Daniel Westlake

Entered PhD: September 2009

Doctoral Committee: Richard Johnston (Supervisor), Antje Ellermann, Andrew Owen

Research Interests: Multiculturalism, political parties, Canadian politics, and political behaviour

E-Mail: d.westlake@alumni.ubc.ca


Daniel Westlake is an advanced doctoral candidate in in political science specializing in Canadian politics and comparative multiculturalism.  His dissertation examines the role that political parties play in the politics of multiculturalism.  It looks at the influence that ethnic minorities and far-right parties have on mainstream party positions and the impact those positions have on policy adoption.  His work makes use of quantitative data from 21 different countries and includes most of Southern and Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.  Daniel’s dissertation research has also involved qualitative examination of party manifestos in four countries; Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland.


PhD Candidate (ABD)- University of British Columbia, Political Science, 2010-Present

Master of Arts- University of British Columbia, Political Science, 2009-2010

Bachelor of Arts- Carleton University, Political Science, 2005-2009

Dissertation: Multiculturalism and Political Parties: Explaining the Positions that Parties Take and Their Influence over Policy Adoption

Abstract- Political parties influence policy in a wide range of different policy areas, but little has been done to examine their influence over development of multiculturalism.  The existing literature on multiculturalism includes large-n work that links ethnic minorities to policy adoption and detailed small-n accounts of how multiculturalism has developed in countries such as Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands.  There is very little large-n work, however, that traces the development patterns of multiculturalism across developed countries, nor is there much work that looks at the intervening role that mainstream political parties play translating ethnic minority electoral strength and far-right pressure on party systems into changes in policy.  The dissertation does three things.  It traces the development path of multiculturalism across a large number of developed countries, it examines the conditions under which changes in party support for multiculturalism have led to changes in policy adoption, and it looks at the influence the ethnic minorities, electoral systems, and far-right parties have on the positions that mainstream parties take on multiculturalism.  To do this it turns the existing Banting and Kymlicka Multiculturalism Policy Index into a time-series cross-section data set scoring countries for their adoption of multiculturalism from 1960-2011.  It, further uses Manifesto Project data to create scores for party system support for multiculturalism across 21 different countries.

The dissertation makes several important contributions to the existing literature on multiculturalism.  It maps the development of multiculturalism policies, showing that policy retrenchment is rare and that the symbolic recognition of a country as multicultural and the funding of ethnic minority and multicultural organization can increase the likelihood of additional policy adoption.  It shows that party positions influence policy adoption, but only if there is cross-party support for multiculturalism.  Furthermore, the dissertation shows that increases in ethnic minority electoral strength increase party support for multiculturalism, and do so to a much greater degree in majoritarian electoral systems than proportional ones.  Finally it demonstrates that mainstream right parties reduce their support for multiculturalism when they face far-right challenges, but that mainstream left party responses to the far-right are mixed.

Selected Conference Presentations

(2015) Multiculturalism, Political Parties, and the Conflicting Pressures Presented by Ethnic Minorities and Far-Right Parties. Paper presented at the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA), Ottawa, Ontario.

(2014) Do Political Parties Affect the Development of Multiculturalism Policies. Poster presented at the American Political Science Association (APSA), Washington, D.C.

(2014) Political Parties and the Development of Multiculturalism Policy. Paper presented at the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA), St. Catharines, Ontario.

Non-Academic Publications

(September 8, 2015) “Why are Our Elections So Small Minded.” National Post.



POLI 101 The Government Canada (Summer 2014)

In summer of 2014 Daniel taught UBC’s Introductory course in Canadian politics.  This course focused on the institutions that shape Canada’s politics and government, giving students a general understanding of the way that Canadian government works.  It also tied Canadian institutions to broader regional, cultural, and social factors that influence Canadian politics.

Teaching Assistant

Daniel has served as a teaching assistant for a range of courses on Canadian politics, as well as for courses in comparative politics and political theory.  His teaching on Canadian politics include UBC’s Introductory course on Canadian politics, courses on Canadian federalism and Quebec Politics, as well as the Summer Institute for Future Legislators (which trains students and members of the general public in legislative politics).  In the Canadian Federalism courses and Summer Institute for Future Legislators Daniel has had the opportunity to assist in the running and development of simulations that illustrate different aspects of Canadian politics to students.

Teaching Assistantships:

·         Summer Institute for Future Legislators, Political Science, UBC (2014, 2015)

·         POLI 101 The Government of Canada, Political Science, UBC (2011, 2013, 2014)

·         POLI 303 Canadian Federalism, Political Science, UBC, (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)

·         POLI 307 Quebec Government and Politics, Political Science, UBC (2012)

·         POLI 220 Introduction to Comparative Politics, Political Science, UBC (2012)

·         POLI 240 Currents of Political Thought, Political Science, UBC (2010)

Departmental and Community Service

2012-2013:  President,  Political Science Graduate Students Association (UBC)

2011-2012:  Vice-President, Political Science Graduate Students Association (UBC)

2012:  Political Science Graduate Students Association Graduate Student Conference Coordinator (UBC)

2013-2014:  Policy and Procedure Representative, Political Science Graduate Students Association (UBC)

2012-2014:  Canadian Politics Curriculum Representative, Political Science Graduate Students Association (UBC)

2009-2015:  Instructor for Various Training Sessions for the UBC Debate Society

2013/2014:  Chief Judge, University of British Columbia Invitational Debate Tournament

2013:  Volunteer Coordinator, Canadian National Debate Championship (UBC)

2009:  Volunteer Coordinator, Canadian British Parliamentary Style Debater Championship (UBC)

2008:  Volunteer Coordinator, Central Canadian Novice Debating Championship (Carleton)