Political Science - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Decoding the black box of ‘Sanctuary City’ policies: An empirical study of Access Without Fear policies in Vancouver and Toronto

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-22
Abstract: 

In 2013, Toronto became the first Canadian city to adopt the Access to City Services for Undocumented Torontonians policy that ensures all residents have access to local services without fear of being asked for proof of immigration status. Three years later, Vancouver city council adopted the Access to City Services Without Fear for Residents with Uncertain or No Immigration Status policy, shortly after the cities of Hamilton and Montréal. Canadian sanctuary city, or Access Without Fear, policies aim to support access to city services without fear for residents with precarious or no immigration status. While some scholars argue that adopting sanctuary city policies challenges national immigration policies, others question its effectiveness and counteract the capacity of cities to honour the promises of providing access to basic services to residents that the city is meant to serve. My thesis explores how the issue of Access Without Fear in Vancouver and Toronto captured the attention of policymakers and gained entry to city council agendas. Drawing from Érik Neveu’s constructivist framework, I use data from policy and civil society reports, as well as twenty-six qualitative, semi-structured interviews to compare sanctuary city policies in Toronto and Vancouver. My analysis reveals that identifying the most suitable political champion capable of leveraging influence within and outside city council led to the effective mobilisation and successful advocacy to push and propel the issue to the institutional, albeit political, agenda.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Aude-Claire Fourot
Genevieve Fuji Johnson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The politics of legitimacy: A case study in specific claims

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-12
Abstract: 

Specific Claims is a cornerstone of the Government of Canada’ efforts to improve its relationship with Indigenous peoples. Specific Claims was introduced when the Canadian state had reduced legitimacy regarding Indigenous peoples as a result of the failed White Paper policy in 1969 and the Supreme court’s Calder decision in 1973. It promised to fulfill historical obligations towards Indigenous peoples; it has yet to meets its goals almost five decades later. Indigenous leaders are frustrated and have declared that the policy is designed to appease them while the Government of Canada continues to benefit from their lands and resources. This paper draws on qualitative coding methods to examine and explain legitimacy issues within Specific Claims. Specifically, data from parliamentary committee testimonies and three interviews indicate that Indigenous concerns with Specific Claims center around transparency, accessibility, and power. These concerns indicate problems of legitimacy in Specific Claims.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Remi Leger
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Why do workers vote radical right?: Workplace experiences and the new class cleavage

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-14
Abstract: 

Why are working-class individuals over-represented among supporters of radical right populist (RRP) parties? Why does the radical right seem especially popular with skilled manual workers, and not service workers or routine operatives? This study addresses these questions by exploring the effects of occupational characteristics on radical right support. By drawing on detailed occupational data from the O*NET database and linking it to European Social Survey responses, this study tests whether workplace autonomy and occupational task content are linked to RRP support, and whether these links are mediated through immigration attitudes and authoritarian values. Both non-routine interpersonal and routine manual work are found to be negatively associated with RRP support, but only for low-skilled workers. Both types of work appear to influence workers' immigration attitudes, possibly by requiring increased contact with immigrants, whether as clients and customers or as coworkers. By contrast, non-routine physical work is strongly positively associated with radical right support. This effect is only weakly mediated by attitudinal variables and has similar magnitude to other established predictors of RRP support. These findings strongly suggest that occupational task content, and the types of social interactions and norms which these tasks require, influence political preferences and help explain why individuals in certain occupations are more likely to support the radical right.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Steven Weldon
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Understanding the role of the state in language vitality: Theoretical insights and empirical applications

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-20
Abstract: 

Canada represents an important case for research and policymaking in the area of language protection and promotion and demonstrates the need for more interdisciplinary work between sociolinguistics and political science to advance theoretical models and public policies of language vitality. Sociolinguistic research does not fully consider issues related to politics and public policy, while political science has failed to fully consider the sociolinguistic needs of language groups. This thesis contributes to the emerging field of ‘normative language policy’ by answering the following three research questions: 1) Do liberal states have a moral duty to support language vitality? 2) What measures should the state take towards language vitality? 3) Do Canada’s language policies support language vitality? To answer these questions, a new Index is developed and tested with data gathered from interviews with Indigenous and Francophone stakeholders in B.C. The results suggest that these policies do not fully support language vitality.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Rémi Léger
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

It’s easy being Green: Ecofeminism, women politicians, and Green party electoral success

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-05-27
Abstract: 

Why do Green Parties in Western democracies have a higher percentage of women candidates than other, major parties? Why are these women elected in nearly equally high percentages? This exploratory, mixed-methods case study of Green parties in Canada and Australia aims to generate possible explanations for these questions. Traditional political representation literature tends to focus on critical mass, ideological, or structural explanations to explain women’s political success. These explanations fail to account for the cross-state phenomenon of Green women’s political success which appears to hold constant despite differing electoral systems, party ideologies and histories, and existing gender compositions of elected political bodies. By collecting extensive election data in all Western democracies where Green parties have won seats, I present empirical findings illustrating how women’s representation in Green parties outpaces other parties in nearly every case examined. Explanations for this phenomenon are generated using data from interviews with Green Party politicians in both cases, seeking to uncover a possible connection between environmental concerns and perceived gender differences between men and women. I suggest that it is an emphasis on completing a specific environmental policy goal rather than “politics as usual” which is responsible for attracting high levels of women candidates to Green parties. This is complemented by a strong history of ecofeminist principles within parties such as an emphasis on women’s lived experiences. These findings contribute to the political representation literature by illustrating a specific case where the 50% threshold for women has often been surpassed. Political parties interested in bolstering their own representativeness may look to findings on Green parties for inspiration.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Genevieve Fuji Johnson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Lameduck leadership: The effects of interim leadership on party discipline

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-05-16
Abstract: 

While party discipline has been studied extensively under standard conditions, there has to date been no work done on the impact of interim leadership on the incentives of legislators and in particular on the frequency of their dissent. Given the prevalence of interim leadership in both federal and provincial governments in Canada, this represents a significant gap in the literature. This paper seeks to explore the impact of interim leadership on incentives by developing a formal model of those incentives, based on existing work on regular leadership. It also discusses two different approaches to modelling sanctions, advancement, policy preferences, and policy outcomes, showing the impact of treating these as continuous choices as compared to treating them as dichotomous options. I find the policy position of the future leader has more importance under the assumption of continuous variables than the assumption of dichotomous variables.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Laurent Dobuzinskis
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

You can’t teach an old dog green tricks: exploring the effect of ideology on forestry policy decisions by the 1991-1996 British Columbia New Democratic Party

Date created: 
2018-11-14
Abstract: 

This project explores the effect of ideology on the policy-making process through a case-study analysis of the NDP majority government which governed the province from 1991-1996. The focus is particularly on the NDP’s forest policy, with a strong environmental platform and public support promising extensive reforms but delivering much less than expected. While traditional policy literature largely sidelines ideology as a factor in rational decision-making by individual policy actors, I argue that it plays a much larger role by determining the very scope of policy-options available to decision-makers. Combining Michael Freeden’s Conceptual Approach to ideology with Frank Fischer’s Discourse Analysis, I present a variety of party documents and interviews to argue that the BC NDP had the institutional ability and popular support to enact far-reaching reforms, but were constrained by their own ideological framework into a modest change to the status quo.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Laycock
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Politics in the energy sector: using embedded autonomy to explain the 2016 end of the feed-in tariff program in Ontario

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-09-25
Abstract: 

During a period where climate change is an increasing Canadian and global problem, the government of Ontario stopped accepting new contracts for its feed-in tariff program in 2016 that promoted renewable energy source development. The concept of embedded autonomy explains how the three levels of stakeholders at the political, institutional and public levels interact to decide and implement energy policy. The results of the interaction between the three levels indicates that the political level in the province has the full ability to decide energy policy without including the other stakeholders. Germany provides an example of an energy sector that is more inclusive of non-political stakeholders, and the European state can provide lessons for further including the institutional and public stakeholders in Ontario to promote renewable energy source development.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Anil Hira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Parsing public opinion: Examining the heterogeneous effects of same sex marriage legalization on mass attitudes in America

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-30
Abstract: 

Ordinarily, mass attitude change takes place slowly if at all. Many attitudes remain relatively stable over time and even generations. American attitudes on abortion, for example, have remained surprisingly consistent over time. In 1972, 49 percent of Americans favoured access to abortion for poor women and in 2016, 43 percent of Americans felt the same way. Contrast this with attitudes toward same sex marriage. In 1988, a mere 11.6 percent of Americans were in favour of legalizing same sex marriage. In 2016, 59.2 percent were in favour of granting same sex couples the right to marry (Rosenfeld, 2017). This 47 point rise in support represents a remarkable turnaround in mass public opinion. Recent research suggests that public opinion formation is not strictly a bottom up process with individuals as paramount, but that institutions and official policy play a role (Soss and Schram, 2007). So how does the legalization of same sex marriage affect mass opinion? Previous results suggest that legalization leads to an increase in support for the policy. But these analyses treat legalization as constituting a uniform treatment effect. I use data from the 2008, 2012 and 2016 American National Election Surveys to determine if the effect of legalization on opinion is heterogeneous based on psychological predispositions. My results indicate that individuals do respond differently to policy change based on their levels of authoritarianism and ethnocentrism.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Steven Weldon
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Challenges and opportunities for increasing foreign direct investment in Central Asia: the case of energy in Uzbekistan

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-28
Abstract: 

This research aims to identify the challenges and opportunities to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the energy sector in Uzbekistan and to identify possible ways to improve the investment climate based upon a comparative analysis of the Central Asian region. The approach of this study is to create a synergy between the discipline of political science and business realities with a focus on policy recommendations. An underlying hypothesis is that the strong nationalization of the energy sector and the lack of an attractive business climate in Uzbekistan hinder FDI inflow; therefore, liberalization policies may stimulate the interest of foreign energy companies. The findings of this study suggest that the government of Uzbekistan should focus on FDI determinants such as business climate, trade openness, political stability, transparency, and infrastructure in order to improve overall investment environment and attract foreign capital.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Anil Hira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.