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April 10 , 2009

The Big Blue Machine

How Tory Campaign Backrooms Changed Canadian Politics Forever


An inside account of the Progressive Conservative’s campaign organization.

The Progressive Conservative Party’s “big blue machine” pioneered electoral techniques of centralized control, communications, campaign advertising, polling, policy-presentation, and fund-raising. Inspired by Dalton Camp and Norman Atkins, its widespread yet close-knit network of organizers and specialists changed how Canadian campaigns were fought, even as their “political machine” transformed Canadian public life itself.

J. Patrick Boyer’s behind-the-scenes account reveals how and why the blue machine’s campaign innovations (most imported from the U.S.) transformed Canadian politics forever. Boyer’s direct experience in these changes, and interviews with key players from Tory backrooms, enrich his authentic and timely account. This saga of the formidable campaign organization operating inside the Progressive Conservative Party for more than four decades shows why the big blue machine deservedly became a Canadian political legend.

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