Canadian Social Democracy Study


About the Study

Due to its status as the fourth party in the House of Commons throughout much of the last decade, recent academic research on the federal NDP is rare and very little has been written on the NDP’s activity in Quebec. However, the NDP’s unexpected popularity in the 2011 federal election has forced political scientists to re-evaluate their analyses of Canadian politics. The federal NDP now needs to be closely studied to reassess our understanding of party politics, voter behaviour, Quebec’s place in Canada, political marketing, and the operation of Parliament. As it prepares for the next federal election, the activity of the federal NDP will have an important impact on the future of Quebec and the future of Canada. As such, it demands immediate academic attention.

The primary objective of the Canadian Social Democracy Study is to explain the electoral success of the NDP under Layton’s leadership, with a particular focus on its unanticipated surge of popularity in Quebec. The study will also analyze the NDP under the leadership of Thomas Mulcair as it adjusts to its new role as the Official Opposition, grapples with the task of representing three-quarters of Quebec’s ridings, and prepares for the next federal election.

There are two principal outcomes that are anticipated from this study.

The first outcome is an academic book solely authored by Dr. David McGrane that examines the activity and ideology of the federal NDP from Jack Layton’s election as leader in 2003 through to the 2015 election. It will use a mixed-method approach combining public opinion polling, analysis of the federal NDP in the House of Commons, and interviews with NDP members, MPs, and party officials.

A secondary outcome of the Canadian Social Democracy Study is the creation of a network of academics studying the NDP. Events will be organized to bring these academics together to share their work, a monthly newsletter will be published, and their research will be promoted on this website.




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

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

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