A few weeks ago, Canada had a national election. They’re on the parliamentary system here, like in England, and a vote of “no confidence” by the Members of Parliament (MPs) regarding the ruling Conservative party meant that it was time for them to start over again and hold elections. And, like in England, the populace votes for whoever is going to represent their area – called a riding, here in Canada – and the party with the most MPs is the one who runs the government.
One of the things that my husband and I have enjoyed is what it’s like to be in a country that has more than 2 major political parties. In Canada, there are/were 4 major political parties.
1. The Conservative Party of Canada – nicknamed the Conservatives or the Tories, they are the party of the right, which, by the way, regained control of the government again after the recent election. (Then, why even have an election? Well, some things did change, but I did think it was interesting that the party in whom Parliament had no confidence is the one who is back in power.) They are like most right-leaning parties, favoring lower taxes, smaller government, more decentralized power and strong stances on “law and order.”
2. The Liberal Party of Canada – known as the Liberals or the Grits, are the oldest party in Canada. For over 2/3rds of the 20th century, this was the party that held power in Canada. Even though their name is “liberal,” they actually sit center (or centre, as they spell it here in Canada) or centre-left on most issues. While they support such things as balanced budgets and reduction of spending on social programs, they also supported same-sex marriage and the legalization of cannabis.
3. The New Democratic Party – otherwise known as the NDP. This is the party of the left. They’re big on social assistance, environmental stewardship, rights of the underprivileged, and higher corporate taxes. In their history, they were a populist, agrarian and democratic socialist party, but they’ve grown into a solidly liberal party. The big news for the NDP was that in this last election, for the first time, they had enough MPs elected to come in 2nd place, which makes them the “Official Opposition” party, a position they’ve never been in before and which they overtook from the Liberals.
4. Bloc Quebecois – sometimes referred to as “the Bloc” or BQ. This is my favorite (or favourite) party in all of Canada. It’s not that I’d ever vote for them, if I had the opportunity; it’s just that they’re so amazingly Canadian. Bloc Quebecois is a federal party with only one platform: to protect the interests of Quebec and to push for Quebec’s succession from Canada. Isn’t that amazing? That would be like having a major political party in the States whose sole purpose was protecting the rights of … say… Oregon and pushing for Oregon to succeed from the US. And, it’s not like this has been a fringe group. This has been one of the four major parties of Canada. However, the recent election was also a major event for Bloc Quebecois, in that for the first time, the NDP did better in Quebec than the Bloc did. The Bloc went from having 47 seats in Parliament to having just 4. Since they now have fewer than 12 seats, they lost their official party status, which means that each Bloc MP is treated like an independent and has to sit in the back row. (I kid you not.) Could this mean the end of Bloc Quebecois? We shall see.
Bet you didn’t think that Canadian politics could be so interesting?
You don’t think it’s interesting? Then, how about just amusing?