Anna Esselment

Associate Professor | Associate Dean, Graduate Studies
Anna Esselment profile picture.

Areas of specialization

  • Intergovernmental relations,
  • Campaigns and elections,
  • Canadian institutions,
  • Canadian politics,
  • Provincial politics,
  • Political parties,
  • Political marketing


Office: Hagey Hall 304
Phone: x42190

Office hours: By appointment


BA (McMaster); MA (Dalhousie); PhD (Western)

Anna Esselment is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. She earned her PhD at the University of Western Ontario where her research focused on the role of partisanship in intergovernmental relations in Canada. Broader areas of research and writing include political parties, campaigns and elections, political marketing, and Canadian institutions. Prior to commencing her PhD, Anna worked at Queen's Park as a policy advisor to then Opposition Leader Dalton McGuinty.

Current research

Dr. Esselment is investigating two projects.  The first is a study of political authenticity in Canada.  In an era where politicians such as Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Maxime Bernier and other anti-system figures have raised substantial interest in - and concern about - populism, there is an inextricable link between their ascent and notions of authenticity, particularly as a political strategic move to entice citizen support. Populists are often described as authentic; as people who come across as "real". This is in stark contrast to most politicians who read from talking points, pander to audiences, and are packaged by marketers to make targeted appeals to a specific segments of voters. This might especially be the case in Canada where party and message discipline among candidates and elected representatives is the rule, not the exception. This project aims to learn more about the role of authenticity in Canadian politics – how Canadian voters perceive it, how they assess it, how politicians themselves think about authenticity in their own approaches, and where parliamentary norms and traditions limit one's own sense of authenticity in their representative role.  

A second study examines political leadership in Canada. The challenges facing today’s political leaders are significant and complex. Leaders matter in politics as in business, and Canada has a long tradition of executive dominance in its government. Together with Dr. Cristine de Clercy, the Jarislowsky Chair in Political Leadership at Trent University (as of July 1, 2023), the collection here aims to bring together scholars who are investigating current trends, new approaches, and novel cases of political leadership.  

Selected publications


2021. André Blais, Cristine de Clercy, Anna Lennox Esselment and Ronald Wintrobe (Eds). Across Boundaries: Essays in Honour of Robert A. Young. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University.

2017. Marland, Alex, Thierry Giasson and Anna Esselment, eds. Permanent Campaigning in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Peer-reviewed Articles

2019. "Want to Interview a Politician? Ways to Prepare for Digital Vetting by Political Staff”. Co-authored with Alex Marland. PS: Political Science & Politics. 52 (4): 696-700.

2018. “Negotiating with Gatekeepers to Get Interviews with Politicians: Qualitative Research Recruitment in a Digital Media Environment”.  Co-authored with Alex Marland.  Qualitative Research.

2016. “Partisans without Parties? Party Systems as Partisan Inhibitors”. Co-authored with Jay Roy. Canadian Journal of Political Science.  March, 49 (1): 21-39.

2015.  “Designing Campaign Platforms”. The Informed Citizens’ Guide to Elections: Electioneering Based on the Rule of Law. Spec. issue of Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law.

2014. “The Nature of Political Advising to Prime Ministers in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.” Co-authored with Jennifer Lees-Marshment and Alex Marland. Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, DOI: 10.1080/14662043.2014.919731.

2013. “A Little Help from my Friends: The Partisan Factor and Intergovernmental Relations in Canada.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism. Fall, 43(4): 701-727 (first published online, September 2012, doi: 10.1093/publius/pjs041).

2011. “Birds of a Feather? The Role of Partisanship in the 2003 Ontario Liberal Transition.” Canadian Public Administration. December, 54 (4): 465-486.

2010. “Fighting Elections: Cross-Level Political Party Integration in Canada.” The Canadian Journal of Political Science. December, 43(4): 871-892.


2020. “What Goes on in an election?  Ask the people doing the job.” Co-authored with Alex Marland. Policy Options, June 1.

2018. “A new debates commission is the electoral reform Canadians need.” Co-authored with Tamara A. Small.  The Conversation, November 20.

2017. “Canada’s Embrace of the Permanent Campaign”.  Policy Options, July 12.

Peer-reviewed chapters in books

2024. “Ontario’s Political Parties and the Party System”.  In Cheryl N. Collier and Jonathan Malloy (Eds.), The Politics of Ontario, 2nd Edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

2022 (with Matthew Bondy). “Local Nominations”. In Alex Marland and Thierry Giasson (Eds.), Inside the Local Campaign: Managing Campaigns in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.

2022. “Digital Campaign Threats in Canada: Party Responses in an Age of Disinformation”. In Holly Ann Garnett and Michael Pal (Eds.), Cybersecurity and Canadian Democracy. Montreal&Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

2021. André Blais, Cristine de Clercy, Anna Lennox Esselment and Ronald Wintrobe. “Introduction: The Work of Bob Young.” In André Blais, Cristine de Clercy, Anna Esselment and Ronald Wintrobe (Eds), Across Boundaries: Essays in Honour of Robert A. Young, Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

2021. “Stephen Harper’s PMO Style: Partisan Managerialism” Co-authored with Jonathan Craft. In James Farney and Julie Simmons (Eds.), Regional Dynamics in the Harper Era.

2020. "Conclusion: Revealing the Campaign Machine". Co-authored with Thierry Giasson.  In Alex Marland and Thierry Giasson (eds.) Inside the Campaign: Managing Elections in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.

2018. “Tips and Tactics for Securing Interviews with Political Elites”. Co-authored with Alex Marland. In Marland, Alex, Thierry Giasson and Andrea Lawlor, eds. Political Elites in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.

2017. “Campaigning from the Centre”. Co-authored with Paul Wilson. In Marland, Alex, Thierry Giasson and Anna Esselment, eds. Permanent Campaigning in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.

2017. “Federal Feet in Provincial Pools: The Conservatives and Federalism in Canada”. In J.P. Lewis and Joanna Everitt (Eds.), The Blueprint: Conservative Parties and their Impact on Canadian Politics.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

2014. “The Governing Party and the Permanent Campaign.” In Thierry Giasson, Alex Marland, and Tamara Small (Eds.), Political Communication in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press (in press).

2012. “Market Orientation in a Minority Government: The Challenge of Product Delivery”. In Political Marketing in Canada: The Practice of Political Marketing and how it is Changing Canadian Democracy. Thierry Giasson, Jennifer Lees-Marshment and Alex Marland (Eds.), University of British Columbia Press.

Chapters in books

2019. “Democratic Debate: Canada’s Liberal Government as Delivery Devotees.” In Jennifer Lees-Marshment, Brian Conley, Edward Elder, Robin Pettitt, Vincent Raynauld, and André Turcotte (Eds.). Political Marketing: Principles and Applications (235-237). London and New York: Routledge. 

2016. “An Inside Look at the Ontario Liberals in Power”.  In Cheryl N. Collier and Jonathan Malloy (Eds.), The Politics of Ontario. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

2016. “Political Parties: Imperfect but Essential”.  In Christopher G. Anderson and Rand Dyck (Eds.), Studying Politics: An Introduction to Political Science, 5th Ed. Toronto: Nelson Education.

2015. "Editors’ Remarks: Recapping The 2015 Canadian Election" Anna Esselment, Thierry Giasson, Andrea Lawlor, Alex Marland, and Tamara A. Small. In Alex Marland and Thierry Giasson (Eds.) Canadian Election Analysis: Communication, Strategy, Analysis. Vancouver: UBC Press.

2015. "The Political Science Professor and the Media”. In Alex Marland and Thierry Giasson (Eds.) Canadian Election Analysis: Communication, Strategy, Analysis, (76-77). Vancouver: UBC Press.

2012. "Priority Deliveries: Getting Results in Minority and Coalition Governments”. In Jennifer Lees-Marshment (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Political Marketing (303-315).London and New York: Routledge.

2012.  “The Case for Effective Minority Government.” In Mark Charlton and Paul Barker (Eds.), Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues (189-200). Scarborough, Ontario: Nelson Education.

Book reviews

2020. “Province Building and the Federalization of Immigration in Canada” (by Mireille Paquet). Canadian Journal of Political Science, 1-2. doi:10.1017/S0008423920000712.

2017. “Backrooms and Beyonds: Partisan Advisers and the Politics of Policy Work in Canada” (by Jonathan Craft) Canadian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 50, Issue 3, pp 870-871.

2015. “Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada” (by Brent Rathgeber). Literary Review of Canada, Vol. 23, No. 1, January/February, p29.

2014. “The Global Promise of Federalism” (edited by Grace Skogstad, David Cameron, Martin Papillon, and Keith Banting). Publius: The Journal of Federalism. First published online: July 30, 2014 doi: 10.1093/publius/pju034.

2007. “Courts and Federalism: Judicial Doctrine in the United States, Australia and Canada” (by Gerald Baier) Canadian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 40, Issue 1, pp 247-249.

Selected Media Appearances

Media Source Title
Pictue of Prof. Esselment talking at The Agenda.
Prof. Esselment on TVO's The Agenda talking about "The psychology of voting" (May 2018) 
Prof. Esselmnt talking on CTV.
Anna Esselment on CTV Canada AM talking about "Forgotten election promises" (2015)