Legislative Voting in the Canadian Parliament

Published in Canadian Journal of Political Science, 2011

Recommended citation: Jean-François Godbout and Bjørn Høyland (2011)."Legislative Voting in the Canadian Parliament." Canadian Journal of Political Science 44 (2) 367 - 388. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0008423911000175

We analyze legislative voting in the 35th (1994–1997), 38th (2004–2005), and 39th (2006–2008) Canadian Parliaments. Using Poole’s (2005) optimal classification algorithm, we locate MPs and their parties in a two-dimensional geometric model. The first dimension represents the division between governing and opposition parties that has been found in similar parliamentary systems. The second dimension captures the opposition between the Bloc Québécois and the rest of the legislature. We find a clear separation between the Reform party (and later the Conservative party) and the Bloc Québécois in the 35th and 38th Parliaments, with the Liberal and the New Democratic parties occupying the centre. However, in the 39th Parliament, the ordering changes with the Conservatives and the New Democrats near the centre, and Liberal and Bloc MPs occupying the extremes. We explain this change by the capacity of the governing party to control the legislative agenda and the recent minority governments in the House of Commons.

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