Party government duration in the Canadian provinces, 1945-2012

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Roy, Stephanie J.
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Political duration has been investigated with rigour at the cross-national level of analysis and increasingly at the Canadian level. Canada proves to be an interesting case in the cross-national literature. However, the Canadian provincial level of analysis has not been examined within the political duration literature. Studies of political duration have typically focused on cabinet, government, leader and individual legislator duration while neglecting party duration. Yet, it is important to consider the length of time a party spends in power because of its influence on the policy process. Legislators, governments and parties can become apathetic after long periods in power, which can stagnate policy development. Some parties have governed for exceptionally long periods of time in the provinces while other parties have ceased to hold office after just one term. Why is it that some parties last longer than others? Using event-history modelling and multiple logistic regression this thesis examines three different research questions: 1) What accounts for the variation in party government survival 2) What factors explain individual government survival in Canada for the period, 1945-2012 3) What factors contribute to election survival, in order to explain the duration story. I test the variables that have been identified in the cross-national literature as affecting political duration in the Canadian provinces. Cox proportional hazard models are used to test the variables in the first and second research question, while a multiple logistic regression is used to test what factors contribute to election survival. The thesis finds that leadership change, fractionalization and minority status have an effect on duration. The findings in this thesis confirm that, like Canada, the provinces are exceptional cases. While some of the identified explanatory variables affect political duration in the provinces, the usual variables do not completely explain the political duration story in the Canadian provinces.
Political duration, Canadian provinces, Party government