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The Pursuit of Electoral Visibility: The Political Communication Strategies of Canadian Municipal Candidates Open Access


Other title
Political advertising
Municipal politics
Personal contact
Canadian politics
Online campaigning
Social media
Political communication
News media
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Wagner, Angelia C
Supervisor and department
Trimble, Linda (Political science)
Examining committee member and department
Everitt, Joanna (History and Politics, University of New Brunswick)
Krahn, Harvey (Sociology)
Thorlakson, Lori (Political Science)
Garber, Judith (Political Science)
Department of Political Science

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This study examines the role of gender and municipal context in the political communication strategies of Canadian municipal candidates. Specifically, how do differences in candidates’ personal characteristics, municipal context, political circumstances, and campaign resources shape their strategies for establishing and/or maintaining media and public visibility during a local election, and how do these differences help us to understand the gendered and municipal dimensions of political communication? To answer this question, I conducted a large-scale survey of candidates who ran for municipal office from 2010 to 2012, as well as interviews with a subset of respondents. Findings indicate that women and men politicians take an equally strategic approach to the use of communication techniques in their campaigns, suggesting any gendered differences in news coverage or public image are not due to differences in level of effort. In contrast, I demonstrate that major differences in the personal characteristics of city and non-city candidates, in the news media’s approach to covering the two groups, and in local preferences for or against certain campaign techniques shape candidates’ communication choices and outcomes. I also find that, despite the arrival of the Internet as a campaign tool, municipal candidates’ enduring faith in the importance of face-to-face contact with voters suggests scholarly concern over the lack of interaction between politicians and voters either online or in person is misplaced at the local level. Many municipal candidates are keen to discuss local political issues with voters.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Angelia Wagner. Forthcoming. “Candidate Orientation to ICTs in Canadian Municipal Elections.” In Citizen Participation and Political Communication in a Digital World, eds. Alex Frame and Gilles Brachotte. New York: Routledge.

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