Alberta Oil and the Decline of Democracy in Canada by Meenal Shrivastava, Lorna Stefanick

By Meenal Shrivastava, Lorna Stefanick

Sooner than may well 2015, the oil-rich jurisdiction of Alberta had, for over 4 a long time, been a one-party kingdom. in the course of that point, the rule of thumb of the innovative Conservatives primarily went unchallenged, with reviews of presidency coverage falling on deaf ears and Alberta score in the back of different provinces in voter turnout. Given the province’s monetary reliance on oil sales, a symbiotic courting additionally built among govt and the oil undefined. Cross-national reports have detected a correlation among oil-dependent economies and authoritarian rule, a trend relatively obtrusive in Africa and the center East. Alberta Oil and the Decline of Democracy in Canada units out to check the “oil inhibits democracy” speculation within the context of an industrialized kingdom within the international North.

In probing the effect of Alberta’s robust oil foyer at the well-being of democracy within the province, members to the quantity interact with an ongoing dialogue of the erosion of political liberalism within the West. as well as studying strength coverage and problems with govt responsibility in Alberta, they discover the ramifications of oil dependence in components akin to Aboriginal rights, environmental coverage, labour legislations, women’s fairness, city social coverage, and the humanities. If, as they argue, reliance on oil has weakened democratic buildings in Alberta, then what of Canada as entire, the place the temporary priorities of the oil proceed to form federal coverage? In Alberta, the recent Democratic celebration is able to opposite the democratic deficit that's almost immediately fuelling political and fiscal inequality. The findings during this ebook recommend that, to revitalize democracy, provincial and federal leaders alike needs to locate the braveness to decrease the impact of the oil on governance.

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While most of the oil and democracy studies are concerned with the theoretical assumptions of liberal democracy—political legitimacy and broadbased economic development—they generally use the measures and indicators of those who apply the theory. For instance, Polity scores are frequently used in studies of regime change and the effects of regime authority to evaluate a country’s degree of democracy. ”2 The Polity approach has been criticized for relying on a minimalistic definition of democracy and for not offering a theoretical justification for the way the component variables are aggregated into a single regime index (Munck and Verkuilen 2002).

Using the measures of Polity IV, this trend is clearly shown in the oil-exporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa and is regarded as evidence of the negative impact of oil dependence on democratic transition in oil-exporting countries in the Global South. ” For instance, Norway could be seen as the model of a highly functioning democracy despite being a major oil-exporting country. The fifth-largest oil exporter in the world (compared to the ninth position held by Canada), Norway is the fourteenth-largest producer of oil, compared to the sixth position held by Canada (Campbell 2013, 10).

However, Canada is unusual among these countries in that the primary sector, particularly lumber, minerals, agriculture, and energy, constitutes a significant bulk of Canadian exports. Along with Norway and the United States, Canada is one of the few OECD nations that are among the top ten producers and exporters of oil (IEA 2013, 479–83). Therefore, I also consider in this chapter trends in global oil markets as they pertain to Canadian political economy, since staples or natural resources have been central to Canada’s economy since its inception (Innis [1930] 1977).

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