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Policy Analysis in Canada$
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Laurent Dobuzinskis and Michael Howlett

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447334910

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447334910.001.0001

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The policy capacity of political parties in Canada

The policy capacity of political parties in Canada

(p.257) Twelve The policy capacity of political parties in Canada
Policy Analysis in Canada

Greg Flynn

Marguerite Marlin

Policy Press

Political parties and their members are often viewed as having limited impact on government policy choices. However, prior research shows that both sets of actors devote considerably more time and resources to policy-related activities than this view would suggest. We examine the policy capacity of parties and their members to influence policy-making in Canada over the course of the last decade. We focus on the ability of party members to have their policy wishes included in election campaign manifestos and the extent to which the 2008 and 2011 federal Conservative governments were able to fulfill their campaign commitments in a highly challenging policy capacity environment. Consistent with prior studies on previous Conservative and Liberal governments, this examination demonstrates that while governments face a number of influences on their policy choices, the policy wishes of party members and the election campaign policy commitments of parties have a significant influence.

Keywords:   elections, election promises, election platforms, mandates, policy capacity, party members, policy-making, neo-institutionalism

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