I originally hail from Edmonton, Alberta. I became interested in the role of the news media in the political process after working for a political party at the Legislative Assembly. My dissertation argued that changes in the provincial economy, the political party system, individual leadership style and the political economy of the media drove important changes in the government's communication and marketing bureaucracy. This has had deleterious effects in the capacity for citizens to hold their elected officials to account via their representatives. Parallel changes are evident in other jurisdictions in Canada and at the federal level. Today, I continue to write on the role of the media in the political and policy process in Canada.
I pursue research in 3 major areas. First, I am interested in examining the political roles played by the Canadian news media, be it in the process of public policy formulation, election campaigns or opinion formation. Second, I am interested in the field of risk management, risk perception and environmental politics. Lastly, I maintain an ongoing interest in the nature of social democratic politics and parties in advanced industrialized societies, particularly in Canada and Germany.
For more detailed information about my research, visit my personal website.
I am appointed to the Faculty of Graduate Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. As such, I am fully qualified to supervise master’s theses. While I do have an eclectic set of research interests, my research interests and thus my opportunities for student research align more closely with the Department of Political Science. This is my departmental “home” for these purposes. At the moment, I would be interested in supervising master’s students to pursue any of the following projects:
With a PhD in Political Studies from Queen’s University I consider myself qualified to comment in politics on Canadian politics, with a focus on public opinion, political communication (including journalism) and political parties. In the interests of full transparency, I think it is worthwhile for me to provide a disclosure statement of my past and present partisan affiliation. I first joined the Alberta (and therefore Canada's) NDP in 1994 and remain an active member to this day. I worked for the Alberta New Democratic Party’s legislative caucus from 1999 to 2002. That said, I place a high priority on differentiating between my partisan activity and my scholarship. My preference is for journalists to not quote my partisan affiliation but it is entirely their decision. I will commit to providing commentary that is in accordance with my knowledge of the state of social scientific evidence on the topic at hand and journalists and citizens are free to judge my commentary against that standard.
While it is common to equate partisans as unthinking foot-soldiers, I tend to think of partisans of all stripes as the best of democratic citizens – people who invest the time, energy and resources into the democratic process, gaining crucial skills as citizens educating themselves about current affairs, learning how to forge coalitions, broker and accept compromises and engage in political competition that is transparently regulated by a combination of laws and traditions. I see no tension in being both an expert and a partisan. In that sense, I agree with Harvard political scientist Nancy Rosenblum that “what is needed is not more independence but more and better partisanship.”
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