Political Alignment in a Polarized City: Electoral Cleavages in Kitchener Ontario
Canadian Journal of Political Science , Volume 6 - Issue 2 p. 230- 242
Urban unrest is an increasingly significant aspect of everyday life and is therefore a developing concern to policy-makers and policy-scientists alike. Historically, Canadian cities have been the site of tense and sometimes violent industrial disputes. They currently experience tamer divisions over issues like urban renewal and the location of obnoxious public and private installations. Kitchener's impassioned conflict over development of its downtown core conforms to the present Canadian pattern. Homeowners’ groups, ratepayers' associations, citizens' groups, and individuals at large were mobilized as a direct or indirect result of the central debate. The conflict touched on many contentious issues, ranging from the organization of community power to the neutrality of the press and the propriety of urban renewal. The redevelopment scheme achieved formal public acceptance at the time of the municipal election of December 1971, when public protagonists were elected or defeated and when the measure was approved by referendum. The use of common polling divisions for the municipal election and the referendum assisted the ecological analysis of the similarity of electoral cleavage on the two ballots. Kitchener's polling structures had been largely the same for the previous provincial election (October 1971) as well as for the preceding municipal elections. This continuity of polling structures facilitated the testing of hypotheses about the historical development of the electoral cleavages and their isomorphism between municipal and provincial levels.