Challenges and Perils

Social Democracy in Neoliberal Times

Edited by William K. Carroll and R.S. Ratner  

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This book explores the problems and prospects for social democratic governance in the contemporary Canadian context. It provides an indepth case study of social democratic governance at the provincial level in Canada during the 1990s and the early part of the 21st century.

The authors deal with the constraints that neoliberal globalization has imposed upon social democratic governance in Canada and elsewhere. Case studies of regimes in five Canadian provinces bring out nuances and examine differences in the social democratic responses to these constraints. Included is an analysis of the competitive nationalism of the Parti Quebecois, the NDP and the Social Contract in Ontario, the pragmatic idealism of the NDP in Manitoba, its embrace of Third Way neoliberalism in Saskatchewan and the ultimately unsuccessful attempt to hold against a coalition of labour and new social movements in British Columbia.

The book has an empirical dimension and a strategic thrust, as the authors deal with the searching question of how processes of social democratization can be maintained where the room for manoeuvre seems very limited.

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  • Introduction
  • Social Democracy in Neoliberal Times (William K. Carrol)
  • “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else”: Ideological and Policy Failure in the Ontario NDP (Stephen McBride)
  • The Dynamics of the Parti Québecois in Power: Social Democracy and Competitive Nationalism (Peter Graefe)
  • Challenges and Opportunities in Manitoba: The Social Democratic “Promise” and Women’s Equality (Joan Grace)
  • The CCF-NDP in Saskatchewan: From Populist Social Democracy to Neoliberalism (John Warnock)
  • The NDP regime in British Columbia, 1991-2001: A Post Mortem (William K. Carroll and R.S. Ratner)
  • The NDP and the Making of a Citizens Party (Duncan Cameron)
  • Canadian Social Democracy at the Crossroads (R.S. Ratner)


  • William K. Carroll

    University of Victoria

    William K. Carroll is Professor of Sociology at the University of Victoria, where he participates in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Cultural, Social and Political Thought. He is also a research associate at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and an associate editor of Socialist Studies. His current research includes a study of networks of corporate power, globally and in “Canada”, a study of anti-corporate globalization protests at the Summit of the Americas (Quebec, 2001) and a theoretical text on social movements. Dr. Carroll participates in the interdisciplinary graduate program in Cultural, Social and Political Thought and also has an active interest in emancipatory methods of social inquiry.

  • R.S. Ratner

    University of British Columbia

    R.S. Ratner is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of British Columbia. He has published widely in the fields of critical criminology and social movements, and is currently engaged in research on genocide reparations, mediation and restorative justice.

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