Canadian Social Democracy Study


The Research Team

The Canadian Social Democracy Study team currently has five research assistants. Charles Plante is focusing on the analysis of public opinion polls pertaining to the federal NDP while Alexander Steffen is examining the NDP's performance in Question Period in the House of Commons. David DesBalliets, Kent Peterson, and David Blocker are interviewing sitting NDP MPs.

Charles Plante is a PhD student studying in Sociology at McGill University. His research uses advanced quantitative methods and survey data to explore public policy and income dynamics throughout the developed and developing world. He is especially interested in the role that risk and risk perceptions play in determining people's life choices as well as the possible negative effects that risk perceptions have on aggregate economic outcomes and the role of the welfare state in managing them. His most recent publications compare and contrast family poverty outcomes among Canada's largest provinces. He currently resides with his partner Linh Le in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where he is active in local social democratic movements and politics. As part of the Canadian Social Democracy Study team, Charles is performing analyses of public opinion polls pertaining to the federal NDP.

Alexander Steffen has a Masters in Political Studies from Queen's University and an Undergraduate Honours degree from the University of Saskatchewan. His research focused on Canadian and Comparative Politics, specifically researching the concept of Deliberative Democracy and its potential impact on the Canadian political system. Alex has experience with information gathering and literature reviews, previously serving in that capacity at the University of Manitoba. As part of the Canadian Social Democracy Study team, Alex is focusing on NDP debates between 2004 and 2013 and conducting research on legislative experiences of elected officials around the world.



Kent Peterson is a Saskatchewan-based student movement and labour movement activist. Kent has served as the president of the University of Regina Students’ Union, he also served two terms on the national executive of the Canadian Federation of Students. In addition to his activism and organizing within the student movement, he works in the Labour Movement. His involvement includes serving as a Vice-President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. Currently, he works for the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, and previously worked for Saskatchewan's industrial construction trade unions. His political involvement includes serving as a Vice-President of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party, working as an NDP Business Manager and Campaign Manager during the 2008 federal election, and volunteering on several provincial and federal NDP election campaigns. Kent has a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Public Administration, both from the University of Regina. He will be doing interviews of NDP MPs for the Canadian Social Democracy Study.

David DesBaillets is currently completing a Doctorate of Law at the Université du Québec á Montreal. His research interests include human rights, social justice, constitutional law, and housing rights. He holds a L.L.M. from University of Ottawa, a L.L.B from Cardiff University, and a B.A. from Concordia University. In addition to having worked for Health Canada and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, he has extensive experience in the NDP. He was a legislative assistant for NDP MP Jim Maloway and was employed as an intern in Thomas Mulcair’s office. He has also been a member of the Ottawa-Vanier and Outremont federal NDP riding executives and has volunteered for several NDP campaigns in the Montreal area. In his work for the Canadian Social Democracy Study, David will responsible for conducting interviews with federal NDP’s Quebec caucus.

He is also collaborating with Dr. McGrane on a journal article exploring the experiences of NDP Members of Parliament within the Canadian House of Commons.

David Blocker is a PhD student studying in History at Western University. He is currently researching the Waffle movement, the NDP and Canada’s New Left from 1965-1975. Utilizing a combination of traditional archival sources and oral history interviews, this project examines the links between New Left social movements of the Sixties and the NDP through the lens of the Waffle, a nationalist and socialist faction active in the party in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Other research interests include protest movements and political parties in Canada, women’s and gender history and labour history. Active in the NDP for fifteen years, he has helped on multiple campaigns in London and Toronto, fundraised for the provincial party, and attended three federal and two provincial conventions. He is currently serving as President of PSAC Local 610, the Teaching Assistant union at Western. David will be administering interviews of NDP MPs for the Canadian Social Democracy Study.




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University of Saskatchewan St. Thomas More College, U of S

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