This article examines candidate emails from the 2016-17 Conservative Party of Canada leadership race to explore how candidates communicated with party supporters on issues of moral traditionalism (for example, abortion and sexuality diversity) and minority religious accommodation. We find that the level of public support for a given policy position shaped how overtly candidates signalled their views, with those supporting moral traditionalism or restrictions on religious minorities tending to express their views covertly and vice versa. Message overtness also changed following the deadline for new members to join the party before the vote. This article marks the first systematic study of how party leadership candidates attempt to solicit support from particular party factions and how candidates' appeals evolve throughout a campaign. The results also show that the high-profile debate around minority religious accommodation during the leadership race did not displace contestation between candidates over issues such as sexual or reproductive rights.

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Canadian Journal of Political Science

Thomas, P.E.J. (Paul E. J.), & Sabin, J. (2019). Candidate Messaging on Religious Issues in the 2016-17 Conservative Party of Canada Leadership Race. Canadian Journal of Political Science. doi:10.1017/S0008423919000246