50 Years, 50 Books: The Canadian Party SystemPosted: Thursday, June 30, 2022
As a way to celebrate our anniversary, Acquisitions Editor Randy Schmidt reached out to fifty UBC Press authors and asked them to talk about their favourite UBC Press book. This is what we heard.
Written by Anthony Sayers
The Canadian Party System: An Analytical History by Richard Johnston is the work of a polymath drawing insights from several intellectual traditions to understand a century of Canadian politics. Confident enough to allow the limitations of what we know and to acknowledge chance as a determinative factor, Johnston offers an integrative framework for decoding the conundrums of Canadian democracy. Why so many parties? Why a dominant centre party? Here we have novel data and ingenuous technique buttressed by often-obscure historical fact to illuminate key features of a complex system. This interpretive lens helps us to understand in new ways the logic of central institutions such as parties, parliaments, elections, and electoral systems, and alerts us to the refractive effects of federalism, Quebec, class, and religion on the actions of voters and politicians. If you wish to view integrative science at the frontier of knowledge at its best, to see how understanding Canada helps us to understand the broader political world, then this is a book for you.
Anthony Sayers teaches Political Science at the University of Calgary, is author of Parties, Candidates and Constituency Campaigns in Canadian Elections (UBC Press, 1999), and has published widely on political parties and representation.
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