When you examine the politics of Canada you must examine all the Canadian political parties both federal and provincial. However, the incongruity of parties among these levels of government can be understandably confusing to some, especially young people and newcomers to this great country. If you ever wanted to get a quick an easy summary of the political parties in Canada, you came to the right place.
This article lays out in admittedly and purposely simple terms the ideologies of the federal political parties in Canada and provides a quick summary of each. It is meant to be simple and non-exhaustive. It is intended to act as a quick reference.
I believe that the best way for people who don’t know a thing about Canadian politics but who want to learn is to first look at the federal Canadian political parties. These parties form the basis of party politics as most of the federal parties have provincial arms as well. However, some provinces’ main parties are not associated with any federal party although they may have close ties to a specific federal party.
To keep things simple I will focus strictly on the federal parties. There are five main political parties in Canada and in this piece I will provide a short summary of each.
Conservative Party (current government)
-social and fiscal conservatism
-right-libertarianism, market economy
Leader: Stephen Harper – Prime Minister of Canada
Summary: On the classic political spectrum the Conservative party of Canada falls on the right to the centre-right. Current seats in the House of Commons: 143
-The ‘Third Way’
-moderate politics, mixed economy
Leader: Michael Ignatieff
Summary: Official opposition in parliament. Governed Canada for most of the 20th century. Widely considered to be centre-left to centre on the political spectrum. Current seats in the House of Commons: 77
-nominates candidates in Quebec only
Leader: Gilles Duceppe
Summary: Third largest amount of seats in the House of commons. The vast majority of the Bloc’s members and supporters advocate for Quebec to separate from Canada and become an independent nation. The party falls on the left wing of the political spectrum. Current seats in the House of Commons: 47
New Democratic Party
-‘New Left’ politics
Leader: Jack Layton
Summary: Considered a “progressive party” When it comes to the political spectrum, the party would fall somewhere between the left and centre-left although it a little closer to the centre-left. The NDP is further to the left than the Liberals however. Current seats in the House of Commons: 36
-see “green politics”
Leader: Elizabeth May
Summary: As of 2009 the Greens are polling an average of 8-12%. While technically Greens have factions that fall on all sides of the political spectrum, the Green Party of Canada’s ideology is widely considered to be left wing. Current seats in the House of Commons: none.
I hope this has been helpful to anyone interested in understanding the basics of the Canadian political parties. Thanks for reading!
Graphics Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada