Monthly Archives: July 2011

Who benefits from non-partisanship in local government?

Most news stories that mention municipal partisanship proceed from the assumption that partisanship in local government is an unalloyed evil. As I pointed out in my last blog entry, it is elites, not ordinary voters who benefit from non-partisanship. If the NDP, the Conservatives and the Liberals participate in municipal politics, we should be thanking them for it, not stigmatizing them.

Parties help us to nail down what prospective councillors actually stand for. The most important consequence of municipal non-partisanship is to make it easier for our representatives to conceal what they actually advocate.

All parties participate in local government, not just the NDP

Yesterday the Winnipeg Free Press published a well-researched piece by Bartley Kives that provided a clear demonstration of something I tell my students every year: Most Winnipeg city councillors – and, for that matter, most Canadian city councillors – claim to be free of party ties. Though they feel obligated to say this, everyone knows it’s not really true.

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