2016 Presidential Address
Dr. William Cross President of the Canadian Political Science Association 2015-2016

“Winning from the Ground Up: The Importance of Local Party Effects in Understanding the 2015 Canadian Federal Election Campaign”

Excerpts from the address of professor William Cross (Carleton University)
May 31, 2016 – University of Calgary

“When considering important questions relating to our politics, it is imperative to consider the role of parties and to acknowledge that they are not unitary actors. There are different faces of the parties fulfilling different tasks, offering different democratic opportunities and influencing varying aspects of public life.”


“I suggest that many questions relating to Canadian politics can only be fully understood when we include in our analyses consideration of local party life. To some extent this may be contextual as our single member plurality electoral system dictates that there are 338 mini-campaigns and elections happening concurrently and that winning an election means succeeding in these discrete contests.”

“We need to expand our consideration of local effects to include the vibrancy of electoral district associations in the period leading up to the campaign. When we do so, we learn that the Liberal party was revitalizing in the period between 2011 and 2015 while the Conservatives were largely stagnant at the local level.”

The full text of professor William Cross’ presidential address will be available online at the Canadian Journal of Political Science Web site in December 2016.