Politics in Manitoba: Parties, Leaders, and Voters.


250 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-0-88755-704-0
DDC 324.27127'009




Reviewed by Paul G. Thomas

Paul G. Thomas is a political science professor at the University of
Manitoba and the co-author of Canadian Public Administration:
Problematical Perspectives.


It has been several decades since a major book on Manitoba politics appeared, which makes this valuable scholarly work by Dr. Christopher Adams very welcome. It is an impressive achievement combining historical research on political parties and elections, with a probing examination of the shifting contours of public opinion within contemporary society. It reflects Dr. Adams’s skills as an academic scholar and teacher, a professional pollster and consultant, and a media commentator. In the interest of full disclosure, I should also say that Chris Adams is a friend.


The scholarship involved in producing the book is extensive and meticulous. The analysis is insightful and balanced, and the conclusions do not reach beyond what the evidence will sustain. Quotations from a selective number of interviews with politicians enrich the presentation.


The book begins with an overview of the history of Manitoba’s party system. Chapters describing the histories, ideas, leadership, and bases of popular support for each of the three main parties—the New Democrats, the Progressive Conservatives, and the Liberals—comprise the heart of the analysis. A concluding chapter offers an interpretation of where Manitoba’s party system has been and how it might evolve in the future. Two valuable appendices provide information on the history of elections and on the polling of party preferences.


Geography, ethnicity, and class relations are indentified as powerful factors shaping Manitoba’s political traditions and contemporary political cultures. As Manitoba society becomes more urbanized, its population becomes more diverse with the arrival of immigrants from non-traditional locations, and as the Aboriginal population grows and becomes more politically engaged, it becomes an open question whether the interpretative frameworks of the past will capture the new social and political realities of the future.


Manitoba politics has not warranted much academic attention compared to larger provinces such as Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario. Professors and their students now have a rich scholarly source to understand parties, leaders, and voters in Canada’s middle province. Now we need an up-to-date book that deals with the institutions and governing processes of the province.


Adams, Christopher., “Politics in Manitoba: Parties, Leaders, and Voters.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/28828.