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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32664

Title: Canadian Campaign Finance in Comparative Perspective 2000-2011: A Failed Paradigm or Just a Cautionary Tale?
Authors: Beange, Pauline E.
Advisor: White, Graham
Department: Political Science
Keywords: Campaign finance reform 2000-2011
Political party finance
Canada/U.S./U.K.
Public administration of political finance
Canada political parties
Political finance Anglo-American democracies
Public policy of campaign finance
Issue Date: 20-Aug-2012
Abstract: This thesis compares the public policies of campaign finance in Canada with those in the U.S. and the U.K. in the period 2000-2011. The majority of the Canadian literature on party finance demonstrates a belief in the efficacy and necessity of the enterprise. This dissertation suspends this disposition and offers a critical approach to the regulation of money in Canadian elections. This thesis situates the discussion of party finance regulation in the context of contending models of democracy. Campaign finance rule changes are conceptualized within a new institutionalist framework. Changes in campaign finance rules are seen as changes in incentives and are seen to work in configurations, that is, interacting with existing formal and informal constraints. New institutionalism provides the avenue of inquiry into the position of political parties on the boundary of the public and private spheres and how campaign finance regulation may shift that boundary. This thesis adopts a mixed-method approach, incorporating the results of 65 semi-structured interviews with academics and political practitioners with primary document research. This thesis demonstrates that campaign finance rule changes interact with other electoral rules, types of parties and the nation’s historic institutions. The need to meld Quebec’s statist and civil-code traditions with Westminster democratic traditions, the introduction of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the role of subsequent court decisions, and the role of Elections Canada in its political finance oversight capacity, constitute major catalysts for Canadian party finance rule changes and for understanding the impact of rule changes. Contrary to the majority of literature on campaign finance reform, this thesis demonstrates that there may be diminishing marginal returns to additional campaign finance regulations, at least in a mature democracy such as Canada. Campaign finance rules reveal preferences for different models of democracy. As such, they must be carefully monitored.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32664
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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