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      What Type of Representation do Voters Want? in Ottawa

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      February 28, 2019

      Thursday  12:00 PM

      1125 Colonel By Drive
      Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6

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      What Type of Representation do Voters Want?

      André Blais
      Professor, Department of Political Science, &
      Canada Research Chair in Electoral Studies, Université de Montréal

      There are different views of what good representation is. Some believe that MPs should follow their conscience and defend their own opinion on an issue, others want MPs to act as an agent and defend the constituents’ majority view, and still others insist that MPs do exactly what they promised to do during the election campaign. In some instances, MPs can do each of those things simultaneously, but sometimes the three conceptions of representation clash. What should a good representative do if that happens? To determine which of the three conceptions of representation citizens prioritize, Blais, in partnership with Semra Sevi, Jean-François Daoust, and Ruth Dassonneville, conducted a survey experiment with 2,000 Canadians. We asked respondents to indicate how their representative should vote on a proposal to reduce the intake of immigrants by 10% in Canada. We randomized information on the MP’s own position on this issue, the position of the majority of constituents and election promises made by the MP. Our results suggest that citizens give greater weight to following the majority view in the constituency while the MP’s personal opinion is the least important consideration.

      Sponsored by the Bell Chair in Canadian Parliamentary Democracy

      Cost: Free

      Categories: Education | University & Alumni

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