2008 Canadian Political Party Profiles

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Sep 8, 2008

Find detailed information on registered political parties competing in the 2008 federal election in Canada, including political party leadership, political party background information, and party election platforms.

Conservative Party of Canada

Quick Info

Party Leader

Stephen Harper

Status Prior to Dissolution

Government (minority)

Seats Prior to Dissolution

127

National Headquarters

Suite 1720, 130 Albert Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4

Telephone

866-808-8407, 613-755-2000

Website

http://www.conservative.ca

Party Background: On December 7, 2003, the Conservative Party was registered with Elections Canada. Formed as a result of a merger between the Canadian Alliance Party and the Progressive Conservative Party, the Conservative Party of Canada was an attempt to “unite the right” and provide a viable alternative to the Liberal Party. Stephen Harper of the Canadian Alliance and Peter McKay of the Progressive Conservatives initiated the merger, and Harper became the first leader of the Conservative Party in March 2004. The new Conservative Party maintains right-of-centre policies, focusing on such issues as fiscal accountability, smaller government, and moderate social conservatism.

For more background information on the Conservative Party of Canada:

Conservative Party of Canada 2008 Election Platform.


Liberal Party of Canada

Quick Info

Party Leader

Stéphane Dion

Status Prior to Dissolution

Official Opposition

Seats Prior to Dissolution

95

National Headquarters

81 Metcalfe Street, Suite 400
Ottawa ON  K1P 6M8

Telephone

613-237-0740

Website

http://www.liberal.ca

Party Background: The Liberal Party has its roots in the politics of 19th century Canada, with parties such as the Clear Grits in Upper Canada and the Rouges in Lower Canada. In 1916, when Wilfred Laurier was elected Prime Minister, the modern Liberals emerged as a powerful force in Canadian politics. Laurier capitalized on the alienation felt by French Canada at the hands of the Tories to promote a strong Liberal presence. The Liberal Party was in power in Canada for most of the 20th century. Throughout their leadership, they have focused on policies such as the welfare state, bilingualism, patriation of the constitution, free trade, multiculturalism, and eliminating the national deficit. The Liberal party has approached politics from a left-of-centre perspective, although sometimes being accused of “ruling from the right.” The party maintains that progress in health care, education, economic strength, and relationships in the international community are key factors in their policies.

For more background information on the Liberal Party of Canada:

Liberal Party of Canada 2008 Election Platform


New Democratic Party of Canada

Quick Info

Party Leader

Jack Layton

Status Prior to Dissolution

Opposition Party

Seats Prior to Dissolution

30

National Headquarters

300–279 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa ON  K1P 5J9

Telephone

1-866-525-2555, 613-236-3613

Website

www.ndp.ca/home

Party Background: The NDP has its roots in the social reform movements of the early 20th century, with well-known activists and politicians such as Agnes Macphail leading the way in the fight for social reform and women's rights. In 1961, a political convention in Ottawa brought together the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and affiliated unions of the Canadian Labour Congress to form the New Democratic Party. Tommy Douglas was selected as the new leader of the party. Registered on June 7, 1971, the NDP provides a democratic socialist political alternative in Canadian politics. The NDP supports open dialogue and political education to advance its goals of social justice, equality, and democracy. Human rights issues and cultural diversity have always been cornerstones of their party policy. Progressive policies regarding the environment, health care, education, and culture are all included in the basis of the NDP's socialist democratic policies.

For more background information on the New Democratic Party of Canada:

New Democratic Party of Canada 2008 Election Platform


Bloc Québécois

Quick Info

Party Leader

Gilles Duceppe

Status Prior to Dissolution

Opposition Party

Seats Prior to Dissolution

48

National Headquarters

3730 Crémazie Blvd. East
4th Floor
Montréal QC  H2A 1B4

Telephone

514-526-3000

Website

www.blocquebecois.org

Party Background: With the failure of the Meech Lake Accord in 1990, reforms that would recognize Quebec as a distinct society with special status within Confederation were not adopted. The Quebec independence movement was revived, with Lucien Bouchard leading the way. Bouchard became the first leader of the Bloc Québécois, a federal political party created out of discontent with the federal government to address the concerns of Quebec. The Bloc Québécois was registered on September 11, 1993, and won 54 seats in Parliament in the 1993 election, becoming Canada’s official opposition. Located only in Quebec, the Bloc Québécois is committed to affirming the existence of the Quebecois nation, defending the interests of Quebecois, and demanding recognition of its distinct place within Canada. In a 1995 referendum in Quebec, sovereignty was narrowly defeated and the Bloc Quebecois started to experience internal divisions. There were those in the party who support traditional ethnic nationalism, while others supported a less radical civil nationalism. The unifying feature that has always run through the Bloc Québécois is Quebec sovereignty.

For more background information on the Bloc Québécois:


Green Party of Canada

Quick Info

Party Leader

Elizabeth May

Status Prior to Dissolution

Opposition Party

Seats Prior to Dissolution

01

National Headquarters

204–396 Cooper Street
Ottawa ON  K2P 2H7

Telephone

1-866-868-3447

Website

www.greenparty.ca

Party Background: The civil rights, feminist, and peace movements of the 1960s and 1970s provided the roots for this party. The first Green Party was founded in 1983 in British Columbia, and became a registered political party on August 8, 1984. The long-term vision of the Green Party focuses on a healthy environment and a healthy society. Principles of ecological wisdom, social justice, diversity, gender equality, and sustainability are the basis of the Green Party's policies. A focus on grassroots democracy, bringing all people together to debate issues, is the means by which the Green Party wants to create change in Canada. The Party gained its first member in the Canadian House of Commons in 2008, when the formerly independent Member of Parliament, Blair Wilson, joined the Party.

For more background information on the Green Party of Canada:

Green Party of Canada 2008 Election Platform


Other Registered Federal Political Parties

Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada: Associates of two organizations, the Animal Alliance of Canada and the Environment Voters, established the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party in 2005. The Party seeks to promote progressive environmental and animal protection policies at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels. The Party was formed following the passing of federal legislation that placed limits on the election activities of “third parties”, such as the Animal Alliance and the Environment Voters.

For more information on the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada:

Canadian Action Party: Paul Hellyer founded in the Canadian Action Party in 1997 after much dissatisfaction with Liberal budgets. They were registered on May 13, 1997, and fielded 70 candidates in the 2000 election. The Canadian Action party is committed to Canadian independence while still maintaining full cooperation in the international community. Specifically, they are concerned with corporate globalization, and want to preserve strong domestic economics in order to maximize the welfare of Canadians. The party is also concerned with the USA’s dominance of Canada, and the abrogation of free trade agreements is an element of this which they pursue.

For more information on the Canadian Action Party:

Christian Heritage Party of Canada: The Christian Heritage Party was founded in November 1987 in Hamilton, Ontario, and became a registered political party in April 2004. The first leader of the party was Ed Vanwoudenberg. This party is based upon the preamble of the Canadian constitution, which says that Canada was founded on “principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” The policies of the Christian Heritage party focus on Christian perspectives and Biblical ethics.

For more information on the Christian Heritage Party of Canada:

Communist Party of Canada: The Communist Party was registered on Nov 8, 2000, but has been active in Canada ever since 1921. Inspired by the 1917 revolution in Russia, members of socialist and working class groups met in Ontario in 1921 to form the Communist Party, and became committed to fighting for workers' rights. Founders of this party include Sam and Julia Carr and Tim Buck. The struggles of workers, women, children, and minorities have played a leading role in the policies of this party. The long-term objective of the Communist Party is to unite the working class and its allies in a movement for socialism in Canada.

For more information on the Communist Party of Canada:

First Peoples National Party of Canada: Registered in 2005, the First Peoples National Party of Canada is an aboriginal-issue based political party. Its objective is to advance aboriginal issues by nominating candidates for elections in ridings with large aboriginal populations. Key policies include aboriginal self-government, treaty protection and implementation, and a “transformative integrated, coherent socio-economic initiative” that will address contemporary social and economic challenges faced by aboriginal peoples.

For more information on the First Peoples National Party of Canada:

Libertarian Party of Canada: The Libertarian Party was founded on the belief that individuals should be free to pursue their own goals without coercion from others. Libertarianism supports civil liberties and a free market economy, and opposes government intervention in reshaping citizen's lives. The Libertarian Party does not oppose government itself, but instead opposes the idea that government can solve all of people's problems. The party was formed in 1975, but lost support throughout the 1980s as parties such as the Bloc Quebecois and Reform became more viable options to promote the principles of Libertarianism.

For more information on the Libertarian Party of Canada:

Marijuana Party of Canada: In 1997, Marc Boris St-Maurice founded the Bloc Pot, a provincial political party in Quebec devoted to legalizing marijuana cultivation, possession, and use. In the 1998 Quebec general election, this party fielded 24 candidates. Their efforts expanded, and on November 6, 2000, the party was officially registered as a federal political party. A central goal of the Marijuana Party of Canada is the legalization of cannabis.

For more information on the Marijuana Party of Canada:

Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada: The writings of Hardial Bains have formed the basis of the Marxist-Leninist Party since 1967. The broad aim of this party is to create a socialist society as the transition to communism. On September 28, 1993, this party was registered with Elections Canada. The Marxist-Leninist party is focused on providing leadership for the working class, along with women and students, in guaranteeing the sovereignty of the people through a class struggle. Other aims of the Marxist-Leninist Party include increased funding for social programs, democratic renewal through a modern constitution, and withdrawing from all economic and military international agreements as a way to renew international relations.

For more information on the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada:

Neorhino.ca: Registered in 2007, the Neorhino party is the successor to the Rhinoceros Party of Canada. The Party, like its predecessor, promises not to keep any of its promises if elected. Early policy platforms included “taking away” soldiers weapons and replacing them with paintball guns, a mandatory national gas barbecue registry, and a guaranteed weekly orgasm.

For more information on the Neorhino party:

Progressive Canadian Party: The Progressive Canadian Party became eligible for registration with Elections Canada on March 26, 2004. This party was formed as a reaction to the merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives into the Conservative Party of Canada in late 2003. Organized by former Progressive Conservative MPs such as Joe Hueglin, the Progressive Canadian Party is intended to be the successor of the federal Progressive Conservatives. It is intended to be a centrist party, with many of its candidates being former Progressive Conservatives who could not reconcile themselves with the policies of the new Conservative Party.

For more information on the Progressive Canadian Party:

Western Block Party: The Western Block Party in 2005 by Doug Christie. The objective of the Party is the separation of Western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) from the rest of Canada, and the creation of an independent nation. The Party holds that there is an imbalance in Canadian federalism in which national institutions favour the interests of Central Canada (Ontario and Quebec).

For more information on the Western Block Party: