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Macleans

Tobin Fights Fish War at the UN

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on April 10, 1995. Partner content is not updated.

The year was 1980 and a 25-year-old Brian Tobin badly needed advice. Grit organizers wanted Tobin, a cocky former radio disc jockey, television newscaster and provincial Liberal party operative, to run in a traditionally Tory riding on Newfoundland's west coast.

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Political Campaigning in Canada

A political campaign is an organized effort to secure the nomination and election of people seeking public office. In a representative democracy, electoral campaigns are the primary means by which voters are informed of a political party’s policy or a candidate’s views. The conduct of campaigns in Canada has evolved gradually over nearly two centuries. It has adapted mostly British and American campaign practices to the needs of a parliamentary federation with two official languages. Campaigns occur at the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal levels. Federal and provincial campaigns are party contests in which candidates represent political parties. Municipal campaigns — and those of Northwest Territories and Nunavut — are contested by individuals, not by parties.

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Parti bleu

Favouring an attitude known as la survivance and opposing the anticlerical and radical Parti rouge, the Parti bleu received the support of the Roman Catholic clergy, making it the most powerful political party in Canada East (Québec).

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Great Coalition of 1864

The politics of the Province of Canada in the early 1860s were marked by instability and deadlock. The Great Coalition of 1864 proved to be a turning point in Canadian history. It proved remarkably successful in breaking the logjam of central Canadian politics and in helping to create a new country. The coalition united Reformers and Conservatives in the cause of constitutional reform. It paved the way for the Charlottetown Conference and Confederation.  

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Canada First

Canada First, nationalist movement founded 1868 by Ontarians George Denison, Henry Morgan, Charles Mair and William Foster and by Robert Grant Haliburton, a Nova Scotian living in Ottawa.

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Munsinger Affair

Between 1958 and 1961 Pierre SÉVIGNY , John DIEFENBAKER's associate minister of national defence, had an affair with Gerda Munsinger, a German immigrant. Acting on information from American sources, the RCMP warned

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Québec Provincial Police

In 1838 Lord DURHAM established a municipal police force for Montréal and Québec, and a rural force with jurisdiction over the rest of the province. Its structure was reorganized in 1938 by Maurice Duplessis, who at the time was both premier and solicitor general of the province.

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Parti Québécois

The Parti Québécois (PQ) is a nationalist (see Francophone Nationalism in Quebec) political party formed in Quebec in 1968 through the merger of the Mouvement souveraineté-association (see Sovereignty-Association) and the Ralliement national. René Lévesque was the PQ’s first leader and held that position until 1985. The party was elected to its first term in office in 1976 and went on to hold two referendums on Quebec sovereignty: one in 1980 and the other in 1995. (See Quebec Referendum (1980); Quebec Referendum (1995).) Since October 2020, the party leader is Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

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Saskatchewan Party

The Saskatchewan Party is a provincial political party formed in 1997 by a coalition of Liberals and Progressive Conservatives seeking to offer a viable governing alternative to the New Democratic Party (NDP). Since 2007, the Saskatchewan Party has won three straight elections, holding power in the province under leader and Premier Brad Wall. In 2018, Wall stepped down and was replaced as premier and party leader by Scott Moe, who served in Wall’s executive council from 2014 to 2017.

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Somalia Affair

In 1992–93, Canada contributed military forces to UNITAF, a United Nations–backed humanitarian mission in the African nation of Somalia. In 1993, Canadian soldiers from the now-defunct Airborne Regiment tortured and killed a Somali teenager named Shidane Arone. These and other violent abuses during the mission shocked Canadians and damaged the country’s international reputation. They also led to a public inquiry that revealed serious failures of leadership at the highest levels of the Canadian Armed Forces, kick-starting reforms aimed a professionalizing the officer corps.

This article contains sensitive material that may not be suitable for all audiences.

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Green Party of Canada

The Green Party of Canada is a federal political party that advocates environmentalism as the key to a sustainable society. Annamie Paul was elected in 2020 to become the party’s leader, replacing Elizabeth May. Paul became the first Black Canadian and the first Jewish Canadian woman to permanently lead a federal political party. She resigned as leader after the party’s poor performance in the September 2021 federal election.

Two Green Party candidates were elected to the House of Commons in the 2021 election. (See Member of Parliament.)

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Elections of 1979 and 1980

Calling elections is like Goldilocks visiting the three bears — which political stew will turn out to be too soon, too late, or just right? The elections of 1979 and 1980 illustrate the perils of too late, followed by too soon.

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Political Party Financing in Canada

The financial activities of political parties in Canada were largely unregulated until the Election Expenses Act was passed in 1974. Canada now has an extensive regime regulating federal political party financing; both during and outside of election periods. Such regulation encourages greater transparency of political party activities. It also ensures a fair electoral arena that limits the advantages of those with more money. Political parties and candidates are funded both privately and publicly. Election finance laws govern how parties and candidates are funded; as well as the ways in which they can spend money. (See also Canadian Electoral System.)

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Omar Khadr Case

Omar Khadr is a Toronto-born Canadian, captured by American soldiers after a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002, when he was 15 years old. The only minor since the Second World War to be convicted of purported war crimes, Khadr was imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay and Canada for almost 13 years in total. In 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Khadr’s detainment violated “the principles of fundamental justice” and “the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of youth suspects.” Despite repeated attempts by the Canadian government to keep him in prison, Khadr was released on bail in May 2015. In July 2017, he received $10.5 million in compensation from the government for Canada’s role in violating his constitutional rights. In March 2019, an Alberta judge declared that Khadr had completed his war crimes sentence, making him a free man.

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Cannabis Legalization in Canada

Cannabis, also known as marijuana (among countless other names), is a psychoactive intoxicant that was banned in Canada from 1923 until medical cannabis became legal in 2001. The consumption and sale of recreational cannabis was legalized and regulated on 17 October 2018, after Parliament passed Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act. Legalization was supported by a majority of Canadians, despite concerns about the drug’s addictiveness and health effects, especially among young people.