UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Connected by purse strings : fiscal decentralization and the nationalization of provincial party systems in Canada Bettencourt, Daniel


While some provincial party systems in Canada diverge significantly from the national level, others are relatively congruent with the federal party system. Congruence is one aspect of provincial party system nationalization. Why does provincial party competition mirror federal party competition in certain provinces but not in others? Some scholars theorize that strong national governments encourage the same parties to be competitive on both levels, while the decentralization of power to regional governments encourages electoral patterns to diverge between arenas. However, this relationship has been underexplored and warrants further examination. This thesis tests whether two aspects of fiscal decentralization, provincial spending power and fiscal dependence on the federal government, encourage provincial party system nationalization and congruence. No concrete evidence of this relationship is found, suggesting that fiscal decentralization does not encourage divergence between federal and provincial party systems or increase support for non-statewide parties on the provincial level.

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