The Research Team
The Canadian Social Democracy Study team currently has five research
assistants. Charles Plante is focusing on the
analysis of public opinion polls pertaining to the federal NDP while
Alexander Steffen is examining the NDP's performance in Question Period in the House
of Commons. David DesBalliets, Kent Peterson, and David Blocker are interviewing sitting NDP MPs.
Plante is a PhD student studying in Sociology at McGill University.
His research uses advanced quantitative methods and survey data to explore
public policy and income dynamics throughout the developed and developing
world. He is especially interested in the role that risk and risk perceptions
play in determining people's life choices as well as the possible negative
effects that risk perceptions have on aggregate economic outcomes and
the role of the welfare state in managing them. His most recent publications
compare and contrast family poverty outcomes among Canada's largest
provinces. He currently resides with his partner Linh Le in Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan, where he is active in local social democratic movements
and politics. As part of the Canadian Social Democracy Study team, Charles
is performing analyses of public opinion polls pertaining to the federal
Alexander Steffen has a Masters in Political Studies
from Queen's University and an Undergraduate Honours degree from the
University of Saskatchewan. His research focused on Canadian and Comparative
Politics, specifically researching the concept of Deliberative Democracy
and its potential impact on the Canadian political system. Alex has
experience with information gathering and literature reviews, previously
serving in that capacity at the University of Manitoba. As part of the
Canadian Social Democracy Study team, Alex is focusing on NDP debates
between 2004 and 2013 and conducting research on legislative experiences
of elected officials around the world.
Peterson is a Saskatchewan-based student movement and labour
movement activist. Kent has served as the president of the University
of Regina Students’ Union, he also served two terms on the national
executive of the Canadian Federation of Students. In addition to his
activism and organizing within the student movement, he works in the
Labour Movement. His involvement includes serving as a Vice-President
of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. Currently, he works for the
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, and previously worked for Saskatchewan's
industrial construction trade unions. His political involvement includes
serving as a Vice-President of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party,
working as an NDP Business Manager and Campaign Manager during the 2008
federal election, and volunteering on several provincial and federal
NDP election campaigns. Kent has a Bachelor of Business Administration
and a Master of Public Administration, both from the University of Regina.
He will be doing interviews of NDP MPs for the Canadian Social Democracy
David DesBaillets is currently completing a Doctorate
of Law at the Université du Québec á Montreal.
His research interests include human rights, social justice, constitutional
law, and housing rights. He holds a L.L.M. from University of Ottawa,
a L.L.B from Cardiff University, and a B.A. from Concordia University.
In addition to having worked for Health Canada and the International
Fund for Animal Welfare, he has extensive experience in the NDP. He
was a legislative assistant for NDP MP Jim Maloway and was employed
as an intern in Thomas Mulcair’s office. He has also been a member
of the Ottawa-Vanier and Outremont federal NDP riding executives and
has volunteered for several NDP campaigns in the Montreal area. In his
work for the Canadian Social Democracy Study, David will responsible
for conducting interviews with federal NDP’s Quebec caucus.
He is also collaborating with Dr. McGrane on a journal article exploring the experiences of NDP Members of Parliament within the Canadian House of Commons.
David Blocker is a PhD student studying in History
at Western University. He is currently researching the Waffle movement,
the NDP and Canada’s New Left from 1965-1975. Utilizing a combination
of traditional archival sources and oral history interviews, this project
examines the links between New Left social movements of the Sixties
and the NDP through the lens of the Waffle, a nationalist and socialist
faction active in the party in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Other
research interests include protest movements and political parties in
Canada, women’s and gender history and labour history. Active
in the NDP for fifteen years, he has helped on multiple campaigns in
London and Toronto, fundraised for the provincial party, and attended
three federal and two provincial conventions. He is currently serving
as President of PSAC Local 610, the Teaching Assistant union at Western.
David will be administering interviews of NDP MPs for the Canadian Social