Conventional Choices?
320 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
12 b&w illustrations, 56 tables
Release Date:01 Jan 2008
Release Date:21 May 2007
Release Date:01 Jan 2008

Conventional Choices?

Maritime Leadership Politics, 1971–2003

UBC Press

Selecting a leader is a momentous and defining choice for a political party. Leaders symbolize their party and are a primary factor in election outcomes. While much is known about the selection of national party leaders, less is known about the provincial selection process, particularly in the Maritimes. Breaking new ground, Conventional Choices examines twenty-five different leadership elections in three maritime provinces. The analysis draws on an extraordinarily rich data set spanning thirty-two years to explore the backgrounds, attitudes, and motivations of those who select party leaders. It is an impressive study that offers fresh insights into leadership selection and Maritime party politics.


  • 2008, Short-listed - Donald Smiley Book Prize, Canadian Political Science Association
A monumental achievement of impeccable scholarship. Conventional Choices combines astute quantitative analysis of a remarkably wide-ranging data set with a thorough familiarity with the secondary literature of Maritime (and Canadian) politics and an encyclopaedic culling of newspaper sources. The analysis is never less than sure-footed and the conclusions are insightful. It will take its place among the key contributions to Maritime politics and to the study of leadership conventions. Graham White, author of Cabinets and First Ministers
Ian Stewart is a professor of political science at Acadia University and author of Roasting Chestnuts: The Mythology of Maritime Political Culture. David K. Stewart is a professor of political science at the University of Calgary and author of Quasi-Democracy? Parties and Leadership Selection in Alberta.

Tables and Figures


1 Choosing Leaders

2 The Conventions

3 From J. Buchanan to A. Buchanan: Candidates and Voters

4 Tourists or Partisans? Political Background and Elector Engagement

5 Leadership Election Support Patterns: Friends and Neighbours?

6 Town versus Country: Urban Rural Divisions

7 Brothers and Sisters? Gender-Based Voting at Party Conventions

8 Inter- and Intraparty Attitudinal Differences

9 Rebels without a Cause? Supporters of Fringe Candidates

10 Going My Way? "Delivering" Votes after the First Ballot

11 Prince Edward Island and the Garden Myth

12 New Brunswick: The Politics of Language

13 Nova Scotia: The Challenge of Social Democracy

14 The End of the Affair? Political Scientists and the Delegated Convention

15 Conclusion

Appendix: Leadership Election Profiles for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island




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