Divided Loyalties: The Liberal Party of Canada, 1984-2008

Divided Loyalties: The Liberal Party of Canada, 1984-2008

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By Brooke Jeffrey
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2010
World Rights
672 Pages
ISBN 9781442610651
Published Dec 2010
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ISBN 9780802038487
Published Dec 2010
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The Liberal Party has governed Canada for much of the country's history. Yet over the past two decades, the 'natural governing party' has seen a decrease in traditional support, finding itself in opposition for nearly half of that time. In Divided Loyalties, Brooke Jeffrey draws on her own experience as a party insider and on interviews with more than sixty senior Liberals to follow the trajectory of the party from 1984 to the leadership of Stéphane Dion in 2008.

Riven by internal strife, leadership disputes, and financial woes, the Liberal Party today faces unprecedented challenges that threaten its very future. Conventional wisdom attributes the origins of the disarray to personal conflict between Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. However, Jeffrey argues that this divisiveness is actually the continuation of a dispute over Canadian federalism and national unity which began decades earlier between John Turner and Pierre Trudeau. This dispute, as evidenced by recent leadership crises, remains unresolved to this day. An insightful examination of the federal Liberal Party, Divided Loyalties sheds much-needed light on an increasingly fissured party.

Brooke Jeffrey is an associate professor and Director of the Masters of Public Policy and Public Administration Program in the Department of Political Science at Concordia University. She has been actively involved in Liberal politics since 1984, including roles as Director of the Liberal Caucus Research Bureau, Secretary of the party's Platform Committee, and Secretary General of the leadership forums.



  1. Into the Wilderness
  2. Life in the Opposition, 1984-1987
  3. Reconstructing the Party
  4. The Meech Morass, 1987-1988
  5. The Fight of His Life: The 1988 Election
  6. Transition: Chrétien Takes the Helm, 1989-1992
  7. Return the Power: The 1993 Election
  8. Return to Governing: A Tale of Two Crises
  9. Return to Liberalism: The Clarity Act and the Deficit Dividend
  10. Implosion: The Third Chrétien Mandate
  11. The Long Leadership Race, 2002-2003
  12. From Glory to Grief: The First Martin Mandate
  13. Fall from Grace: From Majority to Minority
  14. Freefall: The Martin Minority
  15. Back to the Wilderness

List of Interviews

'Divided Loyalties stands alone in the literature on Canadian political parties and makes an extraordinary contribution to how we understand this country's contemporary politics. Brooke Jeffrey advances crucial arguments on the Liberal Party's rapid decline that all future evaluations will need to take into account. She is uniquely positioned to communicate the complexity of the relationships between leaders, caucus, constituency associations, voters, and election advisers, and her extensive interviews with key Liberal politicians and advisers offer remarkably candid assessments of the party and its policies.'

David E. Smith, Professor Emeritus, University of Saskatchewan, and Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina

'Divided Loyalties brings together for the first time the complete story of the Liberal Party during its most tempestuous years. Brooke Jeffrey's study of Canada's "natural governing party" is balanced, authoritative, and very relevant to current events.'

Hugh Thorburn, Professor Emeritus, Queen's University

'Extremely well documented and well written, Divided Loyalties is the definitive record of the Liberal Party through the Turner, Chrétien, and Martin years. Brooke Jeffrey's interviews with Members of Parliament, high-ranking public servants, and senior Liberals provide an authentic account of the party's travails and conflicts, making Divided Loyalties a truly valuable contribution to Canada's political history.'

Peter Russell, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

‘Divided Loyalties does an effective job of putting a quarter-century of Liberal history into a coherent whole, while adding some illuminating detail along the way.’

Lawrence Martin, <em>The Globe and Mail</em> January 21, 2011

‘Jeffrey has written a solid account of the liberal party of Canada. Smoothly narrated, rich with detail, Divided Loyalties is a worthy addition to the shelf of Canadian politics. Present day academics and future historians will be grateful for the wealth of material that Jeffrey has woven together.’

Ron Graham, Literary Review of Canada, vol19:03: April 2011

‘Brooke Jeffrey brings a unique perspective to what happened to the liberal government party at the end of twentieth century… Divided Loyalties tells a thoroughly readable story while simultaneously offering a new and thought-provoking analysis.’

Penny Bryden, Canadian Historical Review; vol 93:03:2012