to study and understand it.
Generally, students of political culture attempt to determine the degree of citizens‘
knowledge and awareness of the political system, as well as the attitudes they hold
about politics and political objects.
Social scientists have studied political culture in two main ways:
1. Quantitative methodology: using surveys and questionnaires to learn about mass
attitudes and behaviour (ex. Nevitte)
2. Historical approach: examining the development of political ideas over time (ex.
Louis Hartz (1953): North America, like other societies founded by European
settlement, is a fragment society. Political culture was based on single European
ideologies brought as ―cultural baggage‖ during colonization.
Canada as a two (or three) fragment society:
England • AboriginalsalreadyresidinginthelandstobeknownasCanada,predominantly
Gad Horowitz (1966)
arrived in the late 19h and early 20 thcenturies who brought with them newer ideas. In
particular, the United Empire Loyalists brought a ‗Tory touch,‘ which incorporated
collectivism, paternalism, elitism and a strong state.
• The legitimation of ideological diversity allowed elements of conservatism and
socialism to take hold along side the dominant strand of liberalism.
Seymour Martin Lipset
• Has stressed the conservative inheritance of political culture in Canada.
• Using an approach sometimes referred to as “formative events” theory, Lipset
stresses that the dominant values in society have their foundation in great historical
events, like the American revolution or the ‗counter-revolution‘ and protection of the
monarchy in Canada.
Quantitative Approach Neil Nevitte
• Using a cross-national survey on values, the World Values Survey (
http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/), Nevitte challenges foundational approaches by
arguing that Canadian values have undergone significant changes in recent years.
• Argues that Canadians have become less preoccupied with accumulating material
goods and more concerned with what has come to be termed „post-materialism‟ values
(concern for the environment, tolerance of alternative lifestyles, and less traditional
church-inspired notions of moral standards).
What is Canadian political culture?
A dominant component of Canadian political culture is a belief in democracy.
While definitions of democracy differ, most Western democracies include the elements
• Popular sovereignty
• Political equality
• Political liberty
• Majority rule/minority rights (Dyck, p. 252)
Popular sovereignty is a political principle holding that government is created by and
accountable to its citizens.
• Different democratic countries will exercise popular sovereignty through different
means and at different frequencies – elections, plebiscites, referendums
• In Canada, popular sovereignty at the federal and provincial levels is normally
exercised in periodic elections every four or five years
Equality: the fundamental principle of democracy Political equality in a democracy, entails at least two things:
1. we have an equal right to run for political office
2. every person‘s vote counts equally (one person-one vote)
Limits to political equality:
• Deviations in ‗representation by population‘
• Formal equality vs. substantive equality
Political Liberty (or freedom)
Liberty: within the private sphere all individuals have the right to choose their own
thoughts and actions.
Consequently, Canada is not just a representative democracy, but a liberal democracy.
Under section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, everyone has the
following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression,
including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (d) freedom of association.
Majority Rule and Minority Rights
Majority rule is the political principle holding that the largest number has the authority
to make binding decisions for the whole.
Because the majority will always win a vote under majority rule, it has been commonly
argued that majority rule can lead to a “tyranny of the majority.”
To repel this threat, certain minority rights are often protected from the actions of the
In Canada, minority rights have been extended to:
• Roman Catholic and Protestant minority education rights • French and English
minority language rights
• Equality rights protected by: national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, mental
or physical disability, sexual orientation
Individualism vs. Collectivism
Individualism: an ideology holding that individuals should have maximum freedom or
liberty to do as they please, especially in economic terms, and that governments should
not get involved in taxation, regulation, redistribution, or ownership.
Collectivism: an ideology holding that the public interest is enhanced by substantial
collective action, normally via government.
Case Studies: Canada vs. the United States • Gun regulation
• Public healthcare
―Cultural‖ explanations for the differences in policy outcomes will often focus on
differences between an American value system (based on dominant liberalism and the
anti-statist distrust of government) and a Canadian political culture (rooted in
counterrevolutionaty experience and imperfect liberalism, creating a value system that
is more oriented toward the collectivity). Health Care and Canadian Culture
Roy Romanow, from the Commission on the Future if Health Care in Canada
―In their discussions with me, Canadians have been clear that they still strongly support
the core values on which our health care system is premised – equity, fairness, and
solidarity. These values are tied to their understanding of citizenship. Canadians
consider equal and timely access to medically necessary health care services on the
basis of need as a right of citizenship, not a privilege of status or wealth.‖
Michael Bliss, “Contrary to History: Socialized Medicine and Canada’s decline,’
Canadian Medical Association Journal (2007)
―There is no greater fallacy than the idea that Canada‘s system of socialized medicine is
essential to our system of national values. Without it, Roy Romanow and others tell us,
we would not be Canadian. This is intellectual hogwash. Canada had existed as a
distinct country for 101 years before the introduction of a form of socialized medicine in
1968...and [many people] had no interest in the idea of a nanny state, and for the most
part believed deeply in notions of personal responsibility and freedom.‖
Chaoulli v. Quebec (Attorney General), 2005
Question before the Supreme Court: did Quebec legislation banning private
insurance for services covered by the public health care plan violate the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and
Litigation initiated by George Zeliotis, who had experienced long waiting times for heart
surgery and a hip operation, and Jacques Chaoulli, a Montreal physician who had been
trying to operate a private hospital. Argued that a ban on private health insurance
violated their section 7 Canadian Charter right to security of the person.
• On the Canadian Charter, justices split 3-3.
• On the Quebec Charter, justices split 4-3 in favour of the appellant: their rights had
been unreasonably violated.
Potential consequences for health insurance in Canada: there is a widespread
perception that Canada‘s system of comprehensive and universal, publicly administered
medicare would be jeopardized if private medical insurance became widely available.
Do the benefits of a publicly administered health care system outweigh the costs to
citizens‟ political liberty?
Particularism and Diversity
In comparing Canada and the United States, the value of particularism is often viewed
as being stronger in Canada where diversity, groups rights, and regional identity are
provided greater political space.
By contrast, the value of universalism is seen to better capture the United States
where assimilation to the dominant culture is more strongly emphasized.
Deference to Authority
Political deference: willingness to entrust powers to politicians, judges, police, religious
leaders and other elites viewed to hold ‗legitimate power.‘ ‗Live free or die‘ vs. ‗peace, order, and good government‘
―Limited Identities‖: Subcultures in Canada
Subcultures are distinctive collections of values, beliefs, attitudes, identities, and
orientations held by smaller groups within society.
• Regional and provincial/territorial subcultures
• Ontarians have the least defined concept of a provincial identity, while Quebecers
have the strongest • Ethnic subcultures
• Aboriginal peoples and ethnocultural minorities • Class-based subcultures
• Participation and promotion of the status-quo by the upper-class versus alienation and
political exit by the lower-class
Because many of the basic political values considered here relate directly or indirectly to
citizen participation in the political system, patterns of political participation can also be
considered an aspect of political culture.
Political Participation: the voluntary activities by citizens that are intended to influence
the selection of government leaders or the decisions they make.
Participation depends on the possession of key resources, such as time, money, and
information. It is also partly related to the possession of political efficacy – the feeling
that one has political influence and that one‘s political participation can make an impact.
Can come in the forms of electoral participation – voting, volunteering for a campaign,
running for office – and non-electoral participation – signing a petition, writing your
MP, participating in a demonstration, etc.
MEDIA, POLLING, & POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION
March 6 & 7, 2013
How is political culture transmitted?
Citizens acquire and transmit political values, attitudes, and orientations – a process
known as political socialization.
Political socialization is the process by which individuals acquire their political values,
attitudes, information, and opinions.
While often this is done unconsciously, there are also those who try to control this
process via the mass media, the educational system, or religious or community
• Four traditional agents: (1) family, (2) school, (3) peers, (4) the mass media
It is relatively easy to identify the main agents of political socialization; however, it is
more difficult to evaluate their impact
Understanding media effects: gatekeeping, agenda setting, priming, & framing
Gatekeeping: describes the propensity of news professionals to strategically reduce
the amount of information to a manageable size of media content, thereby determining
what gets into the news. Agenda Setting: the process by which the media attend to some issues and not others,
thereby shaping what people believe to be significant.
Priming: the amount of attention paid by the news media, which may help to set the
terms by which political judgments are reached.
Framing: focuses on the style of issue coverage by the media, which may lead to a
particular interpretation of the state of the issue or how the issue should be approached.
• Ex: how female politicians are portrayed by the media, ―shrill‖ vs. ―assertive‖
While gatekeeping, agenda setting and priming have the effect of placing an issue on
the agenda, framing more particularly identifies the actual problem or reason for dealing
with the issue.
Media Framing: Party Leaders & the ‗Horse Race‘
The way the news media cover elections has the potential to enhance the prominence
of party leaders.
Analysis of televisions news coverage of federal election campaigns has found that
leadership and the ‗horse race’ provided the dominant news frames (Mendelsohn
Horse race coverage: concerned with who is ahead, who is behind, who is gaining,
who is losing. (This makes the horse race and leader frames almost interchangeable.)
For example, a party will typically not receive any coverage in the night‘s news if the
leader takes a day off from the campaign trail
The impact of the Internet & social media
There appears to be very little difference in the minds of consumers between online
news and its hard-copy version. Contemporary modes of media consumption are both
multichannel and multimedia.
47% of younger users report listening to the radio while online, while 33% watch
TV while online, and 44% talk on the phone while on the Internet (Ahlers 2006).
In an analysis of internet-based political campaigning in Canada, Tamara Small (2007)
found that cyberspace adds little that is new to existing modes of communication and
that it is basically used ―to amplify traditional methods of campaigning.‖
The limits of television for political information
Peter Mansbridge, CBC News Anchor:
―Let‘s not fool ourselves. Most people get news from TV, and that‘s always bothered
me. Sometimes their only source is TV. I know what they‘re getting. They‘re not getting
enough. We [at the CBC] like to think we take it beyond the headlines because we do
documentaries, we go for an hour, we do analysis. But if you take [the script of] an hour-
long newscast ... you couldn‘t fill the front page of your
The Political Economy of the Canadian Media