MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Cameron Anderson

Geographical Areas



This research project explores the career ambitions of local politicians to seek office at higher levels of government. Testing theories from existing political ambition research in other jurisdictions, the paper explores factors of political ambition in Ontario through a survey of first-time local councillors and an archival study of past multi-level political careers. Success in politics can follow many paths, but results from the survey indicate that councillors who were younger, male, extraverted, and involved in partisan political activities were more likely to have ambitions for higher office. Further, while American political careers tend to move upward from local to federal government, in Ontario they are much more fluid, with politicians moving between different levels of government throughout the span of their careers.