The Regional Decline of a National Party: Liberals on the Prairies

By David E. Smith

© 1981

During the past twenty years, the Liberal party has shown a marked failure to hold a place in the hearts and minds of the voters of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Professor Smith here argues convincingly that the party is largely the author of its own downfall through insensitivity to regional concerns and ignorance of the implications of its centralizing tendencies.

Smith views the reforms which helped restore the Liberals to federal power after defeat in 1957 as a primary cause of the party’s continuing poor electoral performance in the region. He chronicles that shift from a political structure dominated by strong provincial spokesmen like Gardner and Garson to the reorganized federal Liberal party, which emphasizes control from national headquarters and favours a more scientific approach, relying on opinion polls, ad agencies, and campaign colleges for candidates.

The result has been a decline in voter support and a lack of regional participation in party councils – and the adoption by the party of policies unacceptable to the West. The west thus has come to perceive the Liberal party as dominated by eastern Canada and preoccupied with the problem of Quebec separatism. The consequences have become increasingly evident at election times.

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Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 0.4in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP005748

  • PUBLISHED AUG 1981

    From: $21.71

    Regular Price: $28.95

    ISBN 9780802064301
  • PUBLISHED DEC 1981

    From: $21.71

    Regular Price: $28.95

Quick Overview

The Liberal party has shown a marked failure to hold a place in the hearts and minds of the voters of Western Canada. Professor Smith here argues convincingly that the party is largely the author of its own downfall through insensitivity to regional concerns and ignorance of the implications of its centralizing tendencies.

The Regional Decline of a National Party: Liberals on the Prairies

By David E. Smith

© 1981

During the past twenty years, the Liberal party has shown a marked failure to hold a place in the hearts and minds of the voters of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Professor Smith here argues convincingly that the party is largely the author of its own downfall through insensitivity to regional concerns and ignorance of the implications of its centralizing tendencies.

Smith views the reforms which helped restore the Liberals to federal power after defeat in 1957 as a primary cause of the party’s continuing poor electoral performance in the region. He chronicles that shift from a political structure dominated by strong provincial spokesmen like Gardner and Garson to the reorganized federal Liberal party, which emphasizes control from national headquarters and favours a more scientific approach, relying on opinion polls, ad agencies, and campaign colleges for candidates.

The result has been a decline in voter support and a lack of regional participation in party councils – and the adoption by the party of policies unacceptable to the West. The west thus has come to perceive the Liberal party as dominated by eastern Canada and preoccupied with the problem of Quebec separatism. The consequences have become increasingly evident at election times.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 0.4in x 9.3in
  • Author Information

    DAVID SMITH is Professor of political Science at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.

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