Canadian Politics

A21(c) - Non-Electoral Participation and Mobilization in Canada

Date: Jun 14 | Time: 03:30pm to 05:00pm | Location:

Partisanship and Non-Electoral Political Participation in Canada: Megan Mattes (Simon Fraser University), Victoria Mahon (McGill University)
Abstract: The link between partisan affiliation and vote choice has been studied extensively in Canadian political science literature. Many scholars have tested the impact of durable and flexible partisanship on vote choice to varying results (Clarke et al, 1991, 2019; Green et al., 2002; Gidengil et al, 2012, 2022). A move in the literature to understand partisan identity in Canada as a form of social identity forms the theoretical backdrop for our question: what is the link between partisan affiliation and engagement in non-electoral forms of political participation? This research contributes to the literature on partisanship in Canada and how the unique party system impacts the relationship between partisanship and non-electoral forms of political participation, including protests, boycotts, petitioning, volunteering, donating, and online participation. Active citizen participation through non-electoral forms of participation is crucial for the health of a democracy and understanding who chooses to participate is key to knowing how to facilitate democratic discussion. Using publicly available data from the Canadian Election Study group’s Democracy Checkup survey, we investigate how individuals across party affiliations participate politically in a variety of non-electoral formats. Using OLS regression analysis, we investigate whether certain forms of political participation are tied to the strength of party affiliation, interacting with party affiliation, controlling for gender, age, education, ethnicity, religion, citizenship, and socioeconomic status. Note: Indicating my PhD supervisor as per the instructions - Professor Edana Beauvais, Simon Fraser University,

Political Perspectives of Student Leaders who Organized Against Student Union Corruption and Mismanagement at the University of Ottawa, Canada, 2015-2019: Justin Patrick (University of Toronto), Nina Bascia (University of Toronto)
Abstract: In 2019, after about four years of sustained activism against alleged corruption and mismanagement in the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), University of Ottawa undergraduate students voted in a referendum to replace the SFUO with a new student organization, the University of Ottawa Students' Union (UOSU). An analysis of 22 semi-structured interviews with former student leaders involved in the movement that culminated in the UOSU Revolution and student journalists who reported on what was happening reveal that these former students' experiences impacted how they view politics. Key findings include participants coming away advocating for more decentralized governance structures, accountability mechanisms to ensure liberal democratic safeguards and prevent populism, and mechanisms to ensure appointed positions cannot unduly infringe upon democratic processes. Some participants were left jaded by their experience and expressed being less interested to participate in politics generally in the future. Recommendations include highlighting the potential for student government participation to influence political perspectives, and that an consistent effort is needed to ensure that student governments in Canada practice good politics and maintain healthy standards of democracy. Keywords: politics of education, political behaviour, student governments, student unions, anti-authoritarianism

Political Support and Participation in Canada: Using Newly Collected Data to Explore Unconventional Participation in Canada: Sophie Courchesne (Concordia University), Mebs Kanji (Concordia University), Kerry Tannahill (Concordia University), Nancy Yacoub (Concordia University)
Abstract: Canada has seen significant expressions of alternative participation in the past few years including its historical climate marches, the Freedom Convoy, and the more recent protests about the escalations of violence in Israel and Palestine (Shingler 2019; Murphy 2022; Chiang 2023). And while political dissatisfaction has been tied to certain forms of alternative political engagement, the direct links between disaffection with different political objects and the effect on shifts in political engagement behaviours remains under-explored (Norris 1999; Christensen 2016). An analysis of data collected Canada-wide in 2017 by the Political Communities Survey Project (PCSP) revealed preliminary evidence that discontent with the political regime may be one of the most important drivers of alternative participation. The data also suggested that, rather than a shift away from traditional participation toward alternative forms, Canada may instead be experiencing a broadening of the political engagement repertoire (Courchesne, Tannahill, and Kanji 2023). Using a new wave of PCSP public opinion data collected from across Canada in late 2023, this paper proposes to expand and deepen the analysis of political support and engagement by answering several questions. What forms of unconventional political activities are Canadians engaging in and which activities do they engage in the most? What accounts for unconventional political participation? And are there any observable systematic patterns that emerge across two distinct data points?