2013 Donald Smiley Prize
Winner: William P. Cross, and André Blais
Politics at the Centre: The Selection and Removal of Party Leaders in the Anglo Parliamentary Democracies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
Excerpt from jury report: Politics at the Centre: The Selection and Removal of Party Leaders in the Anglo Parliamentary Democracies provides an impressive explanation of how Canada’s national political leaders attain the apex of their party’s power structure, how they remain in power, and how they can be deposed. The rules, norms and practices that shape the institutional context for entering and leaving party leadership are brought into clear focus through comparative analysis that spans 25 political parties in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. By investigating leadership campaigns in these parties over four decades, the authors are able to contrast how selection is becoming more democratic in some parties, with growing input from rank and file members, while remaining the preserve of party elites and the parliamentary caucus in other cases. Not only does the book’s framework enable greater insight of where Canadian parties are heading in their leadership selection and de-selection practices, but it is also likely to increase the understanding of Canadian politics in the parliamentary democracies whose parties have been compared with experience in Canada.