Dr. Penny Bryden

Dr. Penny Bryden

On leave

Office: Cle B203

BA (Trent), MA, PhD (York)

Area of expertise

Modern Canadian History, Political and Constitutional History, Scandal


I received my BA from Trent University, and my MA and PhD from York University in Toronto. I then taught at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick from 1993 until I came to UVic in 2005. My experience in Ontario, the Maritimes and now British Columbia has given me a unique perspective on political culture across the country, and on the different orientations of the federal relationship.  My work reflects that, and continues to probe the nature of relationships within government and between governments.  I am currently finishing a project that examines the evolution of the Prime Minister's Office, and starting another one on the long (and often forgotten) history of political scandal in Canada.

Curriculum Vitae

Selected publications



image image Framing Canadian Federalism Planners and Politicians

Canada: A Political Biography Oxford University Press, 2016.

‘A Justifiable Obsession’: Conservative Ontario’s Relations with Ottawa, 1943-1985 Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013.

(edited with Colin Coates, Maureen Lux, Lynne Marks, Marcel Martel and Daniel Samson) Visions: The Canadian History Modules Project Toronto: Nelson, 2011.

Individual modules edited by P. E. Bryden:

  1. Confederation: What Kind of Country Are We To Have? (pp. 1-48);
  2. The Great War: Leaders, Followers and Record-Keepers (pp. 1-48);
  3. Protest, Parties and Politics Between the Wars, 1919-1939 (pp. 1-48);
  4. The Great Depression in Canada: How Did People Cope? (pp. 1-48);
  5. Constitutional Negotiations in Late 20th Century Canada: Will We Survive? (pp. 1-48)

(edited with Dimitry Anastakis) Framing Canadian Federalism Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009.

(edited with Michael J. Tucker and Raymond B. Blake) Canada and the New World Order: Facing the New Millennium Toronto: Irwin Publishers, 2000.

Planners and Politicians: Liberal Politics and Social Policy, 1957-1968, Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1997. pp. ix-233.

(edited with Raymond B. Blake and J. Frank Strain) The Welfare State in Canada: Past, Present and Future, Toronto: Irwin Publishers, 1997.

Recent Articles

“The Liminality of St-Laurent’s Intergovernmental Relations Strategy,” in The Unexpected Louis St-Laurent: Politics and Policies for a Modern Canada Patrice Dutil, ed. (Vancouver: UBC Press, forthcoming 2020), pp. 156-172.

“Elsbeth In Taxland, or Through the Change Purse: An Appreciation,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association vol. 30 no. 2 , 2020.

“Foxes, Hedgehogs, and the Changing Shape of Canadian Political History,” Canadian Historical Review vol. 100 no. 4 (December 2019) pp. 588-601.

“Equalization and the Fiscal Foundation of Universality” in Universality and Social Policy in Canada, Daniel Beland, Gregory P. Marchildon and Michael J. Prince, eds.  (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019) pp. 31-47.

“The Rise of Spectator Constitutionalism” in Patriation and its Aftermath: Politics, Federalism and the Constitution in Canada Lois Harder and Steve Patten, eds. (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015) pp. 93-112.


HSTR 230A Canada to Confederation
HSTR 230B Canada Since Confederation
HSTR 322A Canadian Political History Since 1867
HIST 322B Canadian Constitutional History
HSTR 323 Canadian-American Relations
HSTR 330 Topics in Canadian History
HSTR 430 Seminar in Canadian History

Topics include:

- Quebec Since Confederation
- Social and Political History of Food in North America
- Comparative Canadian/American Political History

Grad students

Completed Doctoral Students

Thirstan Falconer, Through the Revolving Door: The Liberal Party of Canada’s Engagement of Ethnocultural Communities, 1959-1974 supervisor (defended October 2017)

Lee Blanding, PhD: “Re-Branding Canada: The Origins of Multiculturalism Policy in Canada, 1945-1974,” (defended May 2013)

Lisa Pasolli, PhD: ‘Talkin’ Day Care Blues’: Motherhood, Work and Child Care in Twentieth Century British Columbia,” (defended June 2012)

Completed Master's Students

Nathan Ruston, MA: LeDain Commission and Student Testimony (completed August 2019)

Brent Cantarutti, MA: “British Columbia’s High Modernist Fallacy: The Columbia River Treaty Dams” (completed August 2016)

Alexis Leriger de la Plant, MA “Nelvana and the Evolution of Canadian Culture” (completed December 2015)

Rachael Conway, MA: “Reservations to Citizenship: The Voting Rights of Status Indians, 1950-1960” (completed December 2012)

Bryan MacLeod, MA: "Something to Declare: Customs and Border Policy in Canada 1990 - 2011" (defended December 2011)

Stephen Harrison, MA: "The Alternative Vote in British Columbia: Values Debates and Party Politics" (defended July 2010)

Catherine Ulmer, MA: "Charlotte Whitton and the Welfare State" (defended August 2009)