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How Do Canada and the United States Differ Politically? (Part 4)

jameet singh
In this five-part series, we will explore how Canada and the United States differ in terms of politics. Are we really so different?

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This is only my opinion, and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.

Now, in Part 4, I am going to discuss political parties.  This one is extremely fascinating because of how the Canadian system works.  As you’re aware, in the United States, we have two parties, but in Canada, they have five political parties.  Five!   It seems like that would make things confusing, so let’s talk about that. As I said, in the United States, we have the Republicans and the Democrats.  It’s kind of boring, isn’t it? We all know what causes the Dems support, or what kinds of bills the Republicans want to push through.  But what would our political system look like if there were more parties?

To clarify, when I said there were five federal political parties, I meant five that are recognized.  And when I say recognized, I mean parties that are represented in the House of Commons.  Translation? At least one person from that party has been voted into the House. That said, there are many, many more parties who attempt to get representatives elected.  Let’s talk about the five main parties:

The Liberal Party of Canada

The Liberal Party of Canada is the oldest federal political party in Canada.  They are currently the party of the government, and the leader of the party is Justin Trudeau.  The Liberal party traditionally sits around the center mark on the political spectrum, or slightly to the left, making them known as social liberals.

The Conservative Party of Canada

The Conservative Party of Canada sits on the right side of the Canadian political spectrum.  They are the official opposition party and are a relatively new party.  They’re new, in that they are a merger of the Canadian Alliance Party and the Progressive Conservative Party.  The Alliance Party was viewed as being very far to the right, and when they merged with the Progressive Conservatives, it was seen as a way to soften their policies.

The New Democratic Party

The New Democratic Party is a social democratic party.  This party was a merger of two, left-wing parties back in the 1960s.  In the elections, historically, the NDP has been often the third or fourth largest party in Parliament.  Also, at times, the NDP has found itself aligned with the Liberal Party in order to help further the left wing political cause.

vive le quebec livre

Bloc Québécois

The purpose of the BlocQuébécois is to promote nationalism and Quebec sovereignty.  The Bloc was formed by Members of Parliament who defected from the federal Progressive Conservative and Liberal Parties in the early 1990s. This party seeks to create conditions necessary for the political secession of Quebec from the rest of Canada.  They currently only have five seats in the House of Commons, but they have had as many as 54.

Green Party of Canada

The Green Party of Canada is a broad multi-issue political platform that reflects values of ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, and non-violence.  This party currently only has one seat in the House of Commons but has a strong presence during the elections.

Having this many parties does seem to make things more complicated.  The U.S. system does suggest a more black and white approach (no pun intended), so which is better?  There isn’t one system that would allow for all people to have their voices heard via the parties, so is more actually better?  The Canadian system does seem to represent the political spectrum in a more diverse way.  The Democrats aren’t really that far left of center, if at all.  So the U.S. system is really just a right of center political spectrum.  While the Democrats do tend to advocate for more social programs and policies, overall, I think they still don’t get as far as they could.

I’m really torn with this one.  I tend to advocate for a “less is more” type approach, which would see me favoring the United States, but when I think about diversity across the political spectrum, the Canadian system does sound more appealing.  I will leave you with this question – could the United States sustain more than one political party?

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