Mr. Smith Goes to Ottawa
Life in the House of Commons
In Mr Smith Goes to Ottawa, the author compares the 34th(1988-93) and the 35th (1993-97) Parliaments. The former, the secondconsecutive Conservative-led majority government, could not appear moredifferent from the Liberal one which followed. Over two-thirds of itsmembers were rookies. More significantly, over one-third representedtwo new political parties - the Bloc Quebecois and the Reformparty.
Yet, for all this change, Docherty shows that the new agendas of the35th Parliament have not translated into changes in the legislativebehaviour or socialization of new members. Unlike Jimmy Stewart inWashington, the majority of the men and women who go to Ottawa end upaccepting a limited policy role.
The book is a unique and important contribution to the literature on po,itical parties and legislatures, especially in the Canadian context. Canada might be served well if MPs were to read it as thoroughly as the scholarly community should.
David Docherty’s Mr. Smith Goes to Ottawa examines, more comprehensively than any previous published work, the journey made by those elected to the House of Commons.
David Docherty has produced a book that contributes to our understanding of parliamentary careers. It is a well-written, original and thoughtfully conceived interpretation.
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