Winner: 2001 Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award This is a book about forces challenging the continued integrity of Canada, one of the world's oldest and most admired democracies. It focuses on six critical events, beginning with the 1988 federal election and the fierce debate over the risks of free trade with the United States for Canada's ecomy and cherished social programs. It ends with the 1998 re-election of the Parti Qu b cois and the possibility of a third sovereignty referendum. Collectively, these events have pushed Canada to the edge of disintegration. The book's analyses and interpretations of these events are based on a unique collection of survey data gathered over the past two decades. Conversations with thousands of Canadians map the dynamics of public beliefs, attitudes and behavior in an era of ecomic dislocation and political crisis. Struggling to adapt its political institutions and processes to regional and eth-linguistic cleavages invigorated by forces of ecomic restructuring and globalization, Canada exemplifies many of the forces from above and below that have beset democracies, new and old alike, in recent years. By explaining how these forces have brought a charter member of that very special political club to the brink of fragmentation, this book will be of interest to all those concerned with the future of democracy in polycommunal societies.
Harold D. Clarke is the Ashbel Smith Professor of Political Science, University of Texas at Dallas, and Adjunct Professor of Government at the University of Essex. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including A Polity on the Edge: Canada and the Politics of Fragmentation with Alan Kornberg and Peter Wearing (University of Toronto Press, 2000) and Political Choice in Britain with David Sanders, Marianne C. Stewart, and Paul Whiteley (Oxford University Press, 2004). Allan Kornberg is the Norb F. Schaefer Professor of Political Science at Duke University. He is the co-author, with Harold Clarke, of Citizens and Community: Political Support in a Representative Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 1992) and has written widely in books and journals on political parties, legislatures, and comparative political behavior. Peter Wearing is former Senior Project Director, Canadian Facts.