Canadian Political Parties Essay Research Paper Through

Canadian Political Parties Essay, Research Paper Through Canada’s one hundred thirty years as a nation, it has developed and changed. These developments and changes have been influenced through the main

Canadian Political Parties Essay, Research Paper

Through Canada’s one hundred thirty years as a nation, it has developed and

changed. These developments and changes have been influenced through the main

political parties of Canada. The two main political parties of Canada throughout the

years have been the Progressive Conservative Party and the Liberal Party. The Reform

Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Bloc Quebecois, form the minority parties of

this country. Each one of these parties have their own views and policies that distinguish

their party from the other.

The Progressive Conservative Party is one of Canada’s two main political parties. *

The party originated as a coalition of conservative and liberal minded politicians in 1854,

although the present name was not taken until 1942. The party normally occupies the

right of center position in the political spectrum , and has usually had close ties with

Britain , but it lacks a distinct ideology like its political rival , the Liberal Party.

Under the leadership of John A. Macdonald , the Progressive Conservative Party

fashioned Canadian nationalism and economic development, and therefore was the

dominant party in the late 19th century throughout the nation. One problem of the party

in the early and middle stages of the 20th century was the party’s inability to win support

among the French Canadians in Quebec. This usually kept the Conservatives from power

on the national level , although they often won office in the English speaking provinces.

As Lower (1991) describes , “One of the major problems of the federal Conservatives has

been their inability to discover an inspiring leader who could conciliate and unite the

fractions of the party.” (pg. 186-187). The party controlled the government during World

* Rutherford, Paul, Microsoft Encarta, “Progressive Conservative Party”

War I, where by instituting conscription angered the French Canadians . During the

Depression , when the party failed to ameliorate the Depression along with its reputation

as a friend to big business also led to a major loss of support among English speaking

Canadians.

After the fall of the Conservatives, ” The Conservatives existed as a weak

alternative to successive Liberal governments, serving as advocates of the English

speaking community and the moderate right. “Rutherford, Paul, (1993), Progressive

Conservative Party. For brief periods during this time the Conservatives were in Office

under Prime Ministers John Diefendbaker (1958 – 1963) and Joe Clarke (1979 – 1980).

In 1984 , the Conservatives started at ten year reign, under Brian Mulroney. During this

time several unpopular decisions took place the Free Trade Agreement with the United

States, and the formation of the federal sales tax, caused the Conservative popularity to

decline. Mulroney resigned in1993, Kim Campbell finished off his existing term , then

later lost in the federal election to the Liberals . Today the Progressive Conservatives hold

only two seats in the House of Commons.

The Liberal Party, is another of Canada’s leading political parties. * The party was

formed soon after confederation out of a coalition of Ontario Reformers, Quebec Rouges

and Antiunionists from the Maritime Provinces. The Liberal Party first held power under

Alexander Mackenzie briefly, from (1873-78).

Early on the Liberal Party favored increased Canadian antonomy, freer trade with

the United States, various moral reforms, and a decentralized federalism. According to

the * Rutherford, Paul, Microsoft Encarta, “Liberal Party (Canada)”.

Liberal Party of Canada, “They are committed to the view that the dignity of each

individual man and women is the cardinal principle of democratic society and the primary

purpose of all political organizations and activity in such a society”. (Liberal Party of

Canada, 1997, pg. #1) Before the 20th century its success was based on efforts to satisfy

the disparate aims of French and English Canadians. Over time the Liberals formed a

strong federal government. According to Rutherford, the Liberals, led by Trudeau,

worked to preserve the power of the Central Government to limit U.S. economic power in

Canada, and to fashion a bilingual and bicultural nation, an effort climaxed by the defeat of

separation in a 1980 Quebec referendum. (Rutherford, 1993, “Progressive

Conservative”).

The popularityof the Liberal Party decreased in the 1980’s, however, because of

their opposition to the free-trade treaty of 1988 with the U.S and its support for the

Meech Lake Accord, the Liberal Party began to regain some of their popularity among

both the French and English speaking Canadians.

The Liberal Party of Canada, that is now in power is dedicated to the following

principles, individual freedom, responsibility and human dignity in society and political

freedom of meaningful participation amongst all people.

The Liberal Party recognizes that human dignity in a democratic system requires

that all citizens have access to full information concerning the policies and leadership of

the party.

The present Liberal Party believes that the following are the roles and purposes of

their party.

“1) Seek to achieve a common ground of understanding among the people

of the different provinces.

2) Advocate and support Liberal philosophies, principles and policies.

3) Promote the election of candidates of the Liberal Party of Canada.

4) Provide assistance and leadership to federal Liberal constituency

organizations to create a strong Liberal Party in Canada.

5) Act always to assist the individual member of the party to make his best

contribution to the political life of Canada.

6) Respect the principle of equal division between men and women in the

structure and operation of the Liberal Party. (Liberal Party of Canada,

1997, pg.#2).

These six roles and purposes of each are what the Liberals feel will win them the

next election.

The Reform Party of Canada is one of Canada’s minor political parties. In 1989

beside the three parties already represented in the House of Commons, there were other

registered federal political parties. One of these parties was the Reform Party of Canada,

which was the most influential and fastest growing minor party, based out of Alberta led

by Preston Manning.

The Reform Party of Canada is relatively new and has not made any big changes to

the country. However during the last election the party almost managed to be the official

opposition in only their first election were they had enough eligible ridings to do so.

The general reason for the Reform Party was because of western discontent. The

Reform Party of Canada was created in 1987 in Winnipeg. * Rependiatng separatism, the

party stated “We want into Confederation not out of it.” Its platform included demands for

* J. Authur Lower, CANADA, An Outline History, pg. # 30

a reformed Triple E. Senate, more national referenda, and a system of recall to establish

more responsible government.

The goals of the reformers are to form the next government by winning the next

federal election. Today almost all the Canadian provincial governments have achieved or

are working towards a balanced budget. Even the federal Liberal Government, which

Reformers believe they have pushed the government into doing so.

In 1992, the Reform Party was the only federal party to campaign for a NO vote in

the constitutional referendum. Also in 1993 another big break through for the Reform

Party occurred, in the federal election they emerged with 52 members of Parliament. “The

support for the Reform Party continues to grow across Canada. This has been shown in

many of the 1996 by – elections in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada that support for

the Reform has increased since the 1993 election” (The Reform Party of Canada, 1997,

pg. #3).

The Reform Parties objective is to reform the political system to provide more

fairness and balance in national decision making and more effective representation of the

interests of all Canadians in federal parliament.

The New Democratic seek fundamental change of government and the strength of

cooperation and community to advance our society.

” The party is part of a greater national and international movement that seeks to

challenge the dominant political agenda of market globalization and resulting

environmental, social, and economic problems” according to the party. ( Canada’s New

Democratic Party,1997, pg.#3)

The NDP believe its political activity is particularly important and has to be set

apart or distinguished from other parties or its opponents by the special symphasis it

provides to serious discussions and development of public policy positions. However this

is contradictory because their membership does not engage in more policy study than

other parties. In fact ” it appears they do less than both the Conservatives and the Reform

organizations.” ( Carty, 1994, pg. # 241).

* In 1993, the party suffered disaster in the federal election gaining only 8% of the

popular vote and retaining only 9 seats, which meant the loss of its official party status in

parliament.

The Bloc Quebecois party is a parliamentary movement made up of a group of

Quebec MP’s who originally left their respective parties in protest against the Conservative

governments unwillingness to change aspects of the Meech Lake Accord to favor Quebec.

The leader of the party was Lucien Bouchard, a former Tory Cabinet Minister. He was

elected as the party leader in June 1991.

During the 1993 election campaign, Bouchard argued that federalism had failed

and that sovereignty for Quebec was the only option for Canada. Whitehorn, Alan,

(1996), The Canadian Encyclopedia Plus, Bloc Quebecois. By allowing Quebec to

separate or to have sovereignty, the Bloc Quebecois believe its the only way to achieve

Quebec’s legitimate aspirations. Then once Quebec becomes sovereign Canada will also

be free to create the central government that the country has always wanted.

On October 25, 1993, Quebecois elected 54 Bloc Quebecois MP’s in the federal

election. They then formed the official opposition, lead by Lucien Bouchard. Bouchard

* Whitehorn, Alan, The Canadian Encyclopedia Plus, “New Democratic Party”.

resigned his seat in the house to become premier of Quebec in January 1996 and was

succeeded as leader by Michel Gauthier.

These are the five main political parties of Canada. Each of these parties have had

their own influences in the country, big or small. They have many differences in the way

they would each run this vast country, called Canada. However they all have one common

interest, this is to govern the greatest country in the world and to have a chance to

develop this young country into even a greater country.