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Canadian provincial premiers : a statistical analysis of 185 careers James, Peter Edward


The questions: "who becomes a provincial premier?", "what is a premier's career pattern?", and "does selection process make a difference in the type of person that becomes premier?" are answered in this study. A series of 22 political and socio-economic variables was collected for each of the 185 men who have been provincial premiers between July 1, 1867 and July 1, 1987. After the data set was created, analysis by province and party was then performed. The response to "who becomes a provincial premier" shows that premiers are not typical of the electorate that they represent. Provincial premiers, on average, are Protestant lawyers who come to office at age 48.6. These men usually have a post-secondary education, and are born in the province of which they become premier. Three distinct career patterns are found when one answers the question "what is a premier's career pattern?". The first, and most common path, is the replacement of one premier by another while the party is in government. The second path, and the least frequented, is the "comeback" route. This occurs when an individual is in government, goes into the opposition, becomes party leader, and comes back to government as premier. The third path to the premiership is via the post of leader of the opposition. An individual following this path is leader of the opposition party and wins an election to become premier. Each of the 185 premiers followed one of these distinct paths to office. Parliamentary and cabinet experience, years as party leader before becoming premier, duration as premier, and reason for leaving the premiership each vary, when analyzed by path to power. The response to the third question is that the selection process makes a difference in the type of person that becomes premier. Convention chosen premiers, in contrast to caucus chosen premiers, are younger, have more diverse occupational backgrounds, and have less parliamentary and cabinet experience. Convention chosen leaders have a longer duration in office. Comparison of results with parallel studies of Australian state premiers, national party leaders, federal cabinet ministers, and provincial cabinet members, shows that Canadian provincial premiers are unique in their background and career progression.

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