Labour Studies Index

Solidarity Revisited: Organized Labour and the New Democratic Party

Document type Article
Author Pilon, Dennis
Author Savage, Larry
Author Ross, Stephanie
Journal Canadian Political Science Review
Volume 5
Date 2011
Pages 20-37


This article seeks to engage Jansen and Young’s recent research on the impact of changing federal campaign finance laws on the relationship between organized labour and the New Democratic Party. Jansen and Young use models from mainstream comparative politics to argue that unions and the NDP retain links due to a “shared ideological commitment” to social democracy, rather than an expectation of mutual rewards and despite changes in the global economy. We critically assess the evidence, method of comparison, and theoretical assumptions informing their claims and find many aspects unconvincing. Instead, we propose that better explanations of this enduring yet strained relationship can be formulated by drawing insights from Canadian political economy, labour history and working class politics, and comparative social democracy.