The Phenomenon of the Canadian Voter: Recent Attempts to Explain Patterns of Voting
- Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d'études canadiennes
- University of Toronto Press
- Volume 22, Number 3, Fall 1987
- pp. 143-150
- Additional Information
multinational "R and D" was counted as the equivalent of indigenous "R and D." The central policy implications for Palda are that Canadian governments should worry less about increased "R and D" expenditures and more about the quality of corporate management. They should also stress the access of consumers to the benefits of industrial innovation and downplay the perennial concern about where "Rand D" is undertaken . More attention should be paid to policies of "indirect support" of innovation , especially education. Two aspects of Palda's book merit discussion. First, while controversial, it is a scholarly undertaking and one that should interest students of public policy and government-business relations. I make this point because of a fear that some Canadian scholars simply ignore the research produced by "think tanks" whose ideological disposition conflicts with their own. Careful thinkers are rightly concerned about the distorting effect of ideological bias on research. But armed with such a concern, we should evaluate research on its merits. Second, Palda's book is flawed by its failure to advance a convincing political explanation for the policies he decries. He speaks vaguely of "the self-serving hi-tech lobby nexus (producers, politicians, bureaucrats )" (179) that perpetuate the misguided policies observed. But no information is provided about the goals, interests , and strategy of this ill-defined group. Put simply and bluntly, one cannot comprehend the course of industrial policy in modem democracies without a solid grasp of the interplay between the national interest, as interpreted by the state, and corporate and scientific elites. Palda's failure to probe fully this dynamic substantially weakens his study. Conclusions None of the volumes reviewed is explicitly concerned with policy theory and as a result not much has been said about this matter. Indeed, these books reveal the continuing reliance of Canadian Journal of Canadian Studies Vol. 22, No. 3 (Automne 1987 Fall) policy analysts on case studies and traditional methodologies. Whether more effort should be applied to the quest for theoretical frameworks is a continuing issue. On a final note, it is worth restating how each volume highlights the need for serious interdisciplinary work. Pleas for collaboration are commonplace as is the litany of obstacles to effective cooperation . Social scientists should be constantly reminded, however, that the vexing policy problems of modern democracies seldom fit the precise boundaries of their disciplines. The themes and concerns of the present volumes underscore this reality. NOTE I. For a useful review of The New Reality see Robert Malcolm Campbell, 'Technology , Democracy and the Politics of Economic Regeneration," Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 20, No. 4 (Winter 1985-86), pp. 158-72. ALLAN TUPPER University of Alberta The Phenomenon of the Canadian Voter: Recent Attempts to Explain Patterns of Voting ABSENT MANDATE: THE POLITICS OF DISCONTENTIN CANADA. Harold D. Clarke, Jane Jenson, Lawrence LeDuc, and Jon H. Pammett. Toronto: Gage Publishing, 1984. TWO POLITICAL WORLDS: PARTIES AND VOTING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA . Donald E. Blake. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1985. . THE CANADIAN GENERAL ELECTION OF 1984. Alan Frizzell and Anthony Westell. Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1985. 143 What can political scientists tell us - that is worth knowing - about why Canadians vote the way they do? This review will deal with the work of three groups of political scientists who are seeking to unravel the mysteries of Canadian voting behaviour. For ease of identification , I will label them the WindsorCarleton team, the UBC team, and the Latirier-Waterloo team, with apologies to those team members who are actually members of other universities. The team of Harold D. Clarke, Jane Jenson, Lawrence LeDuc, and Jon H. Pammett from Windsor and Carleton have been leaders in the field of explor- .ing Canadian voting behaviour. Their first book-length study, Political Choice in Canada,' drew on data derived mostly from the federal election of 1974, though they were also able to go back to surveys done during the 1972, 1968, and 1965 elections. Their latest book, Absent Mandate: The Politics ofDiscontent in Canada, adds survey information gathered during the 1979 and 1980 elections , providing them with a wealth of material on the Canadian electorate during the five federal elections in which Trudeau was the dominant personality in...