Reviving Social Democracy
348 pages, 6 x 9
29 graphs, 34 tables
Release Date:01 Feb 2015
Release Date:15 Nov 2014
Release Date:13 Nov 2014

Reviving Social Democracy

The Near Death and Surprising Rise of the Federal NDP

UBC Press

In the 2011 general election, the New Democratic Party stunned political pundits by becoming the Official Opposition in the House of Commons. After near collapse in the 1993 election, how did the NDP manage to win triple the seats of its Liberal rivals and take more than three-quarters of the ridings in Quebec?

Reviving Social Democracy examines the federal NDP’s transformation from “nearly dead party” to new power player within a volatile party system. Its early chapters – on the party’s emergence in the 1960s, its presence in Quebec, and the Jack Layton factor – pave the way for insightful analyses of issues such as party modernization, changing ideology, voter profile, and policy formation that played a significant role in driving the “Orange Crush” phenomenon. Later chapters explore such future-facing questions as the prospects of party mergers and the challenges of maintaining support in the long term.

Focusing on elections, voters, party activists, party policies, and ideas, all contextualized in a dynamic federal party system, this perceptive analysis of the political fortunes of the NDP adds to our understanding of its role within the Canadian party system. It also positions us within the political landscape as we move towards the next election.

A fresh overview for political scientists and journalists looking for a solid history of the evolution of the NDP, with particular emphasis on the party’s revival in 2011 to claim Official Opposition status.

Reviving Social Democracy provides a uniquely multi-faceted picture of the NDP’s past, present, and future. Documenting a very important part of Canada’s political landscape, it will be a key resource for those studying political parties or social democratic movements. It will also be illuminating reading for anyone who follows politics. Laura Stephenson, co-editor of Voting Behaviour in Canada
A must-read for every Canadian who loves this country, its values, and its future. Reviving Social Democracy is an engaging and comprehensive exploration of the events and people who have helped shape this country without having governed it directly. Its examination of both the public and behind-the-scenes stories provides page-turning insight into one of Canada’s greatest political comebacks. Brad Lavigne, chief architect and national campaign director for the NDP in the 2011 election, author of Building the Orange Wave: The Inside Story Behind the Historic Rise of Jack Layton and the NDP, and currently Vice President, Hill + Knowlton Strategies
Finally, the missing academic reference work on Canada’s third enduring political party. Laycock and Erickson catch us up on the historic context for the NDP’s dramatic surge in the 2011 federal election. By documenting party history, strategy, ideology and governance, they explain the crowning electoral achievement of its late leader and situate us within the next chapter. As a long-time student of the potential for social democratic parties in modern politics, both the professor and the politican in Jack Layton would have loved this book. Alice Funke, publisher of the Pundits’ Guide to Canadian Elections,
Bringing together an impressive cast of scholars, this volume sheds light on the ideological and organizational factors that contributed to the NDP's stunning electoral breakthrough in the 2011 federal election. In addition to original analyses of the recent evolution of the NDP and its future prospects, this book offers a much-needed investigation of the current state of both social democracy and party politics in Canada. Brian Tanguay, co-editor of Canadian Parties in Transition

David Laycock is a professor, and Lynda Erickson a professor emerita, in the Department of Political Science at Simon Fraser University.

Contributors: Éric Bélanger, Amanda Bittner, Jean-François Godbout, Frédéric Mérand, François Petry, Mark Pickup, Steven Weldon, Colin Whelan, Maria Zakharova

Introduction / Lynda Erickson and David Laycock

Part 1: Setting the Stage

1 Party History and Electoral Fortunes, 1961-2003 / Lynda Erickson and David Laycock

2 Building for a Breakthrough: The Layton Years, 2003-11 / Lynda Erickson and David Laycock

3 The NDP and Quebec / Lynda Erickson and David Laycock

4 Modernizing the Party / David Laycock and Lynda Erickson

Part 2: The Ideological Evolution of the Party

5 Conceptual Foundations of Continuity and Change in NDP Ideology / David Laycock

6 Ideological Evolution of the Federal Party, as Seen through Its Election Campaign Manifestos / François Petry

Part 3: Party Activists, Leaders, and Voters

7 Members, Activists, and Party Opinion / Lynda Erickson and Maria Zakharova

8 Party Leaders in the New Democratic Party / Amanda Bittner

9 Valence Politics, Policy Distance, and the NDP Vote / Maria Zakharova

10 The Issue Priorities of the NDP Core Constituency: How Different Are They? / Mark Pickup and Colin Whelan

Part 4: New Game, New Party?

11 Uniting the Left? The Potential for an NDP-Liberal Party Merger / Jean-François Godbout, Éric Bélanger, and Frédéric Mérand

12 The 2011 Election and Beyond / Steven Weldon

13 Future Scenarios: NDP Evolution and Party System Change / David Laycock and Lynda Erickson


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