I am a Senior Research Associate with the Samara Centre for Democracy, a think tank dedicated to strengthening Canadian Democracy, where I lead the Centre’s Parties and Democracy Project. I’m also an Adjunct Research Professor and Fellow with the Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management at Carleton University, and a Visiting Researcher with Carleton’s Bell Chair in Canadian Parliamentary Democracy. I include my initials in my publications to avoid confusion with Paul G. Thomas of the University of Manitoba (no relation).
I received my doctorate in Political Science from the University of Toronto in 2016. My dissertation used a mixed quantitative-qualitative approach to investigate the rapid and unexpected growth in the number of all-party groups (APGs) operating at the Canadian, Scottish and United Kingdom parliaments as well as the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. The research was supervised by Professors Graham White and Peter Loewen at the University of Toronto and Jonathan Malloy at Carleton University. I also received generous support from SSHRC through the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship program.
Following my PhD I completed a a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Political Science at Carleton University, where I studied the factors shaping the capacity of Canada’s provincial legislatures.
My research centres on questions related to political institutions and representation in Canada. In particular, I explore the role of legislators as the primary point of intersection between the various mechanisms of political representation in Canada, including elections, political parties, social movements, and professional lobbyists. In addition, I am deeply interested in the relationship between religion and politics. Together with David Rayside and Jerald Sabin, I coauthored the book Religion and Canadian Party Politics (available in May 2017) which examines how Canadian political parties at both the federal and provincial levels attempt to manage their relationships with religious conservatives.
I serve as the Board Member of the Canadian Study of Parliament Group, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to enhance understanding and study of parliamentary governance in Canada.
Prior to starting my PhD, I was a Parliamentary Affairs Assistant with Cancer Research UK, where I helped with lobbying to toughen tobacco controls measures in England and Wales. Before moving to London, I also worked as a Research Assistant to Senator Yoine Goldstein and was a participant in the Canadian Political Science Association’s Parliamentary Internship Programme in 2005/06.
Outside of academia, I am an aspiring curler and attend Sunnyside Wesleyan Church. I spend much of my time keeping my kids out of mischief and following the British and Canadian news to prepare for pub trivia competitions.