Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Anatomy of a Liberal Victory: Making Sense of the Vote in the 2000 Canadian Election

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Anatomy of a Liberal Victory: Making Sense of the Vote in the 2000 Canadian Election

Article excerpt

André Blais, Elisabeth Gidengil, Richard Nadeau and Neil Nevitte, Anatomy of a Liberal Victory: Making Sense of the Vote in the 2000 Canadian Election (Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2002), 241 pp. Paper. £14.99. ISBN 1-5511- 1483-6.

The Canadian general election of 2000 was something of a political 'non-event'. It took place a year earlier than expected and its outcome was what most people predicted. The Liberals won easily, the 'new' Canadian Alliance gained a handful of seats but failed to make a breakthrough in Ontario and the rest of eastern Canada, and the Bloc Québécois continued its slow but steady decline. The New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives also saw their parliamentary representation fall but won enough seats (just) to retain 'official party status' in Ottawa. Given the predictability of the result, André Blais and his colleagues from McGill, Montréal and Toronto universities concentrate on the psephological factors underlying the Liberals' comfortable victory, rather than relating the narrative of the contest.

The authors systematically dissect the behaviour of the Canadian electorate during the election, including those that chose not to vote. Given that only 61 per cent of the electorate bothered to vote, a record low for Canada, a chapter entitled 'Why Was the Turnout So Low?' is an important and pertinent one. Their explanation, that younger people simply find politics boring, is supported by statistical tables. Some of these are easy to understand but others rely on the reader having a fair knowledge of specialist statistical techniques. This pattern is repeated in every chapter, and there are appendices totaling nineteen pages that are devoted to statistical analysis, thus ensuring that this work is primarily intended for the professional political scientist rather than the interested layman. …

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