Representation in Action
Release Date:15 Jan 2018

Representation in Action

Canadian MPs in the Constituencies

UBC Press

Members of Parliament (MPs) are often dismissed as “trained seals,” helpless to do anything other than take commands from party leaders. In addition, survey data indicates that while Canadians feel MPs do an excellent job representing their political parties, they do a poor job of representing their constituents.

Representation in Action challenges these views of Canadian MPs and shows that the ways they represent their constituents are as diverse as Canada itself. Royce Koop, Heather Bastedo, and Kelly Blidook examine the types of activities Members of Parliament engage in, both within their constituencies and in Ottawa, and they systemically determine what accounts for differences in style and agency. Drawing on original observational and interview research with eleven MPs and featuring detailed in-depth case studies, this book shows how MPs develop their own distinctive approaches to the role of representative when addressing policy concerns, assisting constituents with problems, and connecting with those who elect them.

The first book to use intensive participant-observation methods to study Canadian MPs and representation, Representation in Action is a new and original account of how MPs interpret and do their jobs as representatives, and a compelling portrait of diversity in representational styles.

Students and scholars concerned with the practice and quality of representation, democracy, parliament, and politics in Canada should read Representation in Action.

This is a diligent, innovative, and engaging empirical study of how political representation is understood and expressed in the modern context. Cristine de Clercy, associate professor and codirector of the Leadership and Democracy Laboratory, Western University

Royce Koop is an associate professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba. Heather Bastedo is the president of Public Square Research Ltd. Kelly Blidook is an associate professor of political science at Memorial University.

List of Tables and Figures



1 Observing Politicians

2 Leon Benoit

3 Tony Clement

4 Megan Leslie

5 Influences on Representational Styles

6 Five MPs in their Constituencies


Notes; Works Cited; Index

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