In Canadian politics a riding association
, officially called an electoral district association
(association de circonscription
) is the basic unit of a political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...
, that is it is the party's organization at the level of the electoral district
An electoral district in Canada, also known as a constituency or a riding, is a geographical constituency upon which Canada's representative democracy is based...
, or "riding". Major political parties attempt to have a riding association in each constituency though, usually, these associations are more active in ridings where the party has an elected Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...
or has a reasonable chance of electing an MP in the future, and less active in ridings where the party's prospects have historically been poor.
Most riding associations have an elected executive and attempt to have activities for local party members at regular intervals. At a minimum, riding associations hold an Annual General Meeting to elect its executive and meetings to elect delegates to national and regional party policy conventions. Riding associations are most active during election campaigns when they are responsible for organizing the riding's election campaign. In addition, the party constitution usually allows each riding association to hold a nomination meeting which selects the party's local candidate. However, some party constitutions allow the leader to bypass the riding association and appoint a candidate of his or her choosing.
The other time when riding associations are most active are in the lead up to leadership convention
In Canadian politics, a leadership convention is held by a political party when the party needs to choose a leader due to a vacancy or a challenge to the incumbent leader.- Overview :...
s. Riding associations were more important in this aspect in the past when they would elect supporters of a particular leadership candidate to participate as delegates at a leadership convention. Many parties, however, have moved away from the delegated system of electing a leader to a One Member One Vote system in which all party members vote by ballot.
However, as the riding association remains the prime point of contact between members and the party they remain important for leadership candidates in their attempt to gain support and prospective leadership candidates will often attempt to win control of a riding association's executive when it is elected at the Annual General Meeting even if a leadership election is not anticipated for several years.
Riding associations also exist at the provincial level and operate in the same manner.
- Constituency Labour Party
A Constituency Labour Party is an organisation of members of the British Labour Party who live in a particular UK parliamentary constituency in England, Scotland and Wales. The Labour Party in Northern Ireland has, since February 2009, been organised as a province-wide Constituency Labour Party...
, the counterpart in the Labour Party
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...
in the United Kingdom