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Lost on Division

Party Unity in the Canadian Parliament

Bridging Canadian party politics and legislative studies, Lost on Division is the most authoritative study available on the development of parliamentary institutions in Canada.

Author Information


Jean-François Godbout is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the Université de Montréal.


Robert Vipond, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto and co-editor, Political Development: Comparative Perspectives:

"This is a masterful study of the rise, endurance, and consequences of party unity in Canada’s Parliament that combines prodigious empirical research with subtle historical interpretation. Lost on Division will excite readers interested in Canadian politics to be sure, but anyone interested in comparative political institutions and party systems will find it valuable. All in all, this is a superb book with which to launch the new UTP book series in Political Development: Comparative Perspectives."

Jonathan Malloy, Department of Political Science, Carleton University:

"Lost on Division is an outstanding book that will have a significant empirical and theoretical influence on research in the field. The empirical contribution on parliamentary voting alone is substantial and caps off Jean-François Godbout’s many years of work in this area. His book will be a go-to source for discussions of Canadian party discipline and contributes to the party system literature as well, offering a bold and innovative interpretation of party system change."

David Laycock, Department of Political Science, Simon Fraser University:

"Jean-François Godbout convincingly demonstrates the impact of institutional rules on legislative behaviour and election outcomes. Doing so with this depth of empirical data is itself a major achievement. Showing the related impact of such rules on party system development, however, is an impressive analytical step beyond. Godbout shows clearly why this has implications for how we understand party system development in Canada and why it raises important questions about our understanding of party development in other Westminster democracies."

Christopher Cochrane, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto:

"The influence of parliament is waning, and everybody seems to agree that party discipline is the cause of the problem. Until Godbout, however, nobody had explored, empirically, whether, when, and by how much partisanship has increased in Canadian Parliament; nor, crucially, why it has happened. For those interested in Canadian politics, Lost on Division is the first study of legislative voting from Confederation to present, the first systematic test of the widely accepted argument that partisanship has increased in Canadian parliament, and the first comprehensive quantitative analysis of leading explanations for why partisanship has strengthened over time. Using anecdotes to connect data to real people in actual circumstances, Lost on Division is also an engaging read."

Audience: College/higher education;Professional and scholarly;