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Table ronde: Unions and Electoral Politics in Canada

Mercredi 27 mai 2009 à 15h45, Carleton University, Ottawa

81st Annual Conference of the Canadian Political Science Association

PRÉSIDENCE: Marie-Josée Massicotte (University of Ottawa)

PARTICIPANTS:
- David Camfield (University of Manitoba)
- Thomas Collombat (Carleton University)
- Dennis Pilon (University of Victoria)
- Stephanie Ross (York University)
- Charles Smith (York University)

The Canadian labour movement’s relation to political parties has
never been homogeneous. From the close ties linking some unions to
the NDP, to the more conservative ’non-partisan’ attitude of others
to the role played by Québec unions in the sovereignist movement, the
reality of the Canadian labour politics has always been quite diverse.

The current political situation of the country calls for a discussion
of this relation at both federal and provincial levels. At the
federal level, a very conservative government has been elected for
the second time in a row and some unions question their traditional
support to the NDP. The balance of power seems to be shifting to the
West where many provinces are governed by right-wing governments. In
Québec, the possibility of another referendum is highly unlikely in a
predictable future, whereas Ontario’s labour strongholds are struck
by the economic crisis.

In this context, the participants to this roundtable will be asked to
analyze the current challenges of unions’ electoral politics in
Canada and identify some directions into which research on labour
politics should be heading. Are the differences between unions and
regions accentuating or fading? To what extent are unions ties to
partisan politics similar at the deferral and provincial levels? What
could be the new configurations of unions’ electoral politics in the
near future? Participants will come from both the East and West of
the country, as well as from Québec and English-Canada.

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