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Do National Elections Affect Perceptions of MP Responsiveness? A Note on the Canadian Case

Harold D. Clarke and Allan Kornberg
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Vol. 17, No. 2 (May, 1992), pp. 183-204
Published by: Washington University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/440057
Page Count: 22
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Do National Elections Affect Perceptions of MP Responsiveness? A Note on the Canadian Case
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Abstract

This paper uses 1979-90 national cross-sectional and panel data to investigate how the public perceives Canadian MPs' representational activities and how these perceptions are influenced by the occurrence and outcomes of national elections. Responsiveness perceptions are structured in terms of two closely related representation and service factors. Although the occurrence of elections and identification with the winning national party positively influence these perceptions, the effects are modest and, in the aggregate, large majorities of Canadians express reservations about the responsiveness of MPs. The paper concludes by arguing that structural features of the Canadian political system and the brevity of parliamentary careers make it difficult for MPs to develop images as responsive public servants while leaving them exposed to the free-floating discontent that characterizes Canadians' feelings about politics and politicians.

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