Constituency Influence in Parliament

Countering the Center

Kelly Blidook

  • Published: 2012. Paperback 2013
  • Subject Listing: History
  • Bibliographic information: 176 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

Canada's parliamentary system has been characterized as "executive-dominant," with governance focused on the "centre," and scholars have paid little attention to the legislature and its members. But members of Parliament are, in fact, primary actors in governance. Constituency Influence in Parliament illuminates how MPs, in their pursuit of various goals in the legislature, play an important representative role in shaping policy. This critical volume offers the first full-scale examination of the rules and conduct of parliamentary Private Members' Business and of the electoral and policy motivations of those who hold the country's highest elected office. Kelly Blidook offers a thought-provoking assessment of the representational and policy dynamics that exist within the Canadian institutional structure. His examination of what MPs do, why they do it, and what effect it has, serves to resurrect the relevance of Canada's Parliament.
Kelly Blidook is an assistant professor of politicalscience at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

"A first-rate book on Private Members' Bills, including their success rates, policy areas, and partisan and ideological breakdowns, supplemented by one-on-one interviews with members of parliament. Blidook's detailed and compelling analysis highlights the critical role these bills play in the representation process, and in Parliament itself."
-David Docherty, author of Legislatures

"This splendidly crafted book not only provides valuable and original insights into Parliament and into the behaviour and influence of individual MPs, but also reaffirms the value of detailed empirical research into the Commons and, crucially, that Parliament matters. Essential reading for anyone interested in parliamentary government in Canada."
-Graham White, author of Cabinets and First Ministers

1. Parliament and Its Members: Representation and Governance

2. The Electoral Connection and Legislative Behaviour in Canada

3. Legislation in the House: Private Members' Business

4. Private Members' Business: Participation and Motivation

5. Constituency Interests and Private Members' Business

6. The Nation's Interests, the Party's Interests, or theMP's Interests?

7. Does It Matter? Do Members of Parliament Influence Policy?

8. Conclusion: Individual Autonomy and Representation

Appendices; Notes; Bibliography