Ibrahim Berrada

PhD Candidate

Department of Human Studies

Laurentian University

PhD Thesis Abstract:

Modern American Populism and its Influence on Canadian Political Society

The concept of populism has re-emerged in recent years as a pejorative and often misrepresented and misinterpreted term lacking explanation and proper analysis. Populism is not a new phenomenon but remains difficult to conceptualize. The last decade saw the rise of many populist movements, campaigns, and actors, shifting the political conversation towards antiestablishmentarianism, capitalizing on voter polarization, voter rage, neoliberal inequality, nationalism, xenophobia and discrimination. Populism, at its core, is a divisive and transgressive political strategy aimed at pitting the immorality and corruption of the elite against the morality and purity of the people (Mudde, 2017). Leaders, like Donald Trump, engage populist rhetoric in their politics because it is successful at mobilizing unorganized angry voters and turning the tide of electoral support. This research analyzes the potential influence of American populism on Canadian political society. This research employs Seymour Martin Lipset’s (1990) Continental Divide theory to explain why American society – guided by the doctrine of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – allows for the absence of socialism leading to populism. Alternatively, Canadian society is driven by the traditional dogma of peace, order and good government. Canada is an elitist society guided by deference to authority, socialist tendencies, and the rejection of populism. Nick Nanos (2018) points out that Canada has only been successful at remaining ahead of the populist curve. Michael Adams (2017) argues that Trumpism can indeed happen in Canada. This dissertation measures the progression of populist rhetoric in Canada from the 2015 federal election to the 2019 federal election as a result of populist rhetoric that emerged during the 2016 American election.

Short Bio:

Ibrahim completed his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Concentration in International Relations at Carleton University. Throughout his career in the public service, Ibrahim worked with different Members of Parliament on various national and international portfolios. Ibrahim’s most recent political role supported the Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada before returning to complete his MA in Canadian-American studies at Brock University and State University of New York at Buffalo. Ibrahim is now pursuing his PhD at Laurentian University, exploring populist influence in a Canadian-American cross-border context. Ibrahim is a TA and Lecturer in Canadian Studies at Brock University and is also an adjunct professor in Sociology at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY.