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Title: The problem of Intra-Party Conflict in the Leadership Succession of John Diefenbaker in the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada - A Case Study.
Author: Perlin, G. C.
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 1977
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The Progressive Conservative party of Canada has been subject to recurring crises of internal conflict focussed on its leadership. To try to explain why the party has had this problem the thesis analyses the conflicts over John Diefenbaker's leadership between 1962 and 1966, the selection of Robert Stanfield as Diefenbaker's successor in 1967, and the conflicts over Stanfield's leadership between 1967 and 1974. These events are examined in a framework which relates the possibilities for achieving accomodation in conflict to the motives of those who participate in it. The thesis proposes that it will be most difficult to achieve accomodation in conflict when participants interact on the basis of their emotional or "affective" responses to one another and that accomodation will be most easily achieved when participants act from ambition for personal power, status, or material rewards -- assuming there is a sufficient; supply of such rewards-to satisfy the demand for them. The thesis finds that there has been a high level of affective interaction in conflicts over the Conservative leadership. This can be ascribed to an emphasis on personalities in the politics of the party and to the persistence of tensions along the social cleavages of language, religion, and region. It also'finds that because the party has won few elections it has not had sufficient resources to satisfy the demands of those of its members who are primarily "patronage-motivated" and the ambition for patronage rewards has been less important than other motives in the behaviour of its members.On the basis of these findings it argues that there is a reciprocal relationship between the party's electoral defeats and its vulnerability to internal conflict which constitutes what is described as a "minority party syndrome". This syndrome has two elements. First, because of its exclusion from office the party's members tend to interact in internal party politics on the basis of motives that make conflict difficult to resolve. Second, because conflicts recur frequently and the party is subject to manifest or latent factionalism it has been unable to achieve optimum organization effectiveness and it has projected an image of internal instability which undermines public confidence in its ability to govern. - Thus electoral defeats contribute to conflict in the party and conflict in the party contributes to electoral defeats. The thesis suggests this explanation for the Conservative party's problems has more general application to the study of parties -- helping to account for the weakness of minority parties and concomitantly, the strength of majority parties in single-party dominant systems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available