Systematic empirical research into the process of political leadership recruitment has made substantial progress since World War II with emphasis given to those who occupy formal positions of authority within the political system, specifically, legislators and party activists. Generally such studies have been concerned with delineating (a) who the leaders are, (b) how and why they are where they are, and (c) the variables affecting (a) and (b).
The most ambitious recent studies, in the sense that they try to deal systematically with all three aspects of recruitment, are those by Samuel J. Eldersveld, Austin Ranney, and Henry Valen. Their research, and the examples cited of other scholarship, have yielded a substantial number of propositions. Three which lend themselves to testing with data we have gathered on the recruitment of candidates for the Canadian House of Commons, 1945–65, are:
1) The status of individuals recruited by a party in part is a function of the party's competitive positions. (Key, Snowiss).
2) The status of individuals recruited by a party varies with the party's position on an ideological continuum (Eldersveld, Ranney, Marvick and Nixon, Valen).
3) Relative urbanism and the degree of industrialization of communities affect recruitment patterns (Rokkan and Valen, Valen, Snowiss). In the present instance there should be a positive relationship between urbanism and the mean status of candidates.
In testing these propositions we will compare, whenever such comparisons appear appropriate, the data for Canadian parliamentary candidates with findings from some of the previously cited studies and also indicate how, in Canada, multi-partyism is related to the status of recruited candidates.