Research

Book Project

Mega Pipelines, Mega Resistance explains why there has been such significant opposition to mega oil sands pipelines in North America and the implications of this resistance on pipeline project outcomes. It argues that in the last decade, opposition to mega pipeline projects in Canada has stalled pipeline development. I identify the causal influence of social movement campaigns, what I call campaign coalitions, against new mega oil sands pipelines. I use in-depth case studies to understand the strategies anti-pipeline coalitions employed to influence project outcomes and the conditions that produced the project outcomes.

I contribute to public policy and social movement literature by developing a novel theoretical framework to explain the impact of social movements on pipeline project outcomes. I show how broad-based and diverse coalitions of actors (including Indigenous organizations, environmental NGOs, and municipalities) formed and used an effective combination of strategies that leveraged increasingly amenable legal, political, and commercial contexts while also influencing and hastening those changes. This book is based on my doctoral thesis which is available here.

Articles

Explaining Variation in Oil Sands Pipeline Projects,” Canadian Journal of Political Science, May 2020, 1-20

While the vast majority of oil pipeline projects in Canada have been successfully built, several mega oil sands projects within and passing through Canada have been cancelled or significantly delayed. This article explains why these delays and cancellations have occurred. A systematic cross-case analysis is used to provide insight into the changing politics of oil sands pipelines. Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) is used to identify combinations of causal conditions that co-occur across cases of proposed new oil pipelines and pipeline expansion projects. The pipeline projects were proposed to the federal regulator— the National Energy Board—between 2006 and 2014. The QCA reveals that social mobilization and major regulatory barrier(s) are necessary conditions in explaining variation in pipeline project outcomes. The analysis of sufficiency reveals more complex configurations of conditions. This article contributes to the literature on the politics of oil sands pipelines by using a comparative approach to identify the impacts of socio-political and legal dynamics that have emerged around pipelines in the last 15 years.

What Kind of Civil Society? Debating Trade at the WTO Public Forum,” Journal of  World Trade 52(1): 113–142, 2018 (with Erin Hannah, James Scott and Rorden Wilkinson)

Since the WTO’s creation its relationship with civil society has changed significantly. In this article, we use an original dataset to: (1) plot the changes that have taken place in civil society group representation at the WTO Public Forum; and (2) assess the significance of these changes for understandings of public interactions with the WTO. We test four hypotheses drawn from prevalent claims made in the academic and policy-facing literatures: (1) that the volume of participation in the Public Forum is determined by the ebb and flow of WTO-centred trade politics, with participation levels peaking during moments of crisis and falling away during times of stasis; (2) that the stalling of the multilateral trade agenda has led to business interests turning away from the WTO; (3) that the participation of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the Public Forum is also sensitive to the rhythms of trade politics; and (4) that governments – particularly those from the global North – have begun to lose interest in the WTO and shifted attention to other arenas. We find support for hypotheses one and three but not for two and four. We subsequently analyse whose voices are heard at the Public Forum and find that there has been a narrowing of the arena of trade debate over time.

Regulatory Harmonization in International Trade: A Categorical or Conditional Imperative?” University of Toronto Journal of Political Science 1(1): 41-7, 2016 (with Michael Faubert)

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) contain unprecedented commitments to regulatory cooperation—the hallmark of a new wave of free trade agreements that emphasizes non-tariff barriers to trade. Regulatory cooperation in its most ambitious form, harmonization, is the presumed gold standard for the EU’s free trade agreements (FTAs) with Canada and the US. However, harmonization is not an obvious policy choice given that empirically and normatively there is no self-evident evolution from the creation of uniform standards to harmonization, which seeks to eliminate differences between regulatory standards on grounds of economic efficiency. Harmonization is laden with theoretical and normative assumptions as we explore here. And harmonization is itself a powerful background assumption, one that ought to give us pause as the first best policy option in regulatory cooperation negotiations. An alternative path, as we suggest, is to treat harmonization as a conditional rather than categorical imperative in the new generation of FTAs.

Book Chapters

“Orchestration” in Architectures of Earth System Governance: Institutional Complexity and Structural Transformation, edited by Frank Biermann and Rakhyun E. Kim. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming (with Kenneth W. Abbott and Steven Bernstein), April 2020

Book Reviews

TTIP, ‘Truth’ and the Future of Global Trade” (Review of TTIP: The Truth about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership by Ferdi de Ville & Gabriel Siles-Brügge), Global Justice 10(1), 2017

Reports and Working Papers

Business Leadership on Carbon Pricing: The Case of the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC),” Environmental Governance Lab (EGL) Working Paper 2020-04, Munk School of Global Affairs, February 2020

Conceptualizing Change in the International Investment Regime Complex,” International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, 4 April 2018

Carbon Disclosure and Global Decarbonization: The Case of CDP,” Environmental Governance Lab (EGL) Working Paper Series, Munk School of Global Affairs, 2017

Pipelines, Paris, and Decarbonization: The Future of Canadian Energy and Climate Policy, Workshop Report, Environmental Governance Lab, 2017 (with Matthew Hoffmann and Steven Bernstein)

Food Safety, Agriculture and Regulatory Cooperation in the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Council of Canadians, 2016 (with Sujata Dey)

“CETA and the Buy-Local Provision,” In Making Sense of the CETA: An Analysis of the Final Text of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Ed. Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, September 2014

“Gender Equity and LGBTQ Rights,” In Progress on Women’s Rights — Missing in Action: A Shadow Report on Canada’s Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform  for Action, prepared by a network of NGOs, trade unions and independent experts, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, October 2014

Manuscripts in Submission

“Transnational Private Rule-Makers as Lobbyists” (with Stefan Renckens and Kristen Pue)