Our COMP-CAN Colloquium hosted Dr. Alex Rivard for a talk titled, “We are Family: Political Dynasties in Canada,” on April 25. You can now watch a recording of his presentation below.
The literature on family dynasties in Canada is relatively scant. Using a unique dataset of legislators’ electoral and biographic data in the Canadian federal parliament and the provinces of Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, this paper analyzes the extent to which family dynasties affect the career development of legislators since the late 1700s. We find that political dynasties, both provincially and federally, are present in Canada and while the presence of these dynasties have declined in post-Confederation Canada, we find that being a member of a political dynasty still offers legislators a political advantage. We also find that a longer tenure in office increases the likelihood of having a descendent elected to office, that dynastic linkages offer an electoral benefit, and that being part of a dynasty increases one’s likelihood of being appointed to cabinet and to the Senate. Our paper indicates that the presence of family dynasties are more significant than once thought.