Portal:Canadian politics

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The Politics of Canada Portal

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The politics of Canada function within a framework of parliamentary democracy and a federal system of parliamentary government with strong democratic traditions. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, in which the monarch is head of state. The country has a multi-party system in which many of its legislative practices derive from the unwritten conventions of and precedents set by the Westminster parliament of the United Kingdom. However, Canada has evolved variations: party discipline in Canada is stronger than in the United Kingdom, and more parliamentary votes are considered motions of confidence, which tends to diminish the role of non-Cabinet members of parliament (MPs). Such members, in the government caucus, and junior or lower-profile members of opposition caucuses, are known as backbenchers. Backbenchers can, however, exert their influence by sitting in parliamentary committees, like the Public Accounts Committee or the National Defence Committee.

The two dominant political parties in Canada have historically been the Liberal Party of Canada and Conservative Party of Canada (or its predecessors), however, the social democratic New Democratic Party (NDP) has risen to prominence and even threatened to upset the two other established parties during the 2011 federal election and the 2015 federal election. Smaller parties like the Quebec nationalist Bloc Québécois and the Green Party of Canada have also been able to exert their own influence over the political process. Far-right and far-left politics have never been a prominent force in Canadian society.

The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Canada as a "full democracy" in 2016.

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John A Macdonald election poster 1891.jpg
The following article provides a summary of results for the general (all seats contested) elections to the House of Commons, the elected lower half of Canada's federal bicameral legislative body, the Parliament of Canada. The number of seats has increased steadily over time, from 180 for the first election to the current total of 308. The current federal government structure was established in 1867 by the Constitution Act.

For federal by-elections (for one or a few seats as a result of retirement, etc.) see List of federal by-elections in Canada. For the eight general elections of the Province of Canada held in 1843 to 1864 before confederation in 1867, see List of elections in the Province of Canada. There were also earlier elections in Canada, such as for the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada (held in 1792–1836, now part of Ontario) and the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada (held in 1792–1834, now part of Quebec).

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Tommy Douglas, NDP leader 1961-1971
The New Democratic Party (French: Nouveau Parti démocratique), commonly referred to as the NDP, is a social democratic political party in Canada. The party is regarded as falling on the left in the Canadian political spectrum.[1] The provincial NDP parties in Manitoba and Nova Scotia currently form the government in those provinces, and provincial parties have previously formed governments in British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan and in the Yukon.

In 1956, after the birth of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) by a merger of two previous labour congresses, negotiations began between the CLC and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) to bring about an alliance between organized labour and the political left in Canada. In 1958 a joint CCF-CLC committee, the National Committee for the New Party (NCNP), was formed to create a "new" social democratic political party, with ten members from each group. The NCNP spent the next three years laying down the foundations of the New Party. During this process, a large number of New Party Clubs were established to allow like-minded Canadians to join in its founding, and six representatives from New Party Clubs were added to the National Committee. In 1961, at the end of a five-day long Founding Convention which established its principles, policies and structures, the New Democratic Party was born and Tommy Douglas, the long-time CCF Premier of Saskatchewan, was elected its first leader. In 1960, before the NDP was founded, one candidate, Walter Pitman, won a by-election under the New Party banner.

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Anti-conscription parade at Victoria Square.jpg
1917 Anti-conscription parade at Victoria Square, Montreal

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Jack Layton - 2011.jpg
John Gilbert "Jack" Layton, PC (July 18, 1950 – August 22, 2011) was a Canadian social democratic politician and the Leader of the Official Opposition. He was the leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011, and previously sat on Toronto City Council, serving at times during that period as acting mayor and deputy mayor of Toronto. He was the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Toronto—Danforth from 2004 until his death.

In the 2011 election, Layton led the NDP to the most successful result in the party's history winning 103 seats, enough to form Canada's Official Opposition. Federal support for Layton and the NDP in the election was unprecedented, especially in the province of Quebec where the party won 59 out of 75 seats. On May 18, 2011, Layton was sworn in as Leader of the Opposition in the 41st Canadian Parliament. Layton died on August 22, 2011, aged 61, after suffering from an undisclosed type of cancer. He was married to fellow MP Olivia Chow.

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The Canadian federal election of 1945 was the 20th general election in Canadian history. It was held June 11, 1945 to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons of the 20th Parliament of Canada. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King's Liberal government was re-elected to its third consecutive government, although this time with a minority government as the Liberals fell 9 seats short of a majority.

1945 was also the first test of the newly named Progressive Conservatives. The Conservative Party had changed its name in 1942 when former Progressive Party Premier of Manitoba John Bracken became its leader. The party improved its standing over the old Conservative Party, but fell far short of challenging Liberal hegemony.

The federal election was the first since the victory of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation in the Saskatchewan provincial election, and many predicted a major breakthrough for the CCF nationally. A Gallup poll from September 1943 showed the CCF with a one point lead over both the Liberals and Conservatives. The party was expected to win 70 to 100 seats, possibly even enough to form a minority government. Despite the expectations, the party only won 28 seats.
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  1. ^ Penniman, Howard (1988). Canada at the polls, 1984: a study of the federal general elections. Duke University Press. p. 218. ISBN 9780822308218.