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

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Harm reduction and supervised safe consumption sites: Ideas and policy in Toronto and Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

In 2003, the city of Vancouver opened North America’s first supervised injection site, Insite. Insite presents a case where the municipal government initiated change in drug policy and responded to a health crisis. It provides a case for understanding change in the ideas that guide policy making. In Vancouver, policy-maker’s decisions were informed by the idea of harm reduction. The extent to which this occurred is unique to Vancouver, and such developments have not taken place elsewhere in North America. In order to understand how this happened, Vancouver has been compared with Toronto. Through elite interviews and analysis of primary documents, the process of policy change in Vancouver and policy stability in Toronto are traced. Ultimately, in Vancouver an alignment of the public, media, politicians and police occurred, and all actors recognized the need for an alternative to the existing enforcement approach and Insite was part of that alternative.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
L
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Who identifies with Europe? A multi-level analysis of European identity and political support for a European community

Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

In today’s European politics, European integration and further enlargements of the European Union (EU) are two of the most salient issues on the political agenda. Public opinion is becoming increasingly decisive for EU policy-making, and it is crucial to identify the factors that shape European identity and public opinion about the integration process in order to understand and predict the dynamics of European integration. I argue a European identity that indicates support for the EU is a “civic” or “political” identity that reflects economic and political values and principles promoted by EU institutions. Employing survey data from the 2005-2006 World Values Survey for 17 European countries, I evaluate the effects of utilitarian and national identity factors on European identity. The results of the multiple, multi-level linear regression analysis indicate that economic and political factors on both the macro and micro level shape European identity and support for European integration.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
S
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.A.)

Framing action: assessing the impact of obesity framing on program design in British Columbia

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

The percentage of Canadians who are overweight or obese has risen dramatically in the past twenty years, prompting federal and provincial governments to take action on obesity. This thesis studies the impact of obesity framing on program design in BC. The focus of this thesis is two-fold. First, it is demonstrated how ideas and discursive processes are framing obesity as a health individualism construct. Second, it is shown how dominant obesity orthodoxy is impacting the design and creation of obesity intervention strategies in BC. It is shown that antiobesity literature has been instrumental in framing obesity as a serious health problem for which individuals are ultimately responsible. Moreover, it is argued that obesity program design in BC has centered on obesity as a health individualism construct, which has had the effect of relegating Government to a resource-base, relying on nodality-based policy instruments such as self-serve e-health resources and information campaigns.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
M
Department: 
Dept. of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

From unaided politicians to unnoticed cabinets? The development of British Columbia’s executive branch of government

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

While British Columbia has changed considerably since the province first entered confederation in 1871, many of its political institutions remain intact. This thesis explores the evolution of one of these institutions—the political executive—in order to better understand contemporary politics in British Columbia. The research presented herein suggests that British Columbia has evolved from a traditional executive, when the province entered confederation, to a departmentalised executive in the 1960s and 1970s. The mid to late 1970s brought about an institutionalised executive while, more recently, British Columbia has moved towards a first minister centred model of government. The study concludes by examining some of the implications of a first minister centred executive. In particular, the thesis suggests that first minister centred government poses challenges to the conventions of responsible government. First minister centred government may also be detrimental to the customary relationship between the political executive and the public bureaucracy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
P
Department: 
Dept. of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Women incumbents in Canada and the decision to run again: an exploratory study

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

In analyzing the problem of women’s underrepresentation in elected office, many scholars have pointed to one dimension of the “supply side” problem: women are generally less willing to run for office. However, when it comes to the decision to run for re-election, women appear to be as likely, if not more so, to run again than their male counterparts. This exploratory study uses data from interviews with female Canadian MPs to explore this apparent paradox. The results suggest that for female officeholders, the decision to run again is influenced by at least five factors. These are: a desire to seek a return on the investment that is made when entering a career in politics, a desire to carry out specific policy objectives, an increased sense of confidence, reduced role conflict related to work and family responsibilities, and an overall level of satisfaction with the experience of being an officeholder.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
L
Department: 
Dept. of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.A.)

Who gets in? A sub-national comparative study of immigrant integration in British Columbia and Bavaria

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

Successful integration of immigrants into the labour market is not only crucial for maintaining immigrants’ livelihood, but more generally to secure social cohesion and a sense of belonging. Recent research in this area has provided a broad theory base for categorizing countries according to their integration approach. While this study builds on these findings, the focus lies on investigating labour market participation of immigrants on the sub-national level. Specifically, this study investigates settlement outcomes in British Columbia, Canada, and Bavaria, Germany. The results indicate similar participation rates of immigrants in British Columbia with the exception of income levels. Immigrants in Bavaria, however, lag behind in all areas of labour market integration vis-à-vis the non-immigrant population. The key for understanding these different developments is found in the larger context of the host countries’ experience with previous immigration, integration policies and the institutions of the labour market as well as immigrants’ background.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
A
Department: 
Dept. of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

An intersectional analysis of Aboriginal women in the Downtown Eastside and B.C.'s income assistance policy

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This project uses intersectional theory to analyze the socio-economic status of Aboriginal women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Intersectionality emphasizes that the life experiences of some individuals are shaped by, not only one, but multiple forms of oppression. Through an interpretive analysis of first person interviews with members of B.C.'s income assistance policy community, I find that gender and ethnicity contribute to structuring the socio-economic status of Aboriginal women in this area. Specifically, gender and racial stereotypes in the labour market and everyday public life shape their material well-being. Strengthening income assistance in conjunction with other social policies may help Aboriginal women improve their socio-economic status. However, government action alone will not solve the problem. The mere existence of gender stereotypes of women and racial stereotypes of Aboriginal people means that gender and ethnicity will continue to contribute to shaping the socio-economic status of this group.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
G
Department: 
Dept. of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.A.)

Canada’s Military intervention in Afghanistan: combining realism and constructivism in the analysis of Canadian foreign policy decision-making

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This paper examines four key Prime Ministerial decisions about Canada’s military involvement in Afghanistan since 2001. It is often argued that Canadian prime ministerial behaviour on foreign policy matters can largely be understood by the need to negotiate a compromise between two oft-conflicting demands: the political need to respond to the normative desires of an often anti-American and peacekeeping-loving populace; and the need to accommodate American security demands in order to protect Canada’s vital economic interests. The political story of Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan since 2001 is how easily these two demands coexisted until Canadian casualties began mounting in early 2006. Two arguments are advanced about how this co-existence persisted: Canada’s peacekeeping narrative proved not nearly as powerful and monolithic as is often portrayed; and the impact of past policy decisions on future ones skewed decision-making in favour of a continuation of Canada’s military commitment to Afghanistan.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
D
Department: 
Dept. of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Divided loyalties, many hats, and punctuated worlds: the challenges of political, administrative and stakeholder collaboration for federal public servants in Canada

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

While network studies have focused on mapping out the structural linkages between participants within a policy network, less attentionhas been paid to the behaviours of policy actors. Attention to network behaviour is important because it varies and with implications for the performance, legitimacy, and effectiveness of government. This dissertation seeks to examine actor behaviour by investigating the challenges, opportunities, and coping strategies of public servants who work in policy networks. Interviews were conducted with forty-five Canadian federal public servants across four horizontal initiatives: the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline Project, the Sector Council Program, Team Canada Inc, and the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada. Together with organizational documents and reports, these interviews highlight the limited ability of networks to support long-term policy development, translate political ambiguity into policy outputs, generate effective leadership, and adopt new collegial cultures. Reconfiguration of existing accountabilities, renewal of central agency support structures, and increased senior leadership might help public servants to overcome key network challenges: gaining inclusion, obtaining commitment, facilitating collegiality, and achieving agreement. This work highlights the importance of actor-centred understandings of collaboration. It reveals distinct challenges for public servants when they collaborate with other public servants, stakeholders, and political actors and uses a framework of rule contestation due to an institutional deficit to understand why they face these challenges. In turn, the concept of rule contestation raises important questions regarding the fit of current political and administrative arrangements for governance in an increasingly networked era.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
M
Department: 
Dept. of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

We can: implementing a 100% renewable energy policy in BC

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

What mix of generation would provide British Columbia with the optimum electricity system? Energy analysts have critiqued the 2007 BC Energy Plan; A Vision for Clean Energy Leadership in regard to its goal of aiming for a 90% renewable energy mix. By failing to full embrace renewable energy at 100%, this goal fails to obtain the maximum range of benefits to be accrued from the province’s electricity system. Beginning with a thorough analysis of the literature, and personal interviews, this project examines outside critiques of the Energy Plan by sources from the non-for-profit sector, private energy developers, and the government itself, in order to make the argument that a move towards 100% renewable electricity generation makes economic, final, and technical sense. This cost-benefit analysis will compare non-renewable with renewable sources of electricity in terms of how they fair in terms of costs, supply security, employment opportunities, creating innovation clusters, and impacting the environment.

Document type: 
Thesis
Supervisor(s): 
A
Department: 
Dept. of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.A.)