A comparative and historical analysis of candidate selection practices in the Liberal Party of Canada
O'Brien, Michael Sean
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The thesis questions conventional approaches to resolving the chronic nomination problems of the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) over the last twenty-five years. Attempts at creating a more structured, regulated candidate selection process will help eliminate many of the abuses witnessed in the past, but they will not eliminate the underlying problem. Nor will efforts to control the "Instant Liberal" phenomenon, which is viewed as a manifestation of the inability of the LPC to create a strong, stable membership. Rather, it is concluded that any permanent resolution of the LPC's nomination problems is contingent on either: taking away the grass-roots members' traditional role in candidate selection; or creating a strong, institutionalized membership by becoming a genuine member-based party. The first option is unrealistic in Canada's current political environment. The second option is compatible with the political mood, but its realization will be limited by the institutional constraint of Canada's parliamentary system (which demands strong parliamentary party discipline), and the sociological constraint of Michels' Iron Law of Oligarchy.