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Smith, David E.

Smith, David E.


Professor (Adjunct)



PhD (Political Science): Duke




(416) 979-5000 x 3282


David E. Smith, OC, FRSC is adjunct faculty in the Department of Politics and Public Administration and a member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University. He was appointed as a
Distinguished Visiting Scholar in 2013, following a long and distinguished career at the University of Saskatchewan (1964-2004), where he is Professor Emeritus, and at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina (2005-2012), where he was a Senior Policy Fellow.

Dr. Smith earned his PhD and Masters degrees in Political Science at Duke University, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics and Political Science from the University of Western Ontario. The University of Saskatchewan honoured Dr. Smith with an earned Doctor of Letters in 1995, and a Distinguished Researcher Award in 2003. Ryerson University conferred on Dr. Smith a Doctor of Letters Honoris Causa at the 18 June 2010 convocation ceremony.

David Smith received the Saskatchwan Order of Merit - the Province's highest honour - on 13 May 2015. Click here for the internal announcement of that news. The award citation notes:

Dr. Smith chose to make his contribution to education in Saskatchewan by shaping the thinking of thousands of Saskatchewan post-secondary students; through his writing he brought national and international attention to scholarship in Saskatchewan. Dr. Smith used his writing to advance Saskatchewan’s voice and drive home the realization that to know the West is to know Canada. His work is deeply rooted in the Prairie, bringing Saskatchewan political history into the mainstream of Canadian political science. He is credited with producing the definitive works on each of the major institutions of the Canadian government, such as the Crown, the Senate and the House of Commons, and recently completed a book on the history of the Official Opposition in this country.

A “lifetime of achievement and merit of a high degree” was recognised on July 1, 2013, when Dr. Smith was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), the highest academic accolade in Canada that is available to scientists and scholars. Two of his University of Saskatchewan colleagues, Hans Michelmann and Cristine de Clercy, edited a festschrift, Continuity and Change in Canadian Politics: Essays in Honour of David E. Smith which was, like so many of Dr. Smith’s own books, published by the University of Toronto Press (2006).

During his forty years at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Smith supervised numerous graduate theses, served on many thesis committees, and taught a full range of undergraduate courses. He has also lectured in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and Korea, and held a visiting professorship of Canadian studies in Japan. His passion for knowledge, good scholarship and excellent writing has been a lasting influence on a host of students.

Throughout his career as an outstanding researcher, scholar and teacher, David E. Smith has also served his University, many professional organisations, his province, and his country. At the University of Saskatchewan, he served on all manner of University committees and as Department Head. His service to the profession includes a term as chair the management board of what is now the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program of the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences. He has served on or chaired numerous committees of the Royal Society of Canada. For five years (1979-1984), he was book review editor of the Canadian Journal of Political Science; and he served the Canadian Political Science Association as President-Elect (1993-94), President (1994-95), and Past President (1995-96). Outside the world of academe and his profession, he served for many years on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. He has testified before parliamentary committees, done briefings for the Canadian Senate, and briefed a former Governor General on the role of the Canadian Crown. He served as a Commissionaire on the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Saskatchewan in 2004.

Selected Publications:


  • The Constitution in a Hall of Mirrors: Canada at 150. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017.
  • Across the Aisle: Opposition in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013.
  • The Invisible Crown: The First Principle of Canadian Government. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013 (with a new preface by the author).  Originally published, 1995.
  • Federalism and the Constitution of Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010.
  • The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Politics (co-ed. with John C. Courtney). New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. (28 chapters, 33 authors; Smith author of one chapter and co-author of one chapter).
  • A Living Tree: The Legacy of 1982 in Canada’s Political Evolution (co-ed. with Graeme Mitchell, Ian Peach and John D. Whyte). Markham, ON: LexisNexis Canada, 2007.
  • Lipset’s Agrarian Socialism: A Re-examination (ed.). Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre and the Saskatchewan Institute for Public Policy, 2007.
  • The People’s House of Commons: Theories of Democracy in Contention. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007. Winner of the 2008 Donner Prize.
  • Letters home: The Wartime Correspondence and Diary of John Edwin Gardiner, RCAF (1919-1942) (ed.). Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, 2004.
  • The Canadian Senate in Bicameral Perspective. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003.
  • The Republican Option in Canada: Past and Present. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999. Winner of the 1999 CPSA Donald Smiley Prize.
  • The Invisible Crown: The First Principle of Canadian Government. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995.  Reissued in 2013 with a new preface by the author.
  • Building a Province: A History of Saskatchewan in Documents (ed.). Saskatoon: Fifth House Publishers, 1993.
  • Drawing Boundaries: Legislatures, Courts, and Electoral Values (co-ed. with John C. Courtney and Peter MacKinnon). Saskatoon: Fifth House Publishers, 1992.
  • After Meech Lake: Lessons for the Future (co-ed. with Peter MacKinnon and John C. Courtney). Saskatoon: Fifth House Publishers, 1991.
  • James G. Gardiner, Relentless Liberal (with Norman Ward). Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990.
  • The Regional Decline of a National Party: Liberals on the Prairies. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981.
  • Prairie Liberalism: The Liberal Party in Saskatchewan. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1975.


  • “The Future Starts Now: Economic Space for First Nations” (with Nathan Elliott). Regina: Melcher Media, 2012.
  • “Clarifying the Doctrine of Ministerial Responsibility as It Applies to the Government and Parliament of Canada.” In Restoring Accountability - Research Studies, Vol.1 Parliament, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities, 101-43. Ottawa: Public Works and Government Services, 2006.
  • “Saskatchewan Perspectives.” In Saskatchewan and Aboriginal Peoples in the 21st Century: Social, Economic and Political Changes and Challenges. Regina: Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, 1997.
  • “Registering Voters: Canada in a Comparative Perspective” (with John C. Courtney). In Democratic Rights and Electoral Reform in Canada, ed. Michael Cassidy, 343-461. Ottawa: Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing, 1991.
  • Directory of Political Scientists in Canada/Répertoire des Politologues du Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Political Science Association, 1989. (218 pp; 699 entries).
  • “Party Government, Representation and National Integration in Canada." In Party Government and Regional Representation in Canada, ed. Peter Aucoin, 1-68. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (in cooperation with Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada), 1985.


  • “The Elected and the Appointed: Which Branch of Government Truly Merits Canadians’ Trust?" Literary Review of Canada 18:3 (April 2010): 23-4.
  • “Round Table on the Process to be Used for Electoral Reform." Canadian Parliamentary Review 28:2 (Summer 2005): 23-5.
  • “James R. Mallory: His Legacy.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 37:3 (September 2004): 715-29.
  • “A Question of Trust: Parliamentary Democracy and Canadian Society." Canadian Parliamentary Review 27:1 (Spring 2004): 24-9.
  • “The Affair of the Chairs.” Constitutional Forum 13:2 (2003): 60-7.
  • “The Westminster Model in Ottawa: A Study in the Absence of Influence." British Journal of Canadian Studies 15:1-2 (2002): 54-64.
  • “The Invention of Politics in the Canadian West.” Zeitschrift Für Kanada Studien, Jahrgang/Nr. 1 (2002): Band 41 (pp. 33).
  • “Queen Elizabeth II and Canada: Fifty Years On." The Beaver (Feb-Mar 2002): 6 - 7.
  • “A Comment on ‘The Royal Prerogative and the Office of Lieutenant Governor’.” Canadian Parliamentary Review 23:3 (Autumn 2000): 33-4.
  • “A House for the Future: Debating Second Chamber Reform in the United Kingdom.” Government and Opposition 35:3 (2000): 1-21.
  • “Myths, Legends and Foundations for Canadian Politics.” Review Essay. Canadian Public Administration 43:4 (2000): 484-9.
  • “Fifty Years of Proportional Representation in Australia.” Canadian Parliamentary Review 22:4 (Winter 1999-2000): 21-3.
  • “Republican Tendencies.” Policy Options 20:4 (May 1999): 8-11.
  • “Republics, Monarchies and Old Dominions.” Canadian Parliamentary Review 20:4 (Winter 1997-98): 7-9.
  • “Bagehot, The Crown and the Constitution.” Canadian Journal of Political Science XXVIII:4 (Dec. 1995): 619-35.
  • “Norman McQueen Ward, 1918-1990.” Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, (1992).
  • “Saskatchewan Speaks: Public Documents and the Study of Provincial Politics.” Government Publications Review 20 (1993): 21-39.
  • “Empire, Crown and Canadian Federalism.” Canadian Journal of Political Science XXIV:3 (September 1991): 451-73.
  • West of East:The Roots of the Distinction.” Western Historical Quarterly XXIII:4 (Nov. 1992): 519-23.
  • “Party Matters.” Review article. Journal of Canadian Studies XXIV (Summer 1989): 146-53.
  • “James G. Gardiner: Political Leadership in the Agrarian Community.” Saskatchewan History XL (Spring 1987): 47-61.
  • “Two men and a Dam.” NeWest Review 12 (May 1987): 12-3.
  • “Patronage in Britain and Canada:An Historical Perspective.” Journal of Canadian Studies XXII (Summer, 1987): 34-54.
  • “The 'Ism that Wasn't.” Newest Review VIII (January 1983): 3-4.
  • “Celebrations and History.” Journal of Canadian Studies XVII (Autumn 1982): 45-57.
  • “The Third Canada.” Policy Options Politiques II:2 (May/June, 1981): 27-9.
  • “Instilling British Values in the Prairie Provinces.” Prairie Forum VI:2 (Fall 1981): 129-41.
  • “Challenges in Political Science.” Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada IV:XVIII (1980): 67-73.
  • “Electoral Consequences.” Policy Options Politiques I:3 (August 1980): 42-3.
  • “The Canadian General Election of 1979." Parliamentary Affairs XXXIII:1 (Winter 1980): 92-106.
  • “Provincial Representation Abroad: The Office of Agent General in Canada.” Dalhousie Review 55 (Summer 1975): 311-27.
  • “Interpreting Prairie Politics.” Journal of Canadian Studies VII (November 1972): 18-32.
  • “Current Trends in Canadian Politics.” The Western Political Quarterly XXII:2 (September 1970): 348-63.
  • “A Comparison of Prairie Political Developments in Saskatchewan and Alberta." The Journal of Canadian Studies IV:1 (February 1969): 17-26.
  • “Emergency Government in Canada.” Canadian Historical Review, L:4 (December 1969): 429-48.
  • “The Saskatchewan Election:1967." Canadian Commentator (November 1967), 2 pp.
  • “The International Community and the South West Africa Dispute.” Queen's Quarterly, LXXIV:4 (Winter 1967-68): 593-609.
  • “The Membership of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly, 1905-66." Saskatchewan History XX:2 (Spring 1967): 121-37; reprinted in Politics in Saskatchewan, ed. N. Ward and D. Spafford, 178-206.Toronto: Longmans, 1968.
  • “Canadian Trends.” The Australian Quarterly (December 1966): 58-66.
  • “Voting in the Provincial General Election and a Federal By-Election:A Constituency Study of Saskatoon City” (with John C. Courtney). Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science XXXII (August 1966): 338-53; reprinted in Politics in Saskatchewan, ed. N. Ward and D. Spafford, 221-237.Toronto: Longmans, 1968.
  • “Should Canada Join the Organization of American States?:A Rejoinder to W. Arthur Irwin.” Queen's Quarterly LXXIII (Spring 1966): 100-14.


  • “Institutional Reform.” In Canada: The State of the Federation 2011-The Changing Federal Environment: Rebalancing Roles?, ed. Nadia Verrelli, 83-91. Kingston and Montréal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014.
  • “The Crown in Canada Today: How Dignified? How Efficient?” In Canada and the Crown: Essays on Constitutional Monarchy, ed. D. Michael Jackson and Philippe Lagasse, 89-100. Montréal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2013.
  • “Saskatchewan: A Distinct Political Culture.” In Perspectives of Saskatchewan, ed. Jene M. Porter, 37-55. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2009.
  • “Saskatchewan and Canadian Federalism.” In Saskatchewan Politics in the Global Village, ed. Howard Leeson, 297-317. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, 2009.
  • “The Senate of Canada and the Conundrum of Reform." In The Democratic Dilemma: Reform of the Senate, ed. Jennifer Smith, 11-26. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009.
  • Oxford Companion to Canadian History. Don Mills, ON.: Oxford University Press, 2004. (Entries on Constitutional Monarchy, James G. Gardiner, Governor General, Monarchy, Rideau Hall and Jeanne Sauvé).
  • “The Improvement of the Senate by Non-Constitutional Means.” In Protecting Canadian Democracy:The Senate You Never Knew, ed. Hon. Senator Serge Joyal, 228-70. Montreal and Kingston: Queen’s University Press, 2003.
  • “Canada’s Republican Silence.” In Shaping Nations: Constitutionalism and Society in Australia and Canada, ed. Linda Cardinal and David Headon, 259-69.Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2002.
  • “Saskatchewan Politics.” Atlas of Saskatchewan, new edition (1999).
  • “A Period of Waiting Over:The Prairies in 1939.” In A Country of Limitations:Canada and the World in 1939, ed. Norman Hillmer et al., 94-108. Ottawa:Canadian Committee for the History of the Second World War, 1996.
  • “Party Struggles to Win the Prairies.” In Party Politics in Canada, 7th ed., ed. Hugh Thorburn, 446-61.Scarborough: Prentice-Hall Canada Inc., 1995.
  • “Saskatchewan." In Canadian Annual Review, 1994, pp 202-13. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.
  • “Saskatchewan." In Canadian Annual Review, 1993, pp 211-20Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.
  • “Western Canada.” In Introductory Readings in Canadian Government and Politics, 2nd ed., ed. Robert Krause and R.H. Wagenberg, 133-49.Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1994).
  • “The Federal Cabinet in Canadian Politics.” In Canadian Politics in the 1990s, 4th ed., ed. Michael Whittington and Glen Williams, 382-401.Toronto: Nelson Canada, 1994.
  • “James G. Gardiner: Political Leadership in the Agrarian Community.” In Swords and Ploughshares: War and Agriculture in Western Canada, ed. R.C. Macleod, 203-21.Edmonton: University of Alberta Press., 1993. (reprint of article in Saskatchewan History).
  • “Saskatchewan.” In Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs, 1992, ed. David Leyton-Brown, 231-42. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998.
  • “Western Politics and National Unity.” In Riel to Reform: Protest in Western Canada, ed. George Melnyk 43-59.Saskatoon: Fifth House Publishers, 1992 (reprint of piece that originally appeared in 1977).
  • “Representation and Policy Formation in the Canadian Provinces.” In Representation in Federal Systems, ed. C.E.S. Franks, 131-75.Berkeley: Institute for Governmental Studies Press, University of California, 1993.
  • “Police and Politics.” In Police Powers in Canada: The Evolution and Practice of Authority, ed. R.C. Macleod and David Schneiderman, 184-208.Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.
  • “Saskatchewan.” In Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs, 1991, ed. David Leyton-Brown, 228-39.Toronto: University of Toronto Press 1998.
  • “Federal Voter Enumeration in Canada:An Assessment.” In Registering Voters:Comparative Perspectives, ed. John C. Courtney, 35.40.Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, Centre for International Affairs, 1991.
  • “Saskatchewan.” In Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs, 1990, ed. David Leyton-Brown, 212-22.Toronto:University of Toronto Press 1997.
  • “A Period of Waiting Over: The Prairies in 1939." In A Country of Limitations: Canada and the World in 1939, ed. Norman Hilmer et al., 94-108.Ottawa:Canadian Committee for the History of the Second World War, 1996.
  • “Western Canada.” In Introductory Readings in Canadian Government and Politics, ed. Robert M. Krause and R.H. Wagenberg, 119-33.Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1991.
  • “Perennial Alienation:The Prairie West in the Canadian Federation.” In Canadian Federalism:Past, Present and Future, ed. Michael Burgess, 78-94.Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1990.
  • “Grits and Tories on the Prairies” (revised).In Party Politics in Canada, 6th ed., ed. Hugh Thorburn, 433-50. Toronto: Prentice-Hall, 1991.
  • “Broadcasting in the Federation." In Federalism and the Quest for Political Community:Essays in Honour of Donald Smiley, ed. David Shugarman and Reginald Whitaker, 361-84.Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1990.
  • “Saskatchewan:Approximating the Ideal.” In Provincial and Territorial Legislatures in Canada, ed. Gary Levy and Graham White, 47-67. Toronto:University of Toronto Press, 1989.
  • “The Federal Cabinet in Canadian Politics” (revised). In Canadian Politics in the 1990s, 3rd ed., ed. Michael S. Whittington and Glen Williams, 359-79. Toronto: Nelson, 1990.
  • “Canadian Political Parties and National Integration.” In Politics and Political Parties in Canada, ed. Alain G. Gagnon and A. Brian Tanguay, 130-51. Toronto: Methuen, 1988.
  • “Saskatchewan." The World Book Encyclopedia vol. 17, 128-48.Chicago: World Book Inc., 1988.
  • “Prairie Political Cultures and Canadian Federalism.” In Centralizing and Decentralizing Trends in Federal States, ed. L. Brown-John, 103-12. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1988.
  • “National Political Parties and the Growth of the Canadian Political Community.” In National Politics and Community in Canada, ed. W. Peter Ward and R. Kenneth Carty, 80-93. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1986.
  • “Cabinet and Commons in the Era of James G. Gardiner." In The Canadian House of Commons: Essays in Honour of Norman Ward, ed. John C. Courtney, 69-87. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1985.
  • “The Politics of the Federal Cabinet." In Canadian Politics in the 1980s, 2nd ed., ed. Michael Whittington and Glen Williams, 351-70. Toronto: Methuen, 1984.
  • “Grits and Tories on the Prairies.” In Party Politics in Canada, 5th ed., ed. Hugh Thorburn, 260-77. Toronto: Prentice-Hall, 1985.
  • “Political Culture in the West." In Eastern and Western Perspectives, ed. David Jay Bercuson and Philip Buckner, 169-82. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981.
  • “Grits and Tories on the Prairies." In Party Politics in Canada 4th ed., ed. Hugh Thorburn, 273-89. Toronto: Prentice Hall, 1978.
  • “Saskatchewan Party Politics” (with John C. Courtney). In Provincial Party Politics, revised ed., ed. Martin Robin, 283-316. Toronto: Prentice Hall, 1978.
  • “Western Politics and National Unity.” In Canada and the Burden of Unity, ed. David Jay Bercuson, 143-68. Toronto: Macmillan, 1977.
  • “The Prairie Provinces.” In The Provincial Political Systems, ed., David J. Bellamy, Jon H. Pammett, and Donald Cameron Rowat, 46-61. Toronto: Methuen, 1976.
  • “Liberalism in Saskatchewan.” In Western Perspectives I, ed. David Bercuson, 101-09. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974.
  • “Interpreting Prairie Politics." Reprinted in A Region of the Mind, ed. Richard Allen, 103-23. Regina: Canadian Plains Studies Centre, 1973.
  • “Conclusion.” In Prairie Perspectives, ed. David Gagan. 92-5. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.
  • “Saskatchewan Party Politics” (with John C. Courtney). In Provincial Party Politics, ed. Martin Robin, 290-318. Toronto: Prentice Hall, 1972.
  • “Some Developing Political and Economic Trends on the Canadian Scene.” In Trends and Change in Canadian Society, ed. B.Y. Card, 89-96. Toronto, Macmillan, 1968.
  • “Questionnaire Response, Voter Turnout and Party Support.” In Voting in Canada, ed. John C. Courtney, 115-24. Toronto: Prentice Hall, 1967.