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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
July 27, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Dr. Christopher (On Sabbatical until Dec 31/15 and will not return) Alcantara

Associate Professor

Contact Information
Phone: 519-884-1970 ext.3410
Fax: 519-746-3655
Office Location: DAWB 4-110
Office Hours: by appointment only
Personal Website:
Languages Spoken


Academic Background

PhD (University of Toronto, 2008); MA (University of Calgary, 2002); BA (McMaster University, 2001)


Dr. Alcantara joined the department in 2008 and will be resigning effective 31 December 2015.  His main research interests are in the fields of Indigenous-settler relations and politics, territorial governance in the Canadian north, federalism and multilevel governance, public policy and administration, and more recently (and much to his surprise!), voting behaviour.

He has written two books, Negotiating the Deal: Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements in Canada (UTP: 2013) and Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights (MQUP: 2010), the latter of which was coauthored with Tom Flanagan and Andre Le Dressay (the french translation is here). He has published papers in Canadian Journal of Political Science, Canadian Public Administration, Canadian Public Policy, Electoral Studies, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties, Public Choice, Publius: Journal of Federalism, Regional and Federal Studies, and Urban Affairs Review, among others.

His research was a finalist for the Donald Smiley Prize in 2014, the Donner Prize in 2011 and the McMenemy Prize in 2013 and has won the 2014 ICCS Pierre Savard Award, the 2014 Canadian Studies Network-Réseau d'études canadiennes Prize for the best book in Canadian Studies, the J.E. Hodgetts Award for best article in the journal, Canadian Public Administration, and the David Watson Memorial Award for "the paper published in the Queen's Law Journal judged to make the most significant contribution to legal scholarship.”

His google scholar page is here.

MA Supervision

I am willing to supervise graduate students that are interested in writing a Thesis or MRP on any topic related to Canadian Politics, Canadian Public Policy, and Indigenous-settler relations in Canada. In particular, I would welcome students interested in pursuing research on Inuit self-government in the Canadian north and First Nation-Municipal Intergovernmental Relations in Canada.

For students interested in pursuing graduate work in political science, please read the "grad school advice" file in the "documents" section of this webpage. Also download the following file (PDF), which outlines the basic structure of MRPs written under my supervision. You can also download my MRP proposal template here (MS-Word File).

Finally, I encourage prospective and current M.A. students to approach me right away about your MRP topic and the possibility of me serving as your supervisor, even if you don't have a topic chosen yet.  I always have a number of research projects "in the bank" that would make for excellent MRPs so I encourage you to approach me as soon as possible if you are interested in working with me.

In the News
  • Some thoughts on nation-building, certainty, and saving the Aboriginal-Crown marriage in Canada, published in the Winnipeg Free Press.  
  • An op ed in the Ottawa Citizen mentions a recent paper (gated) by Jason Roy and I on the impact of local candidates on vote choice in Canada.  Check out the op ed here.  That same study is also mentioned here in a Yahoo news article.  
  • A number of book reviews for my Negotiating the Deal book have recently been published in academic journals.  Check out John Langford's review in Canadian Public Administration here (gated) and Alastair Campbell's review in American Indian Culture and Research Journal here (ungated and scroll down to p. 42-45 of the PDF or pp.192-195 if you are going by the actual pagination of the journal).
  • Why can't the federal government provide "no strings attached" funding to Aboriginal communities in Canada? Here's my answer in The Record. 
  • My latest book, Negotiating the Deal: Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements in Canada was shorlisted for the 2014 Donald Smiley Prize
  • Should Canadians be worried about fixed election dates and the election timing power of First Ministers? Here's my answer, published in the Ottawa Citizen.
  • How might First Nation communities address service provision issues? Partnering with municipalities may be one solution.  Here's my op ed in the Record on the issue.
  • Do star candidates help political parties win votes? Here's my op ed in the Toronto Star on this subject. 
  • Can Indigenous groups use digital currency to generate wealth and exercise their sovereignty? I think so! Here's my op ed on this issue published in the Record and here are some comments from me on the MazaCoin.
  • Here's my take on municipal elections and voter turnout in Kitchener-Waterloo on CBC-Radio. 
  • Here's a news report from two years ago that tries to use a paper of mine co-authored with Jason Roy to explain Dalton McGuinty's use of the election timing power.   And here's our original paper (gated unfortunately).
  • More on the flipped classroom! Here's my guest post on the University of Toronto Press blog.
  • What does the Nisga'a initiative mean for other Aboriginal groups? Here's my op ed on the piece.
  • What does the Nisga'a initiative re: fee simple ownership mean for Canada? Here's a national post article that surveys a variety of views, including mine.
  • You mean the Indian Act applies to reserve lands? Here's a newspaper report that uses some of my research to explain a dispute at Beecher Bay.
  • Some of my efforts to flip my classroom were featured in this year's Globe and Mail magazine on Canadian Universities.
  • I recently gave a talk at McGill University's Indigenous Awareness Week. A summary of my talk, entitled "Restructuring the Indigenous-Crown Relationship in Canada: The Promise of Indigenous Multilevel Governance," can be found here and here.
  • Here's my overview of the Indigenous-Canada relationship, delivered at the annual Couchiching Institute Conference, on a panel with Metis lawyer Marilyn Poitras and Idle No More co-founder Sheelah McLean.
  • Journalist Samantha Power has written a piece about my UTP book for Vue Weekly.  You can find it here.
  • "Don't exclude market-based solutions in addressing Aboriginal poverty." Here's my op ed on the subject in the Kitchener-Record.
  • I am now a part of the virtual researcher on call program
  • What are my thoughts on modern treaties, Idle No More, and Indigenous-settler politics in Canada? You can find my interview with the editorial board of the magazine, Northern Public Affairs, here (ungated). 
  • What kind of relationship has the city of Edmonton created with its Indigenous residents and neighbours? What does this new relationship mean for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in and around Edmonton? Here I participate in a panel discussion on the topic on CTV Edmonton's "Alberta Prime Time" show.
  • My paper, co-authored with Gary Wilson, has been selected as a finalist for the 2013 McMemeny Prize for the best paper published in English or French in volume 45 of the Canadian Journal of Political Science.  According to the jury report: "Wilson and Alcantara boldly depart from existing assumptions about the nature of the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian state, and compel us to rethink our understanding of the challenges faced by contemporary Aboriginal governance." The shortlisted article is: "Mixing Politics and Business in the Canadian Arctic: Inuit Corporate Governance in Nunavik and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region." Canadian Journal of Political Science Vol. 45 No. 4, December. A summary of the article can be found here (PDF). 
  • The first review of my book, Negotiating the Deal: Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements in Canada, can be found (gated) here (Blacklock's Reporter).
  • What does territorial devolution mean for Canada? Here's my analysis in Nunatsiaq News. 
  • Why is the treaty process so slow? Here's my analysis in the Toronto Star. 
  • How to reform the Indian Act? I participate here in a panel discussion on the topic on TVO's the Agenda with Steven Paikin. Watch the video here or listen to the podcast here.
  • Should First Nations support the First Nations Property Ownership Act? I debate the subject with Grand Chief Joe Hall on CBC Radio's Day 6 with Brent Bambury.
  • The Canadian federal government should consider revisiting and expanding the Kelowna Accord. Click here for my op ed in the Toronto Star on the subject..
  • Here's my take on the federal government's attempt to modify accountability and transparency regimes on Canadian Indian reserves (Op ed in the Toronto Star).
  • Does Premier McGuinty have the right to legislate a collective agreement with teachers in Ontario? Here's my point of view, delivered on CTV's Province Wide. 
  • Dr. Alcantara's co-authored article, "Strengthening the Ties that Bind? An Analysis of Aboriginal-Municipal Intergovernmental Agreements in British Columbia." (With Jen Nelles). Canadian Public Administration Vol. 54 No. 3, September pp. 315-334, is the winner of the J.E. Hodgetts Award for best article published in Canadian Public Administration. The press release is here and the article (ungated) is here.
  • Top 5 myths about the federal government's private property rights on Canadian Indian reserves legislation, here in the Toronto Star.
  • Here's my testimony on how to improve Aboriginal economic development on reserves in Canada, delivered to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. You can listen to an mp3 of my testimony here.
  • Could property ownership improve living conditions on Canadian Indian reserves? Here's my op ed on the subject in the Toronto Star.
  • Are remote Canadian Indian reserves sustainable? Here are my views in a panel discussion on TVO's The Agenda with Steve Paikin.
  • Here I am on CBC Quebec AM discussing the housing crisis on remote First Nations across Canada, including the Ontario Cree community of Attawapiskat. And here's my op ed on the subject, published in the Toronto Star.
  • Renewing the Aboriginal-settler relationship, from the bottom up.  Read about it here in my op ed in the Toronto Star.
  • Why were the NDP successful in Quebec this last federal election?  Here's my op ed on the subject, published in the Toronto Star and here in the Kitchener Record.
  • Dr. Alcantara's co-authored book, Beyond The Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2010) has been shortlisted for the 2010-2011 Donner Book Prize, awarded annually to the best book published on a topic of Canadian Public Policy. The news release is here.
  • Dr. Alcantara argues that federal, provincial, and territorial policymakers should pay more attention to the governance innovations being pursued by Indigenous communities across Canada, here, in the Kitchener Record.
  • Dr. Alcantara discusses the reasons why Indigenous groups choose to engage in blockades and protests, here in the Toronto Star, and here in the Kitchener Record. These op eds are based on a recently published article of his in the Canadian Journal of Native Studies;
  • The findings of a recent paper of mine, co-authored with former WLU undergraduate student Greg Whitfield, are mentioned here, in the Financial Post;
  • Dr. Alcantara comments on how to reform the Indian Act, here, in the Toronto Star;
  • Dr. Alcantara's research project on First Nation-municipal cooperation with Jen Nelles is featured on the Congress 2010 website here;
  • Dr. Alcantara is interviewed on the radio show, Bamoseda, here (the interview starts at the 18:23 mark and ends at the 26:00 mark; there is also a shorter segment earlier on in the show).