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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

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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.
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