Party Discipline in Canada

Table of contents

1 Party Discipline in Canada

2 Representation

3 Partisan Teams

4 The Communications Arena

5 Message Discipline

6 Government Centralization

7 Parliamentary Caucuses

8 Caucus Research Bureaus

9 Legislative Assemblies

10 Managing Trouble

11 The SNC-Lavalin Affair

12 Advice for a New Parliamentarian

Appendix 1: Interview Participants

Appendix 2: Interview Sampling and Recruitment

Notes; References; Index


Whipped examines the hidden ways that political parties exert control over elected members of Canadian legislatures. Drawing on extensive interviews with politicians and staffers across the country, award-winning author Alex Marland explains why Members of Parliament and provincial legislators toe the party line, and shows how party discipline has expanded into message discipline. Filled with political tips, Whipped is a must-read for anyone interested, or involved, in the real world of Canadian politics.


  • Short-listed, Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, The Writers Trust 2021


It is a fresh addition to the study of Canadian politics, written in a clear and accessible tone yet rife with diligent detail and sharp analysis.

- Elizabeth Haig

Marland [provides] an important fresh look at the issues around party whip systems and explores the mechanisms of party discipline and the extent discipline can be enforced in the digital age of direct communication between represented and representative.

- Darren G. Lilleker

If you’re interested in how modern legislatures in Canada really work, Whipped: Party Discipline in Canada by Alex Marland is a treat — a detailed, well-researched and well-written look behind one of the curtains.

- Brian Topp, partner, GT&Company Executive Advisors

Whipped renews our understanding of Canadian parliamentary politics and party discipline in the modern setting, where we see intensifying message discipline across a range of new platforms and technologies. Writing in accessible plain language, Marland pushes his argument forward with a mix of convincing new primary research.


- J.P. Lewis