Recent & Upcoming Talks

Adapting A Cultural Theory of Risk To The Canadian Context
May 30, 2018 12:00 PM
Motivated Reasoning And Risk Management
May 16, 2018 1:30 PM
Economic Anxiety, Visible Minorities and Populism: Public Support for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Apr 5, 2018 4:45 PM
Syracuse
Apr 4, 2017 12:45 PM

Selected Publications

We present the results of a 2014 survey of Canadian parliamentarians, journalists and bloggers in which respondents were asked to rank competing definitions of open government. Overall, respondents preferred to define open government in terms of access to information and sources. However, controlling for age, ideology and language, we also found that respondents in the different positions ranked definitions of open government differently. Journalists are more likely than any other group to define open government in terms of access to information and sources. In contrast, parliamentarians who were members of a governing party were as likely to choose definitions of open government that emphasized public participation as they were to choose definitions that emphasized access to information. Opposition parliamentarians share more similarities with government parliamentarians than with journalists. These results suggest that key actors in the Canadian policy landscape define open government in ways that are consistent with their institutional interests. We suggest that these results reflect ways in which open government operates more like a buzzword, which helps explain the common pattern whereby opposition parties make promises to be more open and, after taking power, operate in less open ways. Moreover, these results raise questions about the extent to which open government can actually operate as an organizing principle.
CJPS, 2018

Background Public opinion surveys usually report majority support for fluoridation in North America. Yet many local plebiscites produce opposite results. One possible reason is the nature of local media coverage. This article reports on a content analysis of news coverage and letters to the editor about a fluoridation plebiscite in Waterloo, Ontario. Qualitative research suggested that the groups opposed to fluoridation were more motivated and better organized than those in support. The net effect was news coverage more neutral toward fluoridation than supportive or critical, predominantly framed in terms of risks rather than benefits. The findings here emphasize the reactive nature of contemporary journalism. In local fluoridation plebiscites, champions are required to produce news coverage that better conveys the benefits to the public.
CJC, 2018

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My colleague George Wootten and I have a new paper in the Canadian Journal of Political Science out in which we survey journalists, parliamentarians and bloggers in Canada in 2014 and asked them to rank different definitions of “open government”. We hypothesized that people would choose different definitions of open government that fit their institutional position. We presented our survey respondents definitions of open government that reflected concepts such as responsiveness, information, accountability and participation.

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Projects

Data, Reproducibility and Open Science

The natural and social sciences are moving more and more to requiring the sharing of code and data.

R

I am an avid user of the statistical software R for all my quantitative research projects.

Political Communication And Public Opinion

One of my major research interests is the field of political communication and public opinion. I have used both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the influence of patterns of communication on political outcomes.

Politics of Risk Perception

The bulk of my research since arriving at Wilfrid Laurier University has been to investigate the politics of risk perception, particularly in regards to environmental issues.

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