WRITING ABOUT POLITICAL PAIN AND LOSS IMPOSITION HAS BEEN AN oddly pleasurable and rewarding experience. The project had its roots in R. Kent Weaver’s work on the differential institutional capacities of presidential and parliamentary systems in the U.S. and Canada to reform their respective countries’ pension systems, as well as in theoretical work he had done on credit-claiming and blame-avoiding by politicians. This linked nicely with work that Leslie Pal had done on institutional theory and on some specific cases of what we later termed loss imposition, such as abortion policy in Canada.
The genesis of what eventually became this book was contained in several papers presented over the years. The first was a general overview of the theory and several cases, presented by Weaver at the American and Canadian Political Science Association meetings (CPSA) in 1989. This was followed by a joint paper by Weaver and Pal at the 1997 CPSA meetings in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Momentum continued to build as we invited collaborators for panels at the 1999 CPSA meetings in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and the 1999 meetings of the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Other versions were presented in various venues, and we are grateful for the criticisms and suggestions of colleagues: the Cunliffe Centre for the Study of Constitutionalism and National Identity at Sussex University at Brighton (1997); the Brookings Research in Progress seminar (2001); and the Seminar in Economics, Politics and Public Policy at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University (2002). In