Alcantara wins Petro-Canada Young Innovator Western award to study political myths and assumptions in Canada

April 21, 2016

Political Science professor Christopher AlcantaraChristopher Alcantara is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. Alcantara earned his PhD at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the roots of collective action and intergovernmental cooperation in Canada, especially between Indigenous communities and municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.

Alcantara recently received the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Western award, worth $12,000. This program is intended to help attract and retain bright young minds at Canadian Universities, colleges and major research institutes and to help young researchers launch their scholarly careers and enable them to carry their research forward.  

The funds will be used to continue studies investigating political myths and assumptions in Canada. Working with Jason Roy, at Wilfrid Laurier University, Alcantara has alreaud completed a studies asking: whether attack ads work, if star candidates attract more votes than other candidates, and if First Ministers enjoy an electoral advantage when they have the power to time elections.

The next round will examine: 

  • different parliamentary configurations – majority, minority, and coalition – affect the ability of voters to assign credit and blame for government actions;
  • the impact of different political endorsements on the vote share that candidates receive;
  • the effects of different types of political scandal on Canadian public opinion towards elected politicians; and, 
  • how Canadians view five different methods to pay for investing in infrastructure across Canada. 

Along with this study, Alcantara researches Aboriginal policy and property rights in Canada, and is currently involved in research projects focusing on Inuit self-government including comparing public policy-making in the Inuit regions of Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Alcantara was recently quoted in a Canadian Press article, commenting on a plebiscite on whether municipalities in Nunavut should be able to release land for fee-simple ownership.

His most recent publications include “Negotiating Aboriginal Self-Government Agreements in Canada: An Analysis of the Inuvialuit Experience,” a collaboration with Adrienne Davidson, published in the Canadian Journal of Political Science, - winner of the Canadian Political Science Association's 2016 John McMenemy Prize - and “Rethinking Multilevel Governance as an Instance of Multilevel Politics: A Conceptual Strategy.” a collaboration with Jörg Broschek, and Jen Nelles published in Territory, Politics, Governance.

“I am very excited to have joined the Department of Political Science at Western University in January 2016,” said Alcantara. “One of the main reasons that I came to Western from Wilfrid Laurier University, where I was a tenured Associate Professor, was because of the support offered here to faculty members who are interested in ramping up their research programs.  Western is one of Canada's top research universities and I am looking forward to contributing to that profile.”