Political Leadership and Representation in Canada: Essays in Honour of John C. Courtney.


219 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-0-8020-9187-1
DDC 320.971




Edited by Hans J. Michelmann, Donald C. Story, and Jeffrey S. Steeves
Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a history professor at Laurentian University and
author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable Kingdom.


Eleven writers have joined forces to honour John C. Courtney, a recently retired professor of Political Science from the University of Saskatchewan. In the introduction, Courtney’s colleague, Hans J. Michelmann, outlines Courtney’s many achievements.


R.K. Carty from the University of British Columbia reviews Liberal and Conservative leadership conventions from 1919 until 1993. Those of 1967–1968, which chose Robert Stanfield and Pierre Elliott Trudeau to lead the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals, were pivotal, says Carty, in terms of size, structure, and degree of competitiveness.


From McGill and the Université de Montréal, Elisabeth Gidengil and André Blais ask the question, “Are Party Leaders Becoming More Important to Vote Choice in Canada?” Their answer is a qualified “Yes”; leaders are important, but not necessarily more important than they have been since the advent of television coverage. Christine de Clercy from the University of Western Ontario notes that party leaders do not remain party leaders as long as they once did, even if, like Jean Chrétien, they are prime minister and win successive elections. F. Leslie Seidle, unconnected with a university, discusses alternatives to Parliament and legislatures as ways of determining public opinion; Gregory P. Marchildon of the University of Regina focuses on Royal Commissions.


Examining the federal elections of 1993, 1997, 2000, and 2004, Peter A. Ferguson of the University of Western Ontario suggests that changes to the Canada Elections Act that took place in 2000 made little difference. George Perlin of Queen’s confirms that voter distrust of politicians is increasing while turnout at the polls is declining.


Writing in 2004, while the federal Liberals still governed and he was a cabinet minister, Stéphane Dion offers an insider’s view of political representation—that of a sitting Member of Parliament who is also a cabinet minister. Finally, Alan C. Cairns, an adjunct professor from the University of Waterloo, contrasts Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—all of which have relatively small First Nations populations—with recently decolonized countries. Japan with its Ainu and the white settler states must take their indigenous people more seriously, he argues.


“Political Leadership and Representation in Canada: Essays in Honour of John C. Courtney.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/28277.