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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.

Article

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.

Article

Clear Grits

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

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

Dollar Falls

In Quebec, they call it referendum fever. And of all those who fell into its grip last week, perhaps no one was more surprised than René Lepage, director of the community health clinic in the lower St. Lawrence River town of Matane.

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

Politics on Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island has a minority Progressive Conservative government, elected 23 April 2019. The premier is Dennis King and the lieutenant-governor is Antoinette Perry. Peter Bevan-Baker leads the only Green Party opposition in Canada. Until 2019, only the Liberals or Progressive Conservatives had ever governed or formed the official opposition. The dominance of these two parties has led some to call PEI the purest two-party system in the country. Yet PEI has seen a number of electoral firsts: Aubin-Edmond Arsenault was Canada’s first Acadian premier; Joe Ghiz was Canada’s first premier of non-European descent; and Catherine Callbeck was the first woman in Canada to win an election as premier.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Conservative Party

The Conservative Party was the founding political party of Canada, governing for the first 29 years after Confederation. Since then, the party has not been as electorally successful as its rival Liberals. The Conservatives have had periods in power and long periods in opposition. The party has been most successful when it was able to assemble a national coalition of anglophone conservatives from the West and Ontario, and nationalists from Quebec. The party is currently led by interim leader Candice Bergen.

Macleans

Jane Stewart Scandal

No one ever suggested Mel Cappe was much of a micromanager. Cappe's reputation in Ottawa's public service is as a big-picture guy, a bureaucrat more interested in the sweep of policy-making than the dotted i's of program management.