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Political Science Canadian

Partisan Odysseys

Canada's Political Parties

by (author) Nelson Wiseman

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2020
Canadian, Elections, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price

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In Partisan Odysseys, Nelson Wiseman sets out to survey the history of Canada’s political parties. Uncovering distinctive motifs and events in Canadian party politics from pre-Confederation to the present, Wiseman shows how parties have adjusted, adapted, and reinvented themselves in response to significant social and economic changes as well as how parties have, in turn, shaped or reinforced these social forces.


The book begins by tracing the rise of four different types of parties in the nineteenth century. By the end of the century, the Conservative and Liberal parties that continue to this day were firmly established. Among the topics covered throughout are nationalism, minority governments, third parties, and the reconfiguration of party positions. Wiseman concludes by examining changes in the way Canada’s ever-evolving parties have operated and the rise of the modern party as a nimble, enterprising institution compared to its historical antecedent.


Substantial yet accessible, Partisan Odysseys will enlighten students, scholars, and general readers alike.

About the author

Nelson Wiseman is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. A columnist for The Hill Times, he is also the author of the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title In Search of Canadian Political Culture.

Nelson Wiseman's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Partisan Odysseys: Canada’s Political Parties, by the well-known and respected political scientist Nelson Wiseman, summarizes the emergence, successes, failures, and fates of almost two dozen political parties from the early nineteenth century to today. Among the book’s many pleasures are numerous conclusions about national governance that are not generally accepted or well known. Those who know or know of Nelson Wiseman will not be disappointed by this work."

<em>Literary Review of Canada</em>

"Partisan Odysseys is well-written, engaging, and an important body of work that offers a condensed look at the history of Canada’s political parties. Partisan Odysseys ‘falls between the cracks of history and political science. It reflects a wide reading of materials and may be read as a history of the parties through the lens of Canadian history or as a history of Canada through the lens of the history of the parties.’"



The Hill Times

Partisan Odysseys is a timely celebration of Canadian-style democracy in an era of minority parliaments and the guillotine of surprise elections. It’s a first-rate observance of a hundred years of hell-raising. It makes you proud to be Canadian.”

<em>Blacklock’s Reporter</em>

Other titles by Nelson Wiseman