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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Canadian Party System

An Analytic History

The Canadian party system is a deviant case among the Anglo-American democracies. Unruly and inscrutable, it is a system that defies logic and classification – until now. In this political science tour de force, Richard Johnston makes sense of the Canadian party system. With a keen eye for history and deft use of recently developed analytic tools, he articulates a series of propositions that underpin the system. For its combination of historical breadth and data-intensive rigour, The Canadian Party System is a rare achievement. Its findings shed light on the main puzzles of the Canadian case, while contesting the received wisdom of the comparative study of parties, elections, and electoral systems elsewhere.


336 pages


Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Situating the Case

3 Liberal Dominance, Conservative Interludes

4 Liberal Centrism, Polarized Pluralism

5 Catholics and Others

6 The Life and Death of Insurgents

7 Invasion from the Left

8 System Dynamics, Coordination, and Fragmentation

9 Federal-Provincial Discontinuity

10 Conclusion

Appendix: Data Sources

Notes; References; Index

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