Political Parties and the Practice of Brokerage Politics

R. Kenneth Carty and William Cross

in The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Politics

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780195335354
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Political Parties and the Practice of Brokerage Politics


Political parties are significant to Canadian politics. They are central to the workings and the nature of the country. Despite their prominent role in the defining of the Canadian political life and in shaping the country's democratic processes, Canadian political parties are among the most organizationally weak and decentralized parties in an established democratic party system. Unregulated and underinstitutionalized, the political parties of Canada remain unchanged from the cadre-style structures of the mid-nineteenth century. The parliament and the electoral system with which they work has changed a little, but while they position themselves within a wider society and its governing institutions, Canadian political parties were forced to adapt to the social, economic, and demographic changes that continually reshaped Canadian society. This article discusses political parties in Canadian politics. It discusses the distinctive character of brokerage party politics by Canadian parties and the organizational structures they have developed. The article also discusses the internal life of the parties and their ability to perform functions demanded of them as principal institutions of democratic linkage.

Keywords: political parties; Canadian politics; Canadian political parties; party systems; brokerage party politics

Article.  7741 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics

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