MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Christopher Alcantara

Geographical Areas

Norfolk County, Port Dover, Ontario


This study explores the dynamics of ‘bottom-up’ policymaking at the municipal level by analyzing the policy response of the local government to unsanctioned events, such as the annual Port Dover Friday the 13th Motorcycle Festival (PD13) from May 1981 to November 2019. Using this event as a case study, the project seeks to answer the following questions: what has been the local government’s policy approach to PD13? What factors explain this approach and are there alternative approaches to the one chosen? To answer these questions, the paper adopts a multi-method research strategy, which involved a historical review of relevant literature, four open ended in-person interviews and a survey of 16 policymakers with varying degrees of involvement in the September 13, 2019 event. Drawing upon the theoretical tools of punctuated equilibrium (PET) and Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) analysis, the findings suggest an episodic period emerged with respect to PD13, in which fourth order change or deuteron-learning occurred (Hall P. , 1993) (Visser, 2007). This period of joint shared learning was then utilized by experts to create a period of PET. Overall, these findings provide some useful ideas for creating a new framework to more effectively evaluate ‘bottom-up’ policy making to unsanctioned events similar to PD 13 at the local level.