Party Favours: New Report Examines How Election Candidates Are Chosen

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Happening Now Wednesday, July 17, 2019 View Count = 107

Party Favours: New Report Examines How Election Candidates Are Chosen

With 96 days to go until the federal election, political parties are still hard at work recruiting candidates. Yet very little is known—or shared—about how those candidates end up on the ballot.

That is why today the Samara Centre for Democracy is releasing Party Favours: How federal election candidates are chosen, a report that pries open the "black box" of nomination contests in Canada, and asks whether parties are missing an opportunity to strengthen the democratic process. (Click here to receive our latest election-focused news and updates.)

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Pulling together data from various sources, we uncover how the candidates who ran for Canada's major political parties over the last five federal elections (2004-2015) were selected.

In the report, we find that:

  • Of more than 6,600 candidates, only 17% arrived there through a competitive nomination race
  • Parties directly appointed more than 2,700 election candidates with no nomination contest at all
  • Over 70% of the 3,900 nomination contests held had just a single person running

And that's far from the whole story. Party Favours examines the length of nomination contests, the rules governing contests, the diversity of contestants, and more, revealing the process to be uncompetitive, unpredictable, opaque, and centrally controlled.

To improve the way candidates are chosen, we recommend that parties adopt a number of changes, such as:

  • Setting fixed dates for nomination contests
  • Reporting how many members cast ballots in each contest, and how many votes each contestant received
  • Disclosing how people were prevented from running

Want to find out more? Read the report at samaracanada.com/party-favours. (Disponible en français le 24 juillet.)

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