Course Syllabus

AP/POLS6110 3.0A : Canadian Government and Politics

Instructor: Gabrielle A. Slowey
Office: S665 Ross
Telephone: 416-736-2100 x22564
Office Hours: Mondays 1:00-2:00 pm or by appt.
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Course Description

This course is designed to give PhD students who have chosen Canadian politics as their major or minor field – or for those simply interested in Canadian politics – an opportunity to review and reflect on key issues and themes in the literature of Canadian Political Science. It is not designed as a survey course for those wishing to acquire a basic understanding of the field and indeed assumes that students already possess a good understanding of the literature and the practice of Canadian politics. Accordingly, broad swaths of good and important literature on Canadian politics receive little or no attention in this course. Hence while this course will be valuable for students preparing to write the Major Field Examination (MFE; aka ‘comp’) in Canadian Politics, it will by no means cover all the literature on which the MFE will be based.

The course will generally seek to consider the literature of Canadian Politics in a broad context. Central questions the course will explore include: has the Canadian literature made good use of concepts, models, theories and methodologies? What is the relationship between political economy and institutions? Where insights and approaches developed elsewhere might be useful in understanding Canada, have we chosen the right ones? What have been the formative intellectual influences on Canadian political science? What insights, concepts, etc does the Canadian case have to offer the comparative literature? And what currents run through the literature, regardless of theme or topic? What are some of the enduring concerns for Canadian scholars?


As this is a seminar course, students will be expected to participate extensively in the weekly meetings. In the weeks when papers are assigned, the papers will form the basis of discussion. Otherwise, save the first two weeks, one or more students will prepare short (10-12 minute) oral presentations on the week’s readings. The presentations are not to be summaries of the readings, but should reflect on them and raise analytic questions for discussion.

Required Texts

All readings can be found either in the Library, on-line, in the Department of Political Science, Grad Lounge, POLS 6110 drawer of the filing cabinet or on the course DROPBOX website.

Course Requirements (1st term only)

Participation: 20%
First Short Paper: 10% (16 October)
Second Short Paper: 10% (20 November)
Book Review: 10% (7 December)

Course Assignments and Evaluation


A seminar-style format, attendance and participation are a required expectation of successful performance in the course. To facilitate discussion, one student will be responsible for preparing a short, oral presentation of the readings each week to the class (10-12 minutes max) [this presentation and facilitation constitutes 10% of the 20% participation mark]. The presentations are not summaries of the readings but rather reflect on them, make connections where possible and raise analytic questions for discussion. For the seminar to be effective, all participants must have to read all of the week’s readings though they may focus on the readings for which they have prime responsibility [weekly active participation and contributions constitutes the other 10% of the participation grade].


1) Short Paper (Comp Prep): 10-12 pages

Students must complete two survey essays each worth 10% of the final grade. Each essay will cover the readings for one of the term’s topics. Each essay should be 10-12 pages and critically review, compare and contrast the different readings for that topic. The essays should not go outside the set readings unless you can make a compelling case and they are not research essays. You are free to choose the two topics that interest you most. The best essays will follow a theme or idea or approach through the readings.

2) Book Review (Publication): 4-6 pages

There are two possible formats for this assignment. The second option is strongly encouraged and preferable.

Each week there is at least one full book included in the list of readings. Students should pick one of these classic texts to review in light of the theme discussed and assess its relevance today.
Contact the Canadian Journal of Political Science. Ask them for a list of books that are in need of review. Select one and write a review that you will submit to the class and, ultimately, to the journal for publication.
All papers must be handed in in class. Any papers handed in after class will be considered late. (Please see late penalty policy listed in class policies below).

Lecture Schedule

Week 1: 11-Sept Class Introduction
Week 2: 18-Sept Approaches to the Study of Canadian Politics
Week 3: 25-Sept Canadian Political Culture and Ideology
Week 4: 2-Oct Canadian Political Economy (Bruce Smardon)
Week 5: 9-Oct Law and Politics (Jacqueline Krikorian)
Week 6: 16-Oct Policy and Policy Making
Week 7: 23-Oct Women and Politics (Barb Cameron)
Week 8: 30-Oct
NO CLASS – Co Curricular Week
Week 9: 6-Nov Quebec and Canadian Duality
Week 10: 13-Nov Regions and Regionalism
Week 11: 20 Nov Immigration and Multiculturalism
Week 12: 27-Nov Indigenous Politics
Week 13: 4-Dec End of Term Wrap Up – Identifying key/common themes

Course Policies

Academic Integrity

The university takes very seriously infractions of academic integrity, including plagiarism, impersonation and cheating on exams. York’s policies on plagiarism can be found here. Students who are in doubt as to what constitutes plagiarism in a particular instance should consult with their TA or professor. For additional insight on the issue, see Margaret Proctor’s “How Not To Plagiarize.”

Late penalty

There is a 0 tolerance for late submissions. However, if work is submitted late, there will be a late penalty of 5% per day on all late papers (including weekends). All late papers must be dropped off in the drop box for the course located opposite the departmental office (South Ross, 6th floor). Papers will not be accepted via email or fax. Under no circumstances should papers ever be slid under office doors.

If a student falls ill, they MUST contact the instructor as soon as possible to avoid incurring late penalties. Papers simply submitted after the due date with a medical certificate attached are NOT acceptable. Consideration for late submission must be obtained from the course instructor.


Only the Graduate Program Director (GPD) is able to approve incompletes for coursework. Substantive documentation will be required for the approval of an incomplete and the circumstances must be demonstrably beyond the student’s control. Incompletes that do not receive approval will rover over into Fails, and students will have to petition to have these removed from their transcripts.

Special Needs

Students who encounter extenuating circumstances during the term that may interfere with their successful completion of exams or other course assignments should discuss the matter with their tutorial leader or course instructor as soon as possible. Students with physical, psychiatric or learning disabilities may request reasonable accommodations in teaching style or evaluation methods, as outlined in Appendix A the Senate Policy on Students with Special Needs. They should advise the director at the earliest opportunity, so that appropriate arrangements may be with the assistance of the Office for Persons with Disabilities, the Counseling Development Centre or the Learning Disabilities Program.

Lecture/Readings Schedule - FALL Term

Please note: Readings appear below in alphabetical order/bibliographic form. Students should consider the way they want to group the readings when it comes to class presentation.

Also – each week there is at least one full book included in the list of readings which is indicated with an asterix *. Students are expected to be familiar with these texts for the comps. If pressed for time, they are required to read, at a minimum, the introduction plus one other chapter.

Week 1: 11-Sept Course Introduction

Week 2: 18-Sept Approaches to the Study of Canadian Politics

Bickerton, J. and Alain Gagnon, 1994. “Introduction: The Study of Canadian Politics.” in
J. Bickerton and A. Gagnon (eds.), Canadian Politics 2nd ed. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 9-36.

Cairns, A. 1974. “Alternative Styles in the Study of Canadian Politics,” Canadian
Journal of Political Science 7:1 (March), 101-28 plus responses by Ward, Mallory, Van Loon and Whittington, 128-34.

Drache, D. and W. Clement. 1985. “Introduction: The Coming of Age of
Canadian Political Economy,” in Drache and Clement, (eds.) The New Practical Guide to Canadian Political Economy. Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, ix-xxiv.

Pal, Leslie, 1994. “From Society to State: Evolving Approaches to the Study of
Politics,” in J. Bickerton and A. Gagnon (eds.), Canadian Politics 2nd ed. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 39-53.

Simeon, R. 1976. “Studying Public Policy,” Canadian Journal of Political Science 9:4 (Dec), 548-580.

Smith, M. 2005. “Institutionalism in the Study of Canadian Politics: The English
-Canadian Tradition,” in Andre Lecours (ed.), New Institutionalism: Theory and Analysis. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 101-127.

*White, L. et al. eds. 2008. The Comparative Turn in Canadian Political
Science. Vancouver: UBC Press. (at least the intro - but whole book preferably).

Further Reading:

Smiley, D. 1974. “Must Canadian Political Science be a Miniature Replica?” Canadian Journal of Political Science 9:1 (February), 31-42.

Rocher, F. 2007. “The End of ‘Two Solitudes’? The presence (or Absence) of the Work of French-speaking Scholars in Canadian Politics,” Canadian Journal of Political Science 40:4 (December), 833-857.

Week 3: 25-Sept Canadian Political Culture & Ideology


Is there any middle ground between the Horowitz/Wiseman approach to Canadian Political Culture and the Nevitte/Henderson approach? How much analytic utility does either approach provide for understanding Canadian politics?

Bazowski, R. 2005. “Political Ideologies in Canada: What’s Left? What’s Right?” Canadian Politics 4th ed.. Peterborough: Broadview.

Forbes, H. D. 1987. “Hartz-Horowitz at Twenty: Nationalism, Toryism and Socialism in Canada and the United States”. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 20, pp 287-315.

Henderson, A. 2007. Nunavut: Rethinking Political Culture. Vancouver: UBC Press. Chapters 1, 3, 10. (google books).

Horowitz, Gad. 1968. “Conservatism, Liberalism and Socialism in Canada: an Interpretation.” Canadian Labour in Politics. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 3-57.

Lipset, S. M. 1990. Continental Divide: the Values and Institutions of the United States and Canada. New York: Routledge. Chapters 1,2.

Nevitte, N. 1996. The Decline of Deference. Peterborough: Broadview. 1-73.

Stewart, I. 2002. “Vanishing Points: Three Paradoxes of Political Culture Research,” in J. Everitt and B. O’Neill (eds) Citizen Politics: Research and Theory in Canadian Political Behaviour Toronto, Oxford. 21-39

*Wiseman, N. 2007. In Search of Canadian Political Culture. Vancouver: UBC Press. Introduction. Chapter 4. Conclusion (whole book recommended – available on google books).

Week 4: 2-Oct Canadian Political Economy: Bruce Smardon


Does the political economy approach still have explanatory power in the analysis of Canadian politics?

Berger, C. 1986. The Writing of Canadian History. Toronto: University of
Toronto Press. Chapter 4 on Harold Innis. On reserve in the Scott library.

Haley, Brendan. 2011. "From Staples Trap to Carbon Trap: Canada's Peculiar
Form of Carbon Lock-In", Studies in Political Economy, Vol. 88.

Haddow, R. 2008. “How Can Comparative Political Economy Explain Variable Change? Lessons for, and from, Canada,” in White et al. eds. The Comparative Turn. Vancouver: UBC. 221-237.

Klassen, Jerome. 2009. “Canada and the New Imperialism: The Economics of a
Secondary Power", Studies in Political Economy, Vol. 83.

*Porter, Jon. 1965. The Vertical Mosaic: An Analysis of Social Class and Power
in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Smardon, Bruce. 2011. "Shifting Terrains of Accumulation: Canadian Industry in
Three Eras of Development", Studies in Political Economy, Vol. 87.

Stevenson, Garth. 1981. The Political Economy Tradition and Canadian
Federalism. Studies in Political Economy. No 6 (Autumn).

Week 5: 9-Oct Law and Politics- Jacqueline Krikorian

*Krikorian, Jacqueline. 2012. International Trade Law and Domestic Policy. Vancouver: UBC Press. (entire book)

Russell, Peter H. "The Politics of Law." Windsor Yearbook Access to Justice, vol 11 (1998), 127-191.

Whittington, Keith E., R. Daniel Kelemen, and Gregory A. Caldeira. "Chapter 1:
The Study of Law and Politics." In Keith E. Whittington, R. Daniel Kelemen, and Gregory A. Caldeira, eds. The Oxford

Week 6: 16-Oct Policy and Policy Making


Are the criticisms of the Canadian policy literature that Richard Simeon
made in his 1976 CJPS article still valid?

Béland, Daniel. 2005. “Ideas, Interests and Institutions: Historical Institutionalism Revisited” in André Lecours, ed., New Institutionalism: Theory and Analysis. Toronto: UTP. 29-50.

Bradford, Neil. 2002. “Why Cities Matter: Policy Research Perspectives for Canada,” CPRN Discussion Paper, June, 1-48.

Dobrowolsky, Alexandra and Jane Jenson. 2004. “Shifting Representations of Citizenship: Canadian Politics of ‘Women’ and ‘Children’” Social Politics 11:2 (Summer), 154-80.

Graefe, Peter. 2007. “Political Economy and Canadian Public Policy,” in Michael Orsini, ed., Critical Policy Studies. Vancouver: UBCPress. 19-40.

Howlett, Michael. 2007. “Analysing Multi-Actor, Multi-Round Public Policy Decision-Making Processes in Government: Findings from Five Canadian Cases,” CJPS 40: 3 (September), 659-84.

Skogstad, Grace. 2008. “Policy Networks and Policy Communities: Conceptualizing State-Societal Relationships in the Policy Process,” in White et al. eds., The Comparative Turn. Vancouver: UBC Press. 205-220.

*Skogstad, Grace. 2008. Internationalization and Canadian Agriculture: Policy and Governing Paradigms. Toronto: UTP.

White, Linda. 2002. “Ideas and the Welfare State: Explaining Child Care Policy Development in Canada and the United States,” Comparative Political Studies 35:6, 713-43.

Week 7: 23-Oct Women and Oikutucs: Barb Cameron

Bakker, Isabella. 2011. "Changing Macroeconomic Governance and Gender Orders". In Brigitte Young, Isabella Bakker and Diane Elson, Questioning Financial Governance from a Feminist Perspective. London; New York: Routledge. 21-50.

Bashevkin, Sylvia. 2009. “Party Talk: Assessing the Feminist Rhetoric of
Women Leadership Candidates in Canada”. Canadian Journal of Political Science 42(2): 345-362.

Brodie, Janine. 2008. “We Are All Equal Now: Contemporary Gender Politics in Canada,” Feminist Theory 9:2.

*Porter, Ann. 2003. Gendered states: women, unemployment insurance and the political economy of the welfare state in Canada, 1945-1997. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Chapter 5: “Social Reproduction in a Transition Period: Maternity, Rights, and Conceptions of Equality”.

Tremblay, Manon and Linda Trimble. 2003. “Women and Electoral Politics in Canada: A Survey of the Literature.” In Manon Tremblay and Linda Trimble, eds. Women and Electoral Politics in Canada. Don Mils, Ontario: Oxford University Press.

Vickers, Jill. (1997; 2005). Reinventing Political Science: A Feminist Approach. Winnipeg: Fernwood. Read chapter 3 “A Framework for Feminist Political Science”.

Week 8: 30-Oct NO CLASS: York Co-Curricular Week

Week 9: 6-Nov Quebec and Canadian Duality

Bercuson, D. and Cooper, B. 1991. Deconfederation: Canada Without Quebec. Toronto: Key Porter Books.1-66, 131-176

Boucher, Gerard and Charles Taylor. Building the Future: A Time for Reconciliation. Final report of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, pp 113-30; 201-218.

Dion, Stéphane. 1992. “Explaining Quebec Nationalism,” in W. Kent Weaver, ed., The Collapse of Canada? Washington: The Brookings Institute. 77-121.

Laforest, G. 1998. “Standing in the Shoes of the Other Partner in the Canadian Union.” Gibbins, R. and Laforest, G. Beyond the Impasse: Toward Reconciliation. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy. 51-79.

Maclure, Jocelyn. 2004. “Narrative and Counter-Narratives of Identity in Québec,” in Alain-G. Gagnon, ed., Québec: State and Society 3rd ed. Peterborough: Broadview Press. 33-50.

*McRoberts, K. 1997. Misconceiving Canada: The Struggle for National Unity. Toronto: Oxford University Pres. Chs. 1-4,7.

Salée, Daniel and William Coleman. 1997. “The Challenge of the Quebec
Question: Paradigm, Counter-paradigm, and ...?” in Clement, ed., Understanding Canada: Building on the New Canadian Political Economy. Montreal and Kingston: MQUP. 262-85.

Turgeon, Luc. “Interpreting Québec’s Historical Trajectories: Between La Société Globale and the Regional Space,” ibid., 51-68.

Week 10: 13-Nov Regions and Regionalism

Bickerton, J. 1999. “Regionalism in Canada,” in in Bickerton and Gagnon (eds). Canadian Politics. 3rd Ed. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 209-238.

*Brodie, J. 1990. The Political Economy of Canadian Regionalism. Harcourt Brace Jovnovich Canada Inc. (book)

Brodie, J. 1999. “Regionalism in Canada,” in Bickerton and Gagnon, eds. Canadian Politics 3rd ed. Peterborough: Broadview Press. 209-238.

Henderson, Ailsa. 2004. Regional Political Cultures. Canadian Journal of Political Science. 37 (3): 595-615.

*Brownsey and Howlett, eds. 2001. The Provincial State in Canada: Politics in the Provinces and Territories. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Introduction, and a provinces chapter of your choosing.

Young, Faucher and Blais. 1984. The Concept of Province Building: A Critique Canadian Journal of Political Science. 17 (4): 783-818.

Week 11: 20-Nov Immigration and Multiculturalism

*Abu-Laban, Y. and C. Gabriel. 2002. Selling Diversity: Immigration, Multiculturalism, Employment Equity and Globalization. Peterborough, Broadview Press. 11-35, 105-128, 165-179.

Bannerji, H. 2000. “Charles Taylor’s Politics of Recognition: A Critique.” The Dark Side of the Nation: Essays on Multiculturalism, Nationalism and Gender. Toronto: Canadian Scholar’s Press. 125-150.

Cairns, A. 1993. “The Fragmentation of Canadian Citizenship.” Kaplan, W. ed. Belonging: the Meaning and Future of Canadian Citizenship. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. 181-220.

Taylor, C. 1994. “The Politics of Recognition.” Amy Gutmann ed. Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 25-74.

Kymlicka, W. 1998. “Multinational Federalism in Canada: Rethinking the Partnership.” Gibbins, R. and Laforest, G., eds. Beyond the Impasse: Toward Reconciliation. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy. 15-50.

Stasiulis, D. 1995. “’Deep Diversity’: Race and Ethnicity in Canadian Politics.” M. Whittington and G. Williams eds. Canadian Politics in the 1990s, 4th Edition. Scarborough: Nelson Canada. 191-217

Trudeau, Pierre Elliot. Statement on Multiculturalism to the House of Commons October 8, 1971.

Week 12: 27-Nov Indigenous Politics


Does the study of indigenous politics in Canada require distinctive methodologies and epistemologies?

Alfred, T and J. Corntassel. 2005. “Being Indigenous: Resurgences Against Contemporary Capitalism.” Government and Opposition. 40 (4): 597-614.

Borrows, John. 2002. “Questioning Canada’s Title to Land: The Rule of Law,Aboriginal Peoples, and Colonialism”, Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law. Toronto: UofT Press, 111-137

Cairns, A. 2000. Citizens Plus: Aboriginal Peoples and the Canadian State. Vancouver, UBC Press.

Coulthard, G. 2007. Subjects of Empire: Indigenous Peoples and the ‘Politics of Recognition’ in Canada. Contemporary Political Theory 6(4):436-460.

*Flanagan, T. et al. 2010. Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights. Montreal and Kingston: MQUP.

Ladner, Kiera L. 2001. Negotiated Inferiority: The Royal Commission on Aboriginal People’s Vision of a Renewed Relationship. American Review of Canadian Studies31 (1-2): 241-264.

McDonald, F. 2011. Indigenous Peoples and Neoliberal “Privatization” in Canada: Opportunities, Cautions and Constraints. Canadian Journal of Political Science 44( 2) 257-273.

Widdowson, F. 2008. Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation. Montreal-Kingston: MQUP. (Intro and Concl).

Week 13: 4-Dec End of Term Wrap Up


What are some of the key and recurring or enduring themes encountered throughout the first term? What themes are repeated throughout each week? What do we expect in a comp answer?

Summarizing and discussing the readings

What is the book or reading about? A deceptively simple question that probably has several answers. While there is an obvious answer there is a more complicated answer that needs to explicated by looking closely at what the author writes about and excludes and how they do it, what evidence they rely on and the underlying assumptions that accompany the doing.

What is the intellectual heritage of the reading? What body of work or ideas does it connect to or flow from? Who are the guiding sources? How do they direct the work? What ideas come from those sources? How are those ideas varied or built upon?

What authors is it in opposition to? Who is specifically mentioned as taking opposite positions to the work? What is lacking or misleading in the positions that other authors take on the same or a similar subject?

What is the theoretical approach?

What causes or explains the actions or inactions or choices of people? Are institutions of government or the structures and forms of accumulation or class or culture or religion or the prevailing narrative or a universal moral position, the sources of the causes of action?

Not all research is equally obsessed with empirical verification. Research that is styled theory, still employs evidence though often of a rather casual, selective and non-systematic sort partly because the method is not explained according to accepted rules.
What evidence is provided to support the argument?
Where does the evidence come from?
How is the evidence selected?
Is the evidence really proof of the point?
Is there readily recallable counter-evidence?
What people or voices or authorities or actions are the sources of evidence?
What people or voices are excluded from the argument? What would they add if they were included? Why are certain voices excluded?