Website Biography


Tom Flanagan studied political science at Notre Dame University, the Free University of West Berlin, and Duke University, where he received his Ph.D.  He has taught political science at the University of Calgary since 1968.  He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1996, and was named University Professor in 2007.  He retired from the Political Science Department in 2013 but continues to teach in the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.

           Tom is best known as a scholar for his books on Louis Riel, the North-West Rebellion, and aboriginal land claims.  His book First Nations? Second Thoughts received both the Donner Prize and the Canadian Political Science Association’s Donald Smiley Prize for the best book on Canadian politics published in the year 2000.  His more recent book Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights explains how Canada’s First Nations can enjoy the institution of private property on their land reserves.  Co-authored with Chris Alcantara and André Le Dressay, with a foreword by Manny Jules, it was short-listed for the Donner Prize in 2011.  Tom is continuing his work on aboriginal property rights and economic development as Chair of the Aboriginal Futures research program with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Tom has also published on Canadian politics, elections, political parties, and game theory as a tool for understanding political life, and has worked as chief of staff and campaign manager for Preston Manning, Stephen Harper, and Danielle Smith.  He managed Stephen Harper’s campaigns for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance (2002) and of the Conservative Party of Canada (2004), as well as the Conservative Party’s national election campaign in 2004.  He was the Senior Communications Adviser in the Conservative war room during the 2005-06 election campaign.  These experiences are described in his book Harper’s Team: Behind the Scenes in the Conservative Rise to Power (2nd ed., 2009). He also managed the campaign of the Wildrose Party in the 2012 Alberta provincial election.

His most recent books are Winning Power: Canadian Campaigning in the 21st Century (2013) and Persona non Grata: The Death of Free Speech in the Internet Age (2013).