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 Featured Title
Religion and Canadian Party Politics
David Rayside   Jerald Sabin   Paul E.J. Thomas  

$89.95 Hardcover
Release Date: 5/15/2017
ISBN: 9780774835589    

384 Pages


About the Book

Religion is usually thought of as inconsequential to contemporary Canadian politics. Religion and Canadian Party Politics takes a hard look at just how much or how little influence faith continues to have in federal, provincial, and territorial political arenas.

Drawing on case studies from across the country, this book explores the three axes of religiously based contention that have been most influential in Canada. Historically, denominational distinctions between Catholics and Protestants shaped party oppositions across several regions. Since the 1960s, as religiosity experienced a steep decline, a newly politicized divide opened between religious conservatives and political reformers. Then since the 1990s, sporadic controversy has centred on the political and legal recognition of non-Christian religious minority rights. Although the extent of partisan engagement with each of these sources of contention has varied across time and region, this book shows that religion still matters in shaping party politics.

This detailed look at the play of religiously based conflict and accommodation in Canada fills a large gap and pulls us back from overly simplified comparisons with the United States.
More broadly, this book also compares the role of faith in politics in Canada to that of other Western industrialized societies.

About the Author(s)

David Rayside is a professor emeritus of political science and sexual diversity studies at the University of Toronto.

Jerald Sabin is a research associate with the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation at Carleton University.

Paul E.J. Thomas is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science at Carleton University.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Faith and Party Politics in Canada

Part 1: Federal Politics
1 Conservative Faith and Federal Parties
2 Abortion Politics and Federal Parties

Part 2: Persistent Denominationalism in Provincial Politics
3 Religion in Atlantic Provincial Politics: The Special Cases of Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick
4 Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives and Tenacious Denominational Politics, 1943-85

Part 3: Religious Conservatism and the Partisan Right
5 Sexual Diversity and the Mobilization of Faith Communities in Ontario, 1986-2015
6 The Declining Influence of Conservative Faith in Alberta since 1971
7 Schooling, Sexuality, and Religious Conservatism in British Columbia Politics

Part 4: Canada’s Most Distinctive Regions
8 Conflicted Secularism in Francophone Quebec Party Politics
9 Evangelical Christianity and Northern Territorial Politics

Conclusion: Canadian Diversity in Comparative Context

Notes; Index


The formal separation of church and state is an American idea. Rayside, Sabin, and Thomas insightfully and deftly portray the Canadian religious/political relationship in a seriously valuable and important study.
-- Hugh Segal, OC, Master of Massey College, University of Toronto, and former Canadian Senator

With declining rates of religious participation and an increasingly diverse population, it is tempting to conclude that religion is a waning force in Canadian politics. Through richly described and carefully selected case studies, this book makes a compelling case for refocusing our attention on the ways in which religion structures political affiliation and debate in contemporary Canada.
-- Lisa Young, professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Calgary

Sample Chapter

Sample Chapter [PDF]

Related Topics

Political Science
Political Science > Canada
History > Canada

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