370 pages, 6 x 9
6 b&w photos, 8 tables, 1 chart
Release Date:15 Sep 2020


Party Discipline in Canada

UBC Press

Canadians often see politicians as trained seals who vote on command and repeat robotic talking points. Politicians are torn by dilemmas of loyalty to party versus loyalty to voters. The reality is more complex, especially in a world where a public slip-up can spell the end of a political career.

Whipped: Party Discipline in Canada examines the hidden ways that political parties exert control over elected members of Canadian legislatures. Drawing on extensive interviews with politicians and staffers across the country, award-winning author Alex Marland explains why Members of Parliament and provincial politicians toe the party line. He explores the phenomenon of politicians as brand ambassadors, the role of the party whip, and the inner workings of legislatures. He recounts stories from Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s drive for caucus cohesion in the 1980s through to the turmoil that the SNC-Lavalin crisis wrought on Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party in 2019. From caucus meetings to vote instructions, Marland exposes how democracy works in our age of instant communication and increasing polarization. This book conclusively demonstrates that party loyalty usually wins out in Canada.

Filled with political tips, Whipped is a must-read for anyone interested in the real world of Canadian politics.

This work will have broad appeal for political scientists, politicians, and political staffers, as well as for students, journalists, and anyone with an interest in the workings of Canadian politics.

This tremendously valuable book offers a sophisticated, in-depth investigation into how party cohesion, message control, discipline, and conflict management happen in the modern environment of permanent campaigning and parliamentary politics. This is a major contribution to our understanding of the realities of Canadian political life. Paul Thomas, professor emeritus, Department of Political Studies, University of Manitoba
Whipped substantially increases our understanding of the function of Canada’s parliament, the role of MPs within it, and party discipline in general. Royce Koop, associate professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Manitoba
Alex Marland is a professor of political science at Memorial University of Newfoundland and a member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the author of Brand Command: Canadian Politics and Democracy in the Age of Message Control, which won the Donner Prize for best public policy book by a Canadian and an Atlantic Book Award. He is trusted by Canadian politicians, political staff, and other members of the public sector to respect their conditions for sharing information about what goes on behind the scenes in Canadian politics and governance.
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