Workshops are sessions that are meant to provide an opportunity for participants to engage in fuller examination of a particular theme. All conference registrants are invited to attend workshops in their entirety or to drop in for any part.

Workshop 1 Canadian Politics: The Harper Era and Regional Dynamics in Canada
Workshop 2 CPSA/ISA-Canada section on International Relations: International Relations and Indigenous Politics
Workshop 3 Law and Public Policy: Innovating Labour Markets in Europe: Integrated Policies and Governance
Workshop 4 Local and Urban Politics: What Do We Know about Local Elections?
Workshop 5 Political Behaviour/Sociology: Is Something Wrong with Polling During Elections?
Workshop 6 Political Theory: Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka’s Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights
Workshop 7 Provincial and Territorial Politics in Canada and Beyond: A New Era of Province Building? The Politics of Substate Development in Comparative Perspectives
Workshop 8 Race, Ethnicity, Indigenous Peoples and Politics: Indigenous Politics and Politics of Anti-Racism: Tensions or Alliances?

Workshop 1 – Canadian Politics: The Harper Era and Regional Dynamics in Canada
Organizer: Julie Simmons (University of Guelph)

See sessions A11a,A12a

This two part workshop interrogates the Harper governments’ effects on regional dynamics in Canada. It can be argued that the fault lines underlying a traditional view of regionalism in Canada are less visible today than in the past: the Charter celebrates new forms of identities; cities, rather than rural communities are key sites for immigrant settlement; in a post NAFTA era north-south rather than east west trade is predominant in every province; and the importance of traditional occupations to the economies of the hinterland (for example, agriculture and fishing) has declined. However, regional dynamics or the pushes and pulls from regionally based voices remain an enduring part of politics in Canada. When Stephen Harper was first elected prime minister, there were musings (concerns for some, welcome changes for others) that a politician associated with decentrism, the Reform Party, and Alberta would stray from or correct the perceived historical focus of other Prime Ministers on the economy and politics of so called central Canada. This workshop considers whether this has been the case in practice.

The first part of the workshop will consider how Harper government public policies have diminished, exacerbated or otherwise changed traditional regional tensions in Canada. This focus is distinct from a discussion of whether Harper’s policies have had a centralizing or decentralizing effect on the federation, or whether Harper has been respectful of provincial jurisdiction with his so-called “Open Federalism”.

The second part of the workshop will consider how new or recently (re)emerging regional actors in the form of provincial political parties in power (eg. the Saskatchewan Party; the Parti Quebecois) or regionally based think tanks (eg. the Mowat Centre) have affected or reflect regional dynamics in Canada, and/or created political or policy problems that the Harper government has had to confront.

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Workshop 2 – CPSA/ISA-Canada section on International Relations: International Relations and Indigenous Politics
Organizers: Benjamin Muller (King’s University College, ISA-Canada) / Scott Watson (University of Victoria, CPSA/ISA-Canada)

See sessions C11a,C12a,C14a,C15a

For a field of study that claims as its subject matter the interactions between sovereign entities, the near absence of IR research on the self-determination of Indigenous peoples and nations is striking. Empirically, the politics of indigenous peoples seems fruitful ground for IR scholars. Indigenous peoples often organize across state borders and are increasingly turning to global networks and institutions. Furthermore, a fundamental mechanism of indigenous-settler relations - the treaty - is a key concept in the field of international relations, yet remains understudied. From a theoretical perspective, the neglect of indigenous politics in IR itself is in need of further exploration, as is the role of theories of international relations in the marginalization and colonization of indigenous peoples.

This workshop confronts and engages with these absences in the field of IR, inviting panels focusing on the application of IR theories to the relations between indigenous peoples and settler states, the pursuit of rights for indigenous peoples at the global level, and the critical examination of IR theory in the marginalization of indigenous peoples.

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Workshop 3 – Law and Public Policy: Innovating Labour Markets in Europe: Integrated Policies and Governance
Organizer: Francesca Scala (Concordia University); Giliberto Capano (University of Bologna) and David Natali (University of Bologna)

See sessions D2a,D12c,D14a

Over the last decade much of the academic debate on the sustainability of the European social standards and of economic performances has focused on labour market policies. New ideas and policy paradigms have been advanced to safeguard social and employment rights while improving economic competitiveness through investments on knowledge. And much has been written on the right governance approaches for more effective policymaking.

When the crisis hit Europe, many advancements (e.g. increased employment and reduced unemployment rates) were achieved, while other problems and tensions (e.g. persistent risks of poverty, increased segmentation of the labour market and inequalities) were still to be tackled. Nowadays, while Europe is still struggling to exit the crisis, it is time to relaunch the dialogue between academics to shed light on the major challenges affecting the labour markets in Europe and the major issues to address to innovate both the integration of policy measures and the articulation of complex governance. From an analytical point of view, one of the most promising themes has been that of the need for an comprehensive approach to study the integration of policy measures and governance tools. More effective labour markets are assumed to be the result of a mix of decisions taken in different policy areas, and of complex governance approaches.

The present workshop aims at addressing both policy and governance dimensions of innovative strategies for more efficient and fair labour markets at the time of the crisis. The policies to be studied here can be grouped into three main policy areas: labour policy (embedded in specific macro-economic policy context); welfare policy (social protection (pensions, income maintenance schemes), and social inclusion (e.g. in-work benefits); education and training policy (aimed at improving labour supply and employability, and at strengthening the link between education and the labour market).

The workshop focuses on four key analytical dimensions. The first one is related to the clear definition of labour market problems and inefficiencies (in terms of segmentation, dualisation, growing inequality in the access to education and training, etc.). The second dimension has to do with the comparative analysis of promising policy integration (EU countries will be compared with the Canadian case). The third dimension concerns the articulation of governing modes (creative combination of hard and soft governance, social innovation, etc.). The fourth part focuses on the critical reading of the policy paradigm proposed by the EU (especially after the crisis, for instance through the European Semester, Europe 2020, etc.).

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Workshop 4 – Local and Urban Politics: What Do We Know about Local Elections?

Organizer: Laurence Bhérer (Université de Montréal)

See sessions E1,E2,E4,E5,E6a

We know very little about how local elections really work, compared to the very many studies of elections at higher political levels. The rare research in this field very often consists of case studies (a single election in one locality), and it does not allow generalizations that would lead to a better understanding of the factors influencing local elections. The reason for this lack of interest is doubtless a belief common among political scientists that local politics has no history. In fact, with respect to democracy, this is a paradox, given that most elected officials in every country are local and the total budgets managed by local governments are substantial. This makes developing this area of analysis a matter of some urgency, if we are to gain a better understanding of local democracy. It is reasonable to think that knowledge of the factors that influence local elections would directly enhance our understanding of the drivers of urban public politics, urban social movements, citizen participation at the neighbourhood level, etc. This seminar seeks to identify the issues specific to local elections: what accounts for local voter participation? How are candidates chosen at the local level? How do voters find out about local politics? What is the utility of local political parties? What accounts for the lack of local political competition? What is current knowledge of these different topics and what methodological challenges do these questions raise? Etc.

Fifty years ago, the pioneering work by Robert Dahl and Theodore Lowi demonstrated how studying the local scene could contribute to analyzing major issues in political science, such as pluralism and clientelism. In the wake of recent work in the United States, Canada and Europe, one particularly important question is what the study of the local elections can contribute to political science in general? What are the features specific to local elections that allow issues that are harder to investigate at other political levels to be studied? In short, what are the advantages of studying local elections?

Colin Copus, from De Montfort University (UK), an academic specialist in local politics and local political party, has accepted an invitation to be the keynote speaker of the workshop (see the Professor Copus’ website:

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Workshop 5 – Political Behaviour/Sociology: Is Something Wrong with Polling During Elections?
Organizer: Amanda Bittner (Memorial University)

See sessions F11a,F12a

This workshop assesses the state of polling in both Canada and globally.

In a number of recent Canadian elections, the polls have predicted one result, only for a very different result come election day. That this has happened on numerous occasions begs the question of the efficacy of polls and the impact of polling data on electoral results, and suggests that we need to start thinking and talking about this issue in greater detail.

Is methodology the problem? There have been a number of changes to the technological capacities of polling firms and the types of methodologies used by various companies around the globe. No longer are interviews performed solely face to face in people’s homes, but interviews are now conducted via the telephone – both with live interviewers as well as through automated systems; internet panels have also become standard in the industry; and in a number of countries, experiments have also been performed with different web and sampling methodologies, thus expanding the nature and type of opinion polls conducted and potentially changing poll results.

This workshop brings together practitioners and academics to discuss the state of public opinion polling. What works? What doesn’t? How can we understand recent polling “debacles”? Where do we go from here?

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Workshop 6 – Political Theory: Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka’s Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights
Organizers: Katherine Fierlbeck (Dalhousie University) / Robert Nichols (University of Alberta) / Chloë Taylor (University of Alberta)

See sessions H1c,H2c,H4c,H5c,H7d

In their recent book, Zoopolis (Oxford 2011), vegan chef Sue Donaldson and Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy Will Kymlicka argue that animal advocacy has failed to make real inroads into dismantling the systematic exploitation of nonhuman animals because it has not grounded animal liberation in liberal-democratic principles of justice. Animal advocacy, they suggest, has been deleteriously limited by its reliance on either a welfarist, ecological, or basic rights framework; rejecting the first two approaches to animal ethics as fundamentally flawed, Donaldson and Kymlicka argue that the basic rights framework employed in animal advocacy has typically been limited to universal and negative rather than positive and relational rights. Donaldson and Kymlicka thus propose a new moral framework for animal rights, one that recognizes positive and relational obligations towards nonhuman animals and draws on existing frameworks in political thought, such as, most notably, citizenship. Depending on the nature of their relationships with humans, Donaldson and Kymlicka argue that nonhuman animals should be granted the rights and protections currently granted to humans in similar relations, or should be understood as belonging to existing political categories such as citizens, denizens, and residents.

The workshop is a collaborative event between the Canadian Political Science Association and the Canadian Philosophical Association, and brings together an international group of political scientists and political philosophers to discuss Donaldson’s and Kymlicka’s provocative work.

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Workshop 7 – Provincial and Territorial Politics in Canada and Beyond: A New Era of Province Building? The Politics of Substate Development in Comparative Perspectives
Organizers: Martin Papillon (University of Ottawa) / Jennifer Wallner (University of Ottawa)

See sessions J1a,J2a,J4

The idea of “province building” was popularized in Canadian political science in the 1980s to account for what was, at the time, perceived as the growing autonomy of provincial governments, mostly in economic policy. It broadly refers to the self-reinforcing phenomenon of substates in federations leveraging their fiscal and jurisdictional capacities to foster their own development strategies and, ultimately, to reinforce their internal cohesion as distinctive political communities with their own policy logic. Despite its many critiques, the concept captured an important aspect of Canadian political economy and politics more broadly. It provided an analytical lens to make sense of provincial and territorial autonomy beyond the traditional centralization-decentralization axis commonly used in federalism scholarship.

Fast-forward to contemporary debates and again, analysts suggest that Canada, and other federations, are witnessing a resurgence of substate building. Federal disengagement, both fiscally and policy-wise, potentially opens the door to a new era of provincial activism in various sectors, from fiscal and economic development policies to immigration and environmental policy. Recent economic trends, favoring province-driven natural resource extraction, also result in growing interests in analyses of provincial development policies. To what extent, and how, is the role of provincial and territorial governments changing in various policy sectors? What are some of the key policy areas where province building is taking place? And what are some of the effects of province building on, for example, political identities, policy systems (and policy networks) or on the overall cohesion of the federal citizenship regime? From a theoretical standpoint, what are the forces at play in explaining such developments? Is province-building strictly an elite-driven phenomenon, as suggested by the early literature on the concept, or are there more factors, institutional or economic for example, at play? What is, finally, the role of the federal government in these changes?

The Canadian federation is of course not alone in experiencing a shifting balance between the central government and substate units. From a comparative standpoint, are there common dynamics at play? Is the concept or province, or substate, building capturing a trend observed elsewhere? And is the politics of substate building inherently different in multinational federations like Canada, where minority nations also engage in more explicit nation-building?

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Workshop 8 – Race, Ethnicity, Indigenous Peoples and Politics: Indigenous Politics and Politics of Anti-Racism: Tensions or Alliances?
Organizer: Sedef Arat Koç (Ryerson University)

See sessions L1a,L2a,L4a,L5a,L6a,L7a

The 2005 article, "Decolonizing Antiracism" co-authored by Bonita Lawrence and Enakshi Dua has started a debate on the relationship between antiracism and indigenous politics. Specifically, the authors have questioned whether and the degree to which antiracist theory and politics integrate the experiences, concerns and perspectives of Indigenous peoples. Even though this debate seems to have been specifically important in the Canadian context, it also has relevance and resonance in the context of other settler colonial societies. This workshop aims to continue inquiry and debate on this theme.

Papers will explore three different dimensions of the workshop theme in a Canadian and/or international perspective:

1. Conceptual and theoretical: In terms of the relationship between the state, nation and citizenship, what are the differences and similarities between the experiences of colonization of indigenous peoples and racialization of immigrants from the Third World –in many cases, themselves coming from countries with backgrounds of colonization? What are the relationships between the theory and politics of anti-colonialism, on the one hand, and those of anti-racism on the other?

2. Historical: What is the history of relations between indigenous peoples and various racialized groups in specific localities? What do these histories reveal about the relationship between the nation, people and the state in specific contexts and conjunctures?

3. Contemporary politics and activism: Are there any contemporary alliances between indigenous peoples and specific racialized communities and/or anti-racist activists? What is the nature of these alliances, their principles, ideology and politics? What are the national and international political contexts that enable and encourage these alliances? What are the ways in which these alliances represent attempts to redefine the nation and the state in colonial contexts; and more generally the nature of politics at national and transnational levels?

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