Political Party System in Canada

8

2000

In the contemporary political scenario, the major players of the system are the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party, and the New Democratic Party. During the period 1945 to 1984, the Liberals were the usual governing party, the Conservatives the usual opposition, and the New Democratic Party the third party, and the election results of these parties support this view. In recent times, the New Democratic Party has grown more like the two old parties and it has now become more success-oriented and less ideologically committed. However, a reflective analysis of the constitutions of the Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic Parties of Canada confirms that the party system in the nation clearly lacks a clear ideological distinction among the various parties. As H. G. Thorburn maintains, "the Canadian party system has lacked a clear ideological distinction between the two old parties. The traditional distinctions were: Conservatives for Britain, the monarchy, a hierarchically structured society, Protestantism, protective tariffs, and the Liberals, the observe-sympathetic to the United States, democracy, and freer trade, and open to Catholics, French Canadians, and immigrants. These crude distinctions never really fitted in a comprehensive way, but before the Second World War they used to be the generally understood distinctions that marked the old parties." (Thorburn, 210) Therefore, the Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic Parties of Canada have several ideologies in common and a comparative analysis of the constitutions of these parties confirms this fact. A comparative analysis of the constitutions of the Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic Parties of Canada substantiates the view that the Canadian party system lacks a clear ideological distinction among the major parties. However, to distinguish among these political parties on the basis of their ideological components, they can be arranged on a left-right continuum – NDP on the left, the Liberals in the middle and Conservatives just to the right of Liberals. Canadian political parties agree that they can be arranged on a left-right continuum, NDP on the left, the Liberals in the middle and Conservatives just to the right of Liberals. One of the basic facts about the political character of the Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic Parties of Canada is that they observe their political policy closely and the origin and formation of each political party confirm the basis of their political ideologies. Thus, it becomes lucid that the New Democratic Party, commonly referred to as the NDP, is based on the leftist ideologies, as it is a social democratic political party, and its political stand confirms that it believes in the center-left ideologies. With its populist, agrarian and democratic socialist roots, the NDP has been the strong advocate of leftist ideologies. In the contemporary political context of Canada, the NDP has been particular to incorporate the ideologies of the New Left, and crucial issues such as gay rights, peace, and environmental protection are covered by its political ideologies in the contemporary scenario. The leftist leanings of the New Democratic Party become conspicuous when the constitution of the party is carefully analyzed.