The Big Blue Machine


An inside account of the Progressive Conservative’s campaign organization.

The Progressive Conservative Party’s “big blue machine” pioneered electoral techniques of centralized control, communications, campaign advertising, polling, policy-presentation, and fund-raising. Inspired by Dalton Camp and Norman Atkins, its widespread yet close-knit network of organizers and specialists changed how Canadian campaigns were fought, even as their “political machine” transformed Canadian public life itself.

J. Patrick Boyer’s behind-the-scenes account reveals how and why the blue machine’s campaign innovations (most imported from the U.S.) transformed Canadian politics forever. Boyer’s direct experience in these changes, and interviews with key players from Tory backrooms, enrich his authentic and timely account. This saga of the formidable campaign organization operating inside the Progressive Conservative Party for more than four decades shows why the big blue machine deservedly became a Canadian political legend.


This is the book that has been missing from the annals of Canadian political history — a thorough, fascinating, and well-written story of how campaigning and political advertising were changed forever by the legendary Big Blue Machine.

Susan Delacourt, author of Shopping For Votes: How Canadian Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them

Patrick Boyer’s new book The Big Blue Machine is a must-read for any candidate or campaign worker planning to get involved in the Conservative leadership.

Toronto Sun

About the Author

J. Patrick Boyer

Posted by Kendra on October 21, 2014

J. Patrick Boyer

J. Patrick Boyer studied law at the International Court of Justice in The Netherlands, served as Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary for External Affairs, and works for democratic development overseas. The author of twenty-three books on Canadian history, law, politics, and governance, Patrick lives with wife, Elise, in Muskoka and Toronto.