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Leadership Convention

A leadership convention is a meeting of party members to select a leader of the party. Of the countries deriving their parliamentary system from the Westminster model, Canada alone has adopted and modified the American national party convention as the means for choosing its party leaders.

Article

Canadian Party System

Political parties are organizations that seek to control government. They participate in public affairs by nominating candidates for elections. ( See also Political Campaigning in Canada.) Since there are typically multiple groups that wish to do this, political parties are best thought of as part of a party system. This system dictates the way political parties conduct themselves in competition with one another. As of 2015, there were 23 registered political parties in Canada. The five major federal parties are the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party (NDP), the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party of Canada.

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Clear Grits

Clear Grits, Upper Canadian Reformers who became discontented with the conservatism of the Baldwin-LaFontaine ministry after 1849.

Macleans

Tobin Wins Election

It is the morning after his convincing win in Newfoundland's general election and, at first, Brian Tobin insists that he is too tired to speak at length to a battery of journalists who have questions about his plans for the province.

Article

Prime Minister of Canada

The prime minister (PM) is the head of the federal government. It is the most powerful position in Canadian politics. Prime ministers are not specifically elected to the position; instead, the PM is typically the leader of the party that has the most seats in the House of Commons. The prime minister controls the governing party and speaks for it; names senators and senior judges for appointment; and appoints and dismisses all members of Cabinet. As chair of Cabinet, the PM controls its agenda and greatly influences the activities and priorities of Parliament. In recent years, a debate has emerged about the growing power of prime ministers, and whether this threatens other democratic institutions.

Article

Coalition Governments in Canada

Coalition governments are created when different political parties co-operate by forming a temporary alliance large enough to enjoy the confidence of Parliament, allowing them to form a government. Members of all parties in the coalition are appointed to Cabinet. This sometimes happens when no single party has achieved a majority of seats in the House of Commons or provincial legislature. Federal coalitions normally appear during periods of crisis such as war or political breakdown. The strengthening of party affiliations and the development of the party system since Confederation has made coalitions more difficult to negotiate. Politicians have become wary of the long-term results of coalitions and are reluctant to introduce them.

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Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ)

Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) is a Québec political party founded in 2011 by Charles Sirois and François Legault, former Parti Québécois (PQ) member of the National Assembly (MNA) and cabinet minister. A centre-right political party, the CAQ merged with the Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ) in 2012. The 1 October election results allowed the Coalition Avenir Québec to form a majority government.

Macleans

Elections '97: The Platforms

Among political strategists, it is sometimes known as "the barbecue factor": the manner in which a once-hot candidate ends up cooked on election day. The principal example, one that many of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's strategists recall with a shudder, is former Ontario Liberal leader Lyn McLeod.

Macleans

Tobin Calls Election

At moments during last week's Liberal nomination meeting in the provincial riding of Humber East in Corner Brook, Nfld., the spirit of the legendary Joey Smallwood seemed to permeate the room. At the microphone, a pumped-up Brian Tobin, in a pugilist's stance, was in full rhetorical flight.

Article

Nationalism

Nationalism is the doctrine or practice of promoting the collective interests of a national community or STATE above those of individuals, regions or other nations.

Macleans

Throne Speech 1996

As Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's government tried to evoke a new era of Canadian team spirit in the House of Commons last week, it was no coincidence that the one premier who came to listen was Captain Canada himself.

Macleans

Chrétien's New Cabinet

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on June 23, 1997. Partner content is not updated.

As usual, the makeup of the cabinet sent out unmistakable signals about the government's priorities and intentions. In addition to Chrétien, there are 22 other Ontarians and Quebecers in the group, reflecting Liberal strength in the centre of the country.

Article

Bloc populaire canadien

The Bloc populaire canadien is an anti-conscription and nationalist political party of the 1940s. The party participated in federal elections and in Quebec provincial elections. The Bloc received some minor electoral successes, but, by 1948, its influence had drastically diminished and the party faded away.

Article

Electoral Reform in Canada

Electoral reform is the process of reviewing and reconfiguring the structure of electoral politics, i.e., the way in which voters elect their representatives. In Canada, electoral reform has historically occurred through reconfigurations of electoral ridings, or the extension of the right to vote to previously disenfranchised groups of people. Attempts have been made to change electoral systems on a number of occasions, at both the provincial and federal level. The matter was of specific interest throughout 2016 due to the Liberal Party’s pledge during the 2015 federal election campaign to enact reform by 2019. However, the Trudeau government abandoned this in February 2017, citing a lack of consensus on the issue.

Article

The Great Flag Debate

The long and often bitter debate over the new Canadian flag began in the House of Commons on 15 June 1964. It ended by closure on 15 December 1964. Feelings ran high among many English Canadians. Opposition leader John Diefenbaker demanded that the flag honour Canada’s “founding races” and feature the Union Jack. Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson insisted on a design that conveyed allegiance to Canada while avoiding colonial association. A prolonged, heated debate ensued. Historian Rick Archbold described it as “among the ugliest in the House of Commons history.” The new flag, designed by George Stanley with final touches by graphic artist Jacques Saint-Cyr, was approved on 15 December 1964 by a vote of 163 to 78. The royal proclamation was signed by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 January 1965. The national flag was officially unfurled on 15 February 1965.

Article

Editorial: The Stanley Flag and the “Distinctive Canadian Symbol”

Prime Minister Lester Pearson and John Matheson, one of his Liberal Members of Parliament, are widely considered the fathers of the Canadian flag. Their names were front and centre in 2015 during the tributes and celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the flag’s creation. But the role played by George Stanley is often lost in the story of how this iconic symbol came to be.