Divided Loyalties: The Liberal Party of Canada, 1984-2008

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9781442610651: Divided Loyalties: The Liberal Party of Canada, 1984-2008

The Liberal Party has governed Canada for much of the country's history. Yet over the past two decades, the 'natural governing party' has seen a decrease in traditional support, finding itself in opposition for nearly half of that time. In Divided Loyalties, Brooke Jeffrey draws on her own experience as a party insider and on interviews with more than sixty senior Liberals to follow the trajectory of the party from 1984 to the leadership of Stéphane Dion in 2008.


Riven by internal strife, leadership disputes, and financial woes, the Liberal Party today faces unprecedented challenges that threaten its very future. Conventional wisdom attributes the origins of the disarray to personal conflict between Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. However, Jeffrey argues that this divisiveness is actually the continuation of a dispute over Canadian federalism and national unity which began decades earlier between John Turner and Pierre Trudeau. This dispute, as evidenced by recent leadership crises, remains unresolved to this day. An insightful examination of the federal Liberal Party, Divided Loyalties sheds much-needed light on an increasingly fissured party.

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About the Author:

Brooke Jeffrey is an associate professor and Director of the Masters of Public Policy and Public Administration Program in the Department of Political Science at Concordia University. She has been actively involved in Liberal politics since 1984, including roles as Director of the Liberal Caucus Research Bureau, Secretary of the party's Platform Committee, and Secretary General of the leadership forums.

Review:

'Divided Loyalties stands alone in the literature on Canadian political parties and makes an extraordinary contribution to how we understand this country's contemporary politics. Brooke Jeffrey advances crucial arguments on the Liberal Party's rapid decline that all future evaluations will need to take into account. She is uniquely positioned to communicate the complexity of the relationships between leaders, caucus, constituency associations, voters, and election advisers, and her extensive interviews with key Liberal politicians and advisers offer remarkably candid assessments of the party and its policies.' (David E. Smith, Professor Emeritus, University of Saskatchewan, and Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina)

'Divided Loyalties brings together for the first time the complete story of the Liberal Party during its most tempestuous years. Brooke Jeffrey's study of Canada's "natural governing party" is balanced, authoritative, and very relevant to current events.' (Hugh Thorburn, Professor Emeritus, Queen's University)

'Extremely well documented and well written, Divided Loyalties is the definitive record of the Liberal Party through the Turner, Chrétien, and Martin years. Brooke Jeffrey's interviews with Members of Parliament, high-ranking public servants, and senior Liberals provide an authentic account of the party's travails and conflicts, making Divided Loyalties a truly valuable contribution to Canada's political history.' (Peter Russell, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto)

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