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Shadow cabinet organization in Canada 1963-78 Ort, Karen

Abstract

The study, focuses on shadow cabinet organization, the practice; of appointing members to shadow the activities of cabinet ministers by Opposition parties. This practice is analyzed in Canada between 1963 and 1978, a period of continual Progressive Conservative Opposition. The underlying question is whether shadow cabinet organization has become more or less institutionalized during the period. In the introduction Samuel Huntington's four tests of institutionalization are outlined. They were used in assessing Canadian shadow cabinet institutionalization. To operationalize the tests for this study it proved useful to analyze the institution of the Canadian cabinet system along these dimensions. A comparative study of the British and Australian parliamentary systems in which the appointment of shadow cabinets is an accepted convention also helped isolate the variables to study in the Canadian context. Although the analysis centers on the period from 1963 to 1978, a brief history of Opposition organization is included. It provides the background for the period and an understanding of the roots of the present organization. The results of the study reveal that a shadow cabinet organization existed in Canada throughout the period 1963-78. For most of the 15 years its structure and practices were constantly changing. The change was in the direction of increased institutionalization on at least three of Huntington's four dimensions. On the basis of this study, therefore it is argued that shadow cabinet organization has become an established practice of at least Progressive Conservative Opposition in Canada.

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