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Workshops & seminars, Conferences & lectures

Partisanship, Independence and Progress: The politics we want for the government we need

An Evening with...Honourable James Cowan,
Former Senate Liberal Leader
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.

Honourable James Cowan
Former Senate Liberal Leader


Free (participants must register to attend)


WSSR Coordinator
514-848-2424 x5473


Henry F. Hall Building
1455 De Maisonneuve W.



Recent elections in western democracies increasingly seem to point to a turn toward the election of celebrity to high positions in politics, rather than traditional support for experienced career politicians. One possible explanation for this trend may be the growing tendency to blame politicians and political parties for the ills of societies. But are traditional political parties, party membership and partisanship really to problem, or is it something else?

In this talk, Honourable James Cowan, former Nova Scotia Senator and Senate Liberal Leader will discuss the importance of parties, why we have them, their historical roots in Britain, the US and Canada, and some of the major problems that can emerge from strict partisanship. On the other hand, parties provide an avenue through which like-minded individuals may work together toward a common goal. If more politicians worked independently, would power become more centralized within government?

As the writ for federal Election 2019 is about to drop and we head into another election, now is the ideal time to discuss the pros and cons of partisanship and independence. What would politics look like without partisanship?  Is it possible to have progress without parties? Can and should we get rid of parties alltogether? Could independence work in the House of Commons? What are some of the lessons that we have learned in the Senate?

Listen to the presentation here:

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