The Best and Worst Thing About Each Canadian Political Party

What is your favourite and least favourite thing about  Canada’s federal parties?

As a Canadian who has intently followed US politics and is now endeavoring to take an active interest in the politics of my homeland, I would like to ask readers to share what they believe to be the best and worst things about each party. The intent of this exercise is to attract reflections of a range of views on the goods and bads of each party. By asking readers to identify what they like and dislike about each party, the hope is that more balanced appraisals will be given.

Thus, in addition to reflecting on your favourite thing about your favourite party, and the thing you detest the most about the party that you most dislike, I am very interested in hearing about the thing that you dislike the most about your favourite party, and the thing that you like the most about the party you like the least.

Whether you support the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Bloc Quebecois, the Greens, or none of the above,  your thoughts are wanted. Depending on the response to this post, I hope to do a follow-up post reflecting on what people of various perspectives have to say about the Canadian parties.

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6 thoughts on “The Best and Worst Thing About Each Canadian Political Party

  1. Although this didn’t get much activity I appreciate the Canadian content.

    All the parties are the same, liars and cheaters.

    Just in the news today, as Jean Chrétien told us ‘the people’ that Canada didn’t support the war in Iraq it secretly supported America anyways. I find it hard to believe that anyone who can benefit from us believing lies is going to be willing to tell the truth.

  2. Since I am not of Canada, I needed to look around a bit to see what each party is about. And here is what this outsider decided:

    Best Party name: The Pirate Party
    (Followed closely by the sex party)

    What I don’t like about the Liberal Party: They seem to be too similar to the conservative party. They also have wish to introduce a national food policy to support Canadian farmers. This sounds a lot like what people in the US like to do as well. I don’t understand why I want to take away the business of poor farmers in south america or africa just to give some more business to people around me – all life is valuable.

    What I don’t like about the conservative party: get off my back about what I want to do in the privacy of my own house. I don’t want more internet surveillance. They seem a little too like the Neo-cons in the US with regards to foreign policy and wars.

    What I don’t like about the NDP: I think many minimum wage laws and rent control actually hurt those that they are intended to help, and other ways of helping those in need should be explored before programs like this are expanded.

    What I don’t like about the Bloc: I do not really care about Quebec’s independence.

    What I like about Bloc: They seem to not care about many other issues, which means they probably wouldn’t be the cause of too much damage in those areas.

    What I like about NDP: Foreign policy that emphasizes diplomacy, wants to lower small business taxes, end the Canadian war on drugs.

    What I like about the Liberal Party: Pretty much nothing, they have all the bad stuff of the Conservative party, but none of the good.

    What I like about the Conservative Party: When property owned by a citizen is taken away to protect endangered species they suggest that they will work to give appropriate compensation to that citizen, which they seem to think is currently not happening. I am not sure if this is the case, but it is the only thing I saw that I really seemed to like from them.

    I think the NDP would win in my ranking, even though I disagree with them on many economic issues. The liberals and conservatives are just too similar and don’t really have enough good qualities to gain my support.

    This sounds very similar to in the US where the Republicans and Democrats are essentially the same, only here there is no strong third party to take the power away from them.

  3. Hey John,

    You might want to take a look at the Green Party of Canada; it’s got some interesting ideas.

    You spoke of how the Liberals seem to not differ much from the Conservatives. A fear I have is that with no strong tertiary parties, the Liberals turn into the Democrats: A party that gets much of its power not because people like them or because they are principled, effective politicians, but because people are deathly afraid of the other option. However, as has been seen over and over again in recent elections, a problem with having viable tertiary parties that all to varying degrees oppose one party that has the other pole of Canadian politics largely to itself is that they split the vote, allowing the party on the other pole to waltz to majority victory with less than 40% of the popular vote (this, by the way, is why the issue of electoral reform in Canada is a persistent issue of discussion).

    A few weeks ago, Cenk Uygur on The Young Turks discussed why he prefers the American 2-Party system to 3+-Party Parliamentary systems. His number one issue with the latter type of system is vote splitting among like parties, which can allow a minority party to gain majority control. Cenk argued that the best way is that of the 2-Party system with serious Primary competitions in which Party constituents can pick their candidates. With accessible competitive primaries, it could be a good system.

  4. In the election of US president John Quincy Adams, no candidate got a majority of the vote, and the constitution said then that the congress would choose between the top candidates. They picked Adams even though he was not the candidate with the most votes. So this can be a problem with more than 2 candidates, however if something like instant run-off voting is used this would be prevented. Also, the primary system would have to be much more formalized than it currently is because right now it seems that the parties can really make who they want to be the candidate end up winning the primaries.

    But the 3-party system isn’t a problem for things like the US senate or House because there isn’t a huge benefit to being the party with the most seats so there is no need to make a coalition government and they don’t select anything like a prime minister, so it would seem to work okay at that level, the problems is just with the president. Of course in my fantasy world the president would have slightly less power than he currently does (and significantly less than what people actually think he has), so even if a president wins with a plurality it wouldn’t be as large of a problem.

    Also, the 3 party thing won’t be as much of a problem if the NDP keeps gaining, maybe soon there won’t be a liberal party anymore (it will go the way of the Bloc).

    I do like how the Green Party of Canada is for lowering income and payroll taxes and they are for having municipalities control more infrastructure as opposed to this being done at a provincial and national level (I like the idea of strong local government). They want to cut subsidies to polluting companies, but I would want to cut subsidies to all companies. They seem to have a foreign policy I could live with. They want to tax and regulate cannabis, and I am not so sure about that – let people use it how they wish.

    Also, while I agree with much of their non-environmental policy, if they are anything like the environmentalists in the US they would not get along with me. I think the whole green economy is a little crazy, and I think that without a large decrease in power consumption there is no amount of green energy that could supply the energy needs of large countries. I believe I read somewhere that if we were to use only wind power, that to power the US we would need to put a turbine in pretty much every open plot of land throughout the world, and even now there is a real difficult time getting a turbine built because people don’t want it near them and/or it will still have environmental consequences considered unacceptable by the greens.

  5. The best thing about our Political Parties is that the average member believes in ‘x’ and gets involved. The worst thing about Political Parties and Party Politics is that the national party associations put ideology second to ‘winning’. They have collectively misinformed, misdirected and downright manipulated voters in the name of ‘democracy’ for no purpose other than to gain power.

    In its infancy, the Green Party still tries hard to hold to ideals. I wish them luck keeping them because Party Politics isn’t about issues, it is about Control and Power.

    Canadians need to stop supporting parties and get back to supporting candidates without Party Association whenever possible. Or at least candidates that commit to towing Constituency Line instead of Party Line in Ottawa. It is that or change to an PR system rather than FPTP. Even without FPTP ‘Political Parties’ will play their games. In my opinion that is why public support for PR isn’t as strong as one would expect. Canadians instinctively know the poison in the pie is the power of political parties….for all but the grassroots members who support their ideology.

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