Department of Political Studies Graduate Theses

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    Who Acts for Women? An Analysis of Women's Substantive Representation in the Canadian Senate
    McCallion, Elizabeth; Political Studies; Goodyear-Grant, Elizabeth
    Why might legislators decide to act in women’s interests? This dissertation investigates the institutional rules that motivate legislators’ behaviour when it comes to representing women. Feminist institutionalism suggests that apparently ungendered parliamentary conventions, such as party discipline and electoral imperatives, have gendered consequences – these constraints on legislators’ behaviour can limit their ability to act for women. But Canadian senators have few representational obligations to parties or geographical constituents, and their partisan commitments decreased following Senate reforms in 2014 and 2015. With few constraints on their representational behaviour, will legislators choose to represent women? This study employs interview research with 23 senators to unearth their perspectives on their institutional context. Building on the interview findings, the study investigates senators’ speech about women in policymaking discussions during the parliaments adjacent to the reforms, using both quantitative and qualitative content analyses. This dissertation finds that most senators see themselves as representatives of women – they have flexible views of regional representation and loose (or non-existent) commitments to party representation, so they can respond to other representational demands. Women senators talk more about women’s issues than their men colleagues, and some senators talk more consistently about women than others. This suggests that there are a few critical actors in the Senate who drive the representation of women’s interests. The study finds that senators’ conceptions of women as a constituency vary. All senators overwhelmingly frame women as vulnerable people. But progressive and Conservative senators constitute women’s interests differently when it comes to the protection of, or protection from, the state. Senators mirror dominant social narratives when they talk about women. They are reluctant to adopt new or alternative framing, even when that framing is preferred by stakeholder witnesses. This study also found that the tone and character of senators’ policymaking discussions changed with the reforms that reduced partisanship, moving from pointed partisan questions to genuinely consultative conversations with witnesses. The dissertation concludes that senators have been talking about women’s issues for a long time. But the reforms have emboldened senators to amend government bills, meaning the conditions are ripe for them to act on women’s interests.
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    Deliberating in an Emergency: Participant Experiences and Public Perceptions of Deliberative Mini-Publics on Climate Change in Canada and the United Kingdom
    Mockler, Patricia; Political Studies; Rose, Jonathan
    This article-based dissertation project includes three distinct empirical studies which consider different aspects of deliberative mini-publics (DMPs). A deliberative mini-public is a process in which randomly-selected citizens are gathered to learn about, deliberate on and provide recommendations dealing with a specific policy issue. These processes have become increasingly popular as a tool for policy-makers who are facing complex or controversial policy decisions, and many recent cases have considered the issue of climate change. The introductory paper of this dissertation provides a brief history of the use of DMPs and introduces current debates in the study of DMPs, particularly in terms of their implications for political behaviour and public opinion. The first study compares the political efficacy and behaviour of DMP members before and one year after participating in a DMP (Climate Assembly UK). This study shows that members reported higher internal political efficacy, higher political capacity scores, and increases in the rates of their political participation after Climate Assembly UK. The second study asks why members chose to participate in a DMP. Drawing on interview data with participants, I find that both interest in the topic of deliberation and the design of the deliberative experience is crucial to a member’s decision to participate in a DMP. The third study outlines how DMPs have been used differently in the Canada and UK context and examines how the public perceives DMPs in these two country countries. I find no differences in public perceptions attributable to country context and a strong preference for more traditional methods of citizen engagement over the DMP model. This project provides insights into the broader political implications of this relatively novel method of citizen participation. I contribute to debates about the capacity of citizen engagement to address the issues of democratic malaise and disengagement from traditional avenues of citizen participation.
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    Remembering the Duvalierist State – Gender, State Repression, and Migration Patterns between Haiti and Canada
    Romulus, Celia; Political Studies; Little, Margaret
    This dissertation explores Haitian feminism from a transnational perspective, examining the intergenerational memory of political violence perpetrated under the Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier (1971–1986) and the ways in which it shaped Haitian men and women’s experiences in the diaspora in Montreal from the 1960s to 1980s. Drawing on scholarship centring Duvalierism, the memory of political violence, and epistemologies of ignorance as they relate to migration, diaspora, and citizenship, this dissertation develops an analytical framework that centres memory and experience within the context of displacement and racial violence. Using a decolonial feminist ethnography and life stories of former political prisoners in Haiti, two generations of Haitian migrants in Montreal, and Haitian feminists based in Montreal, this research co-creates a repository of narratives – centring Haitian women’s experiences – that work to gender and trouble Duvalierist, Quebec, and Cold War historiographies. Drawing from these accounts as well as archival research, my findings shed light on the production and transmission of narratives on the dictatorship and what they reveal regarding gendered experiences of repression, migration, and transnational citizenship. The analysis unearths complex individual and collective memorial mechanisms that illuminate how Haitians experienced and remember political violence under Duvalier, and how those lived experiences have shaped resistance strategies to the regime in Haiti and to systemic racism in Montreal. These narratives and my research debunk the broadly adopted working hypothesis of political amnesia on the thirty-year-long dictatorship.
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    “Canada in One City”: Austerity Urbanism and the Financialization of Ottawa's Private Rental Sector
    Yearwood, Douglas; Political Studies; Soederberg, Susanne
    This project centres on the financialization of private rental housing in Canada, and Ottawa, Ontario in particular. With some exceptions (August and Walks, 2018; August, 2020; Crosby, 2020, Nethercote, 2020; August, 2021) there has been relatively little scholarly focus on the financialization of rental housing in Canada—and even less on Ottawa—but understanding this process of housing financialization in the PRS is important because it helps scholars understand how macroeconomic restructuring relates to important issues in private rental housing like weakened rent protections, evictions, and urban planning. Researching the financialization of the PRS also furthers academic debates on neoliberal inter-scalar governance (Brenner, 2019) and the role of resistance and revanchism in shaping urban geographies (Harvey, 2012; Purcell, 2013; Lawton, 2018; Albet and Benach, ed., 2018). Accordingly, my dissertation asks four key questions: First, what role has the neoliberal and inter-scalar Canadian state played in shaping financialization in private rental housing? Second, how have resistance and revanchism at different scales impacted the financialization of rental housing in urban areas? Third, how have forms of resistance and revanchism under neoliberalism yielded variegated geographies? And, finally, how can resistance and revanchism be understood in relation to shaping the financialization of private rental housing? My research reveals that the Canadian state—across federal, provincial, and municipal scales—has played a critical, structural role in implementing neoliberalization and financialization in the PRS. With organized labour and housing movements in a historically deficient phase, capitalist interests and revanchist movements have been able to reorder governance scales to favour the private rental market and enable processes like gentrification. In order to argue this two-pronged thesis, I deploy historical-geographical materialist (HGM) theory (Harvey, 1989; Smith, 1996; Swyngedouw, 2000), which reveals the class-based nature of financialization in the PRS and particular ways in which rent extraction and urban revitalization are shaped by historical and geographical specificities. I advance this argument through two case studies, which reveals how two gentrifying and historically lower-income communities in Ottawa—Vanier and Herongate—are undergoing unique forms of revitalization according to their particular historical development across the inter-scalar austerity urbanist planning regime.
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    Property, Territory, and Peace: Liberal Order and the US-Canada Security Community
    Troup, Daniel; Political Studies; Haglund, David
    Why and how did the US-Canada security community emerge? This dissertation offers a historical materialist reassessment of peace between Canada and the United States. It contends that the evolution of political policing, informed by the development of social property relations in North America from colonization to the 20th century, represents an underappreciated factor in the transformation of the US-Canada space from a zone of conflict to one of peace. Geopolitically mediated class dynamics shaped the region’s institutions, territoriality, and foreign policies before the community’s emergence. Until the 20th century, governing authorities in the two territories often regarded each other as potential allies of their respective internal enemies including Indigenous peoples, populist agitators, and secessionists. However, the consolidation of transnational industrial capitalism in the region ultimately gave rise to a sense of common cause. Faced with leftist and anti-colonial agitation, the US and Canada began to integrate their security measures. Over time, ideas of national security, and the political policing this entailed, became intertwined with international conflicts and the familiar image of the US-Canada security community as an instance of solidarity against external threats could take hold. But this obscured the persistent relevance of political policing to the community’s operation. This dissertation’s argument engages with theories of liberal peace, both capitalist peace theory and democratic peace theory, as they have been applied to the US-Canada case and beyond. Ultimately, I conclude that it is necessary to supplement these theories with a recognition of how capitalism has shaped the idea of democracy and liberal governance’s internal tension between the suppression of dissent in defence of liberal values and the toleration of dissent as an ideological tenet. When these factors are considered, the US-Canada security community can be understood not simply as an instance of liberal peace, but as a product of a fundamentally capitalist liberal order.