Citizens, Political Communication, and Interest Groups: Environmental Organizations in Canada and the United States

By John C. Pierce; Mary Ann E. Steger et al. | Go to book overview

theless, lobbyists do take the legislature and its members seriously as contributors to the policy process" ( 1989, p. 255). Ontario group leaders who were a part of this study do not ignore legislative contacts, but they accord them less significance than do environmental group leaders in Michigan. There is some evidence to suggest that this is an area in which convergence in political practices likely is coming about in Canada and the United States. It is possible that the "green lobbies" of Canada and the United States will come to display more similar behaviors in the 1990s than they have hitherto ( Mitchell 1990).

Political system differences affect both the role environmental interest groups play in the two policy systems and the tactics those groups employ to transmit policy-relevant information. Here, the consensual nature of the Canadian setting stands in sharp contrast to the competitive flavor of the American political system. Although groups in both governmental systems provide information on environmental issues to the authorities and to their members and contributors, the Ontario environmental interest groups are not as actively engaged in the range of strategies environmental groups in Michigan use to influence the policy process. Ontario group leaders, more so than their Michigan counterparts, use policy-relevant information as the basis for their interactions with government officials. Many groups in Ontario do pursue a less obvious, quiet involvement in politics, and this involvement relies rather extensively on the communication of policy-relevant information.


NOTE
1.
Personal interviews were conducted with 24 government officials and directors of prominent environmental organizations in Michigan and Ontario in the summer of 1987. The 13 individuals interviewed in the American state included appropriate representatives from all significant state governmental bodies and statewide environmental groups actively involved in the issue of acid rain deposition. The 11 individuals interviewed in the Canadian province also included the relevant government officials, but only leaders from a representative cross-section of the types of groups involved in this policy arena could be included because of the large number of environmental organizations active in the province. Efforts were made to match all group and governmental interviewers in one country with their equivalents in the other national setting.

-170-

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Citizens, Political Communication, and Interest Groups: Environmental Organizations in Canada and the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figure and Tables ix
  • Series Foreword xiii
  • Notes xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Chapter One - Information, Individuals, and Interest Groups 1
  • Conclusion 31
  • Chapter Two - the Political Culture Context 33
  • Notes 64
  • Chapter Three - Trust in Sources of Policy-Relevant Information 69
  • Notes 94
  • Chapter Four - the Information Incentive 95
  • Notes 120
  • Chapter Five - Organizational Resources and Informational Capacity 123
  • Notes 147
  • Chapter Six - Environmental Groups as Communicators 151
  • Note 170
  • Chapter Seven - Interest Groups, Individuals, and the Technical Information Quandary 171
  • Conclusion 186
  • Appendix Survey Questionnaires 191
  • References 211
  • Index 223
  • ABOUT THE AUTHORS 227
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