PATH: ICPP > ICPP1980 > ICPP Bibliographic Essay, all countries, 1950-62

Bibliography on Party Politics in the CANADA, 1950-1962

Paul Scott and Kenneth Janda

There is a sizable body of literature on political parties and politics in Canada during our time span and perhaps even a larger set of writings about party politics in the years since. The bibliography below does not pretend to be exhaustive of publications relevant to either period. It simply reveals the sources relied upon in analyzing the Canadian parties according to the ICPP conceptual framework. This essay will describe and evaluate that literature in two stages. The first discusses useful background material for the study of Canadian politics as well as specific writings pertaining mainly to each of the four parties in our study: Progressive Conservative, Liberal, Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (later the New Democratic Party), and Social Credit. The second stage explains which publications provided information for scoring Canadian parties on the basic variables underlying our major concepts.

General Works and Party Studies

Despite the considerable number of writings on Canadian political parties, there have been few book length treatments of Canadian party politics in general. Thorburn's Party Politics in Canada, for example, consists of a collection of articles which, however usefully individually, do not span the spectrum of Canadian party politics. The first major attempt to account for Canadian parties as forces operating within the political system was Engelmann and Schwartz, Political Parties and the Canadian Social System (1967). This work remained the only systematic and comprehensive treatment of the subject until 1975, when the same authors published Canadian Political Parties: Origins Character, Impact-a thoroughly revised and considerably enlarged successor to their first book. In the absence of other broad studies of Canadian parties, heavy reliance was placed on the second Engelmann and Schwartz volume in particular as a source of information and perspective in our research. Supplementing Engelmann and Schwartz, the most important general references to Canadian party politics proved to be the textbooks on Canadian government by Dawson (1970), Fox (1973), and Van Loon and Whittington (1976).

If general works on Canadian parties constitute the exception in the party literature, studies of specific parties provide the rule. The Liberal Party has been the principal focus for studies by Pickersgill (1962) and Underhill (1960), while MacQuarrie (1962), Granatstein (1967), Harbron (1962), and Williams (1956) furnish understanding of the workings of the Progressive Conservative Party. The minor parties have held a special fascination for students of Canadian politics. The CCF/NDP has been the subject of numerous articles on its internal and external relations and of two outstanding books, used heavily in our research. Young, The Anatomy of a Party: The National CCF, 1932-1961, and Zakuta, A Protest Movement Becalmed: A Study of Change in the CCF, were rich with information on almost all of the concepts in the ICPP conceptual framework. While not quite so helpful for our purposes, Lipset's Agrarian Socialism and Knowles' The New Party were also consulted for several basic variables. Social Credit, as a movement and a party, drew its share of academic attention as well. Irving's The Social Credit Movement in Alberta and Stein's The Dynamics of Right-Wing Protest: A Political Analysis of Social Credit in Quebec were the most helpful sources on the origin and nature of the party. Mallory's Social Credit and the Federal Power in Canada and MacPherson's Democracy in Alberta: Social Credit and the Party System were also useful.

Bibliographies of political leaders often provided understanding on the operation of Canadian parties, which are commonly described as personality oriented. In particular, the "Diefenbaker phenomenon" was a catalyst to scholarly activity during our time period. Regenstrief's The Diefenbaker Interlude and the works by Newman (1963 and 1968) and Nicholson (1968) were especially informative.

Sources of Information for ICPP Concepts

The concept of "institutionalization" requires information on party origins. The Dawson text was particularly helpful for the older parties, as was the article by Reid (1967) in Thorburn. The origin of the CCF was adequately explained by Young and Zakuta, while Irving accounted for the origin of Social Credit in Alberta Province and Stein traced its complicated development in Quebec. Leadership changes and fluctuations in party fortunes were described in Beck's Pendulum of Power, a readable account of Canada's electoral history with heavy emphasis on the role of party leaders. Courtney's The Selection of National Party Leaders in Canada provided precise information on the leadership competition variable.

The "governmental status" of parties in Canada was not problematical, contrary to the situation in some countries. The parties' positions within the political system corresponded largely to election results as documented in Beck. Meisel's The Canadian General Election of 1957 was useful for determining the parties' national orientation and assessing the extent, or lack of, government discrimination.

The concepts of "social attraction," "concentration," and "reflection," were illuminated by the many studies of voting behavior and party supporters in Canada, but these studies did not treat their data in a manner which allowed for scoring the parties on the ICPP concepts of attraction, concentration, and reflection. Instead, these concepts were scored following fresh analyses of survey data for the 1965 election, obtained through the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. Schwartz's article on "Canadian Voting Behavior" guided some of these analyses--along with those by Wrong (1958), Van Loon (1968), and Meisel (1956, 1962, 1964, and 1976).

A number of studies dealt with the "issue orientation" of the various Canadian political parties. Carrigan's Canadian Party Platforms supplied the positions of all parties since confederation. This source was systematically consulted for all the variables in the issue orientation cluster. The Meisel book on the 1957 election discussed specific issues in depth and proved valuable on some of these. Likewise, Regenstrief's The Diefenbaker Interlude, Christian and Campbell's Political Parties and Ideologies in Canada, and Newman's Renegade in Power (although not totally unbiased) were good sources for particulars. Epstein's article, "A Comparative Study of Canadian Parties," was a useful reference for party positions on specific foreign policy questions, and Scarrow's "Distinguishing Between Political Parties: The Case of Canada" was informative on the "left-right" dimension--as was Manning's Political Realignment.

The concept of "goal orientation" presented no special problems for the four national parties in our study. All sources noted or assumed their primary orientation toward winning elections. The parties' role in nominating candidates and conducting election campaigns is especially well illustrated in Meisel's The Canadian General Election of 1957. Engelmann and Schwartz (1975) conduct a lengthy analysis of federal campaign strategies, while Qualter (1970) and Lyons (1970) furnish a broad overview of the Canadian electoral process. Other works pertaining to the parties' orientation to electoral competition include Spafford (1970), Morton (1969), Cairns (1968), and Lovink (1970).

"Autonomy" in the ICPP conceptual framework deals with sources of party funds and leaders. The major study of party financing is Paltiel's Political Party Financing in Canada. Most other works footnote his research on the sources of party funds. The literature on party leaders is far more extensive. Courtney's book offers relevant data on many levels of party leaders, but the most useful author for our purposes was Kornberg, whose studies of party members in parliament (1967, 1968) corresponds to our operationalization of party leaders. Hoffman and Ward, Bilingualism and Biculturalism in the Canadian House of Commons, confirmed Kornberg's findings for our variables. The articles by Santos (1970) and Robin (1967) discussed sources of leadership in other contexts.

Descriptions of the "degree of organization" were given in the texts by Dawson and Van Loon and Whittington in addition to Engelmann and Schwartz. There were problems, however, in locating empirical research on local party organizations, and the coding of some basic variables was more speculative than desired. The writings by Meisel on the 1957 election and Land (1970) supported these judgmental calls on local party structure. The dearth of comprehensive examinations of local party activities made the "degree of organization" variables among the most difficult to code.

The concept of "centralization of power" within the party was far better documented. The inabilities of the national organization to check the power of various provincial organizations was illustrated in Smith (1967), for example, and was discussed more generally in numerous sources. The selection of national leaders was closely examined by Courtney (1973) subsequent to studies by Smiley (1968), Evans (1969), Regenstrief (1969), and Punnett (1970).

The selection of parliamentary candidates received less attention, but Kornberg and Winsbrough (1968) provided an empirical account of recruitment to the House of Commons. The practices within the CCF, which deviates from the other parties on the centralization of power, were-examined by Engelmann in his article on "Membership Participation in Policymaking within the CCF."

Party "coherence" at the voting stage in the Canadian parliament is a well-documented phenomenon, noted in almost all studies of legislative behavior. Most texts also scrutinize the parties for the presence of factions over issues, ideology, and leadership. The leadership factionalism that pervaded the Progressive Conservative Party in the early 1960s is vividly portrayed in Coates' The Night of the Knives. Newman (1963) also investigated the factionalism surrounding Diefenbaker's personality and politics. Other specific instances of factionalism covered in the literature include Epstein's (1964) analysis of the divisions over the Suex crisis of 1956 and Young's (1969) and Zakuta's (1964) studies of the ideological rift that plagued the CCF in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Empirical studies of "involvement of members" in party activities are just becoming prominent in Canadian academic journals. Regenstrief (1960 and 1963) explored the uniqueness of 'the Diefenbaker personality in creating public interest in the Progressive Conservative Party, but he did not provide precisely the information required for coding the party on "personalism." Recent articles by Kornberg and Smith (1970) and Jacek (1975) attempt more systematic research into the mix of incentive systems underlying militant motivation, but this concept cluster proved to be as difficult to code for Canadian parties as for most other parties across the world.

Overall, most of the basic variables within the ICPP conceptual framework were codable with reference to the existing literature on Canadian parties and use of the citations below. The greatest problems were encountered in coding variables dealing with local party activities and the motivational bases of party militants. The direction of research within Canadian party politics, however, points toward filling in these gaps in our knowledge in the future.