Party and free votes in Canada: Abortion in the House of Commons

L. Marvin Overby, Raymond Tatalovich, Donley T. Studlar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This study extends the analysis of parliamentary free voting by examining a non-British example: Canadian MPs' voting behavior on Bill C-43, which attempted to establish a federal abortion law. As in most previous studies, we find that partisanship was by far the best predictor of voting behavior. Unlike previous research, however, we analyze free votes at every stage of the legislative process and find different voting dynamics at different stages. In general, Canadian MPs felt at greater liberty to vote as their consciences dictated when their votes mattered least. On the key roll calls leading to final disposition, however, when voting was most visible and outcomes most important, Canadian MPs re-coalesced around their parties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-392
Number of pages12
JournalParty Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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