Spanning the spectrum : political party attitudes in Manitoba

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Wesley, Jared
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This Master of Arts Thesis analyzes the contours of the Manitoba political party system. By surveying Progressive Conservative, New Democratic and Liberal Party candidates in the 2003 Provincial Election, the study uncovers a distinct left-right pattern among their attitudes. In particular, each party contains its own unique 'alloy' of attitudinal elements. New Democratic candidates hold social democratic, reform liberal, 'New Left', and neoliberal attitudes, for instance. Meanwhile the Tories are divided between their 'progressive' and 'conservative' wings, and the Liberals between their reform and neoliberal factions. These internal cleavages help bridge the gaps along the party spectrum, as certain left-wing and right-wing values permeate the attitudes of each party. Specifically, the survey reveals widespread leftist support for welfare, civil liberties and the environment, as well as cross-party adherence to neo-liberal concepts like affordable government. Nonetheless, despite intra-party divisions and inter-party convergence, the study concludes that there is considerable attitudinal distance between the New Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives, thereby confirming the existence of the 'traditional party spectrum' in Manitoba - with the NDP on the left, the PC's on the right and the Liberals in the centre.