The Liberal Party has governed Canada for much of the country's history. Yet over the past two decades, the 'natural governing party' has seen a decrease in traditional support, finding itself in opposition for nearly half of that time. In Divided Loyalties, Brooke Jeffrey draws on her own experience as a party insider and on interviews with more than sixty senior Liberals to follow the trajectory of the party from 1984 to the leadership of Stéphane Dion in 2008.
Riven by internal strife, leadership disputes, and financial woes, the Liberal Party today faces unprecedented challenges that threaten its very future. Conventional wisdom attributes the origins of the disarray to personal conflict between Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. However, Jeffrey argues that this divisiveness is actually the continuation of a dispute over Canadian federalism and national unity which began decades earlier between John Turner and Pierre Trudeau. This dispute, as evidenced by recent leadership crises, remains unresolved to this day. An insightful examination of the federal Liberal Party, Divided Loyalties sheds much-needed light on an increasingly fissured party.