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

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Canadian federalism and international trade agreements: Evaluating three policy options for mitigating federal-provincial conflict

Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

The division of powers that has evolved under Canadian federalism regarding the negotiation and implementation of international treaties divides these responsibilities between the federal and provincial governments respectively. This division of powers, however, does not accurately reflect the changing nature of international trade agreements, which are increasingly addressing areas of provincial responsibility. The result will likely be increased resistance from the provinces to implementation should they not play a more substantial role in the negotiation of future agreements. This thesis examines the Canadian trade policy formulation process and evaluates three mechanisms by which provinces have been or could be involved in it: consultation, ratification, and provincial participation in Canadian negotiating delegations. The appropriateness of each of these options is evaluated based upon criteria of constitutionality, representativeness, efficiency and acceptability to international actors. The conclusion discusses situations in which each option might be desirably pursued and challenges to greater provincial involvement.

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

A matter of time: reassessing the occurrence of conflict and the role of institutions in transboundary freshwater resources using event history analysis

Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

The study of international conflict and cooperation over shared freshwater has been advanced by the application of large N data sets and statistical methods to study these relationships. This thesis builds on this body of knowledge in two ways. First, because of the time-series nature of the data, it adopts event history analysis methodologies to refine previous research. Second, it explores the role of international institutions in mitigating conflict between countries that share freshwater resources. The results of the statistical models generally support the need to adopt new methodologies and provide a more detailed understanding of duration dependence. Furthermore, the results of the models are generally in line with the proposed hypotheses. In terms of the impact of international institutions, the models point to the pacifying effects of international institutions. Nevertheless, further research is necessary to clarify the relationship between shared freshwater resources, conflict and the role of international institutions.

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

Reconciling dispossession?: The legal and political accommodation of Native title in Canada and Australia

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Because increasing numbers of Indigenous people are choosing to work within the legal and political institutions of their colonisers to achieve native title recognition and respect, a critical question is: can (post-)colonial legal and political institutions meaningfully redress the historic and ongoing dispossession of Indigenous Peoples or does the colonial nature of these institutions inherently predispose them to (intentionally or unintentionally) perpetuate dispossession? This study seeks to answer this critical question by analyzing the legal and political accommodation of native title in Canada and Australia using the neo-institutional lens of path dependence as an explanatory analytic framework. In sum, characterizing native title's legal and political accommodation as a selfreinforcing path dependent sequence, this study argues that the different degrees of recognition and accommodation afforded native title by the legal and political institutions of (post-)colonial Canada and Australia can be meaningfully explained with reference to these countries' different (and historically contingent) recognition and accommodation of indigenous rights to land during their earliest years of colonial settlement. This interpretation of events not only provides a meaningful explanation for colonial history's continuing role in the legal and political accommodation of native title in Canada and Australia, it also provides a meaningful explanation for this study's four central findings: (i) the legal and political recognition of native title is relatively more extensive and secure in the Canadian case than it is in the Australian case; (ii) the judicial construction of native title at common law has produced a relatively stronger real property right in the Canadian case than it has in the Australian case; (iii) Canada's comprehensive claims policy has given Indigenous Peoples a relatively stronger ability to assert and defend claims of continuing native title than has Australia's Native Title Act; and, (iv) the ability of Indigenous Peoples to procure formal legal and/or political con3rmation of their unique territorial rights (i.e. continuing native title) is little different today than it was prior to the recognition of native title at common law and the subsequent recognition of native title in central government policy.

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

Searching for the civic state : nationalism in post-Soviet Ukraine

Date created: 
2004
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Political Science) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Obstacles and opportunities: The experiences of female councillor candidates in Metropolitan Vancouver and Ottawa, 1999-2006

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the electoral representation of female councillors in municipal politics in two major Canadian regions: Metropolitan Vancouver and Ottawa from 1999 to 2006. Certain obstacles and opportunities affect the number of female candidates that campaign for local office and are elected to municipal councils. I argue that the size of the electoral jurisdiction, the presence of political parties, and the presence of campaign finance regulations are three key variables that shape the opportunities of female candidates when contesting municipal office. The thesis demonstrates that the experiences of women candidates are profoundly impacted by the contexts within which they contest local office and that these contexts must be accounted for when assessing the representation of women at the municipal.

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

Organic limited: The corporate rise and spectacular change in the Canadian and American organic food sectors

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

The twentieth century saw the rise of industrial food production in North America. It is widely held that industrialized agriculture produces negative social and ecological effects. In response to the exploitive practices of industrialized agriculture, a number of counter-movements emerged in the mid-twentieth century, including the organic farming movement. The traditional principles and practices of organic agriculture presented an alternative form of food production, distribution and consumption that accounted for the social and ecological costs associated with feeding mass populations. Over the last twenty years however, the organic food sector has seen phenomenal growth and changes, that challenge organic’s status as a counter-movement. Food safety issues have emerged regarding the industrialized, globalized food system that have prompted concerned consumers to seek alternatives, contributing to organic food’s rapid market expansion. As a result of its remarkable market growth, new actors have entered the organic food sector and organic food is now part of policies and regulatory frameworks of many OECD countries. Changes in both the structure of the organic food sector and the actors involved in it have challenged organic’s standing as a counter-movement to the industrialized food system, and what it means for a food to be defined as ‘organic’. This thesis examines the changing political economy of the organic food sector in Canada and the US over the past twenty years. It looks at the corporatization of the organic food sector and the insertion of organic into various levels of governance, including national policy-making agendas and global trade agreements. As a result of these changes it is argued that organic has fundamentally moved away from its original status as a challenge to the status quo, and is now part of the global food regime that it once so adamantly opposed and sought to replace. By examining the pressures for changing the traditional social and ecological principles of the organic movement, it is shown that it has effectively shifted from a social movement to an advocacy network.

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

Energy security for Canada: A comparison of the self-sufficiency and continental strategies

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

While the topic of ‘energy security’ has attracted considerable public attention in recent times, the various issues of relevance have been poorly conceptualized within a policy framework for the Canadian people. Arguably, Canada has lacked an energy security strategy in recent years even as the country’s energy security environment has been rapidly changing. This study takes a strategic view of energy security in the sense that it treats the issue as a matter of national interest. Paradoxically, by relying on the analysis of sectoral developments over the last two decades, it is hypothesized that energy ‘self-sufficiency’ -- even if not impractical -- has severe and sobering implications for Canada’s intrinsic national interests. This study examines the long-standing chasm between the ‘continental’ and ‘self-sufficiency’ perspectives against updated criteria for assessing Canada’s current energy security situation.

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

Beyond belief? A historical institutional analysis of contemporary school reform in Nicaragua

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

“School autonomy” began in Nicaragua in 1993 as a voluntary program, maintained through ministerial directive. In 2002, the newly passed New Law of Education Program extended ‘school autonomy’ to all public schools in the country. Essentially, the New Law introduces a new set of principles and rules for parental participation, local accountability, and local coordination in Nicaraguan schools. However, new rules and principles are nothing more than instructions that can be ignored- in fact, in Nicaragua, they often are. In this study, we problematize the one-to-one relationship between rules and behaviour that has been the cornerstone of contemporary change theorizing in the developing world. In contrast to the ‘change as rule-based’ perspective, we argue that a more effective approach is to study an actor’s motivation to follow the new rules. In this study, we suggest that an actor’s motivation to follow the rules is conditioned by their expectations about how others will behave in relation to those rules (behavioural beliefs). This attention to the relationship between rules, institutions, and behavioural beliefs represents a new way of studying change in the context of underdevelopment. We employ Avner Greif’s Historical Comparative Institutional Analysis (HCIA) to study school change in Nicaragua in order to demonstrate how stakeholders’ normative beliefs and behavioural beliefs condition their motivations towards the change initiative. By examining the evolution of these ‘normative beliefs and expectations’, we show how historical norms encapsulated in the country’s institutions, shape stakeholder responses to new initiatives, such as school autonomy. Our study reveals how change requires all aspects of the educational institution (its formal rules and organizations) to come together to perpetuate the new normative understandings associated with the new rules. However, in Nicaragua, our findings reveal that despite the introduction of new rules and principles for education, the organizations of education in Nicaragua have continued to perpetuate historical, normative understandings that are opposed to the norms of ‘school autonomy’ and the principles of good governance. Thus, the prospects and possibilities of change under the ‘school autonomy’ reform have been limited.

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

Post-Soviet political party development in Russia: Obstacles to democratic consolidation

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

The thesis examines the process of party system formation in the Russian Federation after the collapse of communism. The process of democratization in Russia, which began in 1991, involved a complex restructuring at the institutional, socio-political and even psychological levels. The establishment of political parties and their subsequent development in Russia has been a lengthy and complicated process. This thesis provides a chronological and analytical overview of the main stages of party system development, focusing on such factors and indicators as historical legacy, the State Duma elections, and evolving leadership. Party system development in post-Soviet Russia encountered a number of obstacles, and its future is dependent upon a variety of factors, which are examined in the last sections of the thesis. The conclusion of the thesis evaluates why political parties are weak in contemporary Russia, and attempts to predict the future role of parties in Russian political life.

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