Liberal Party of Canada
“”The Conservatives have the right-wing, The NDP have the left-wing. The Liberals have two wings and that's why we can fly.
|—Eugene Whelan, perestroika catalyst|
The federal party is currently led by widely acknowleged dreamboat Justin Trudeau, Pierre's son. The Liberal Party also has counterparts in most Canadian provinces and territories for provincial government.
The Liberals are descended from the mid-19th century Reformers who agitated British North America. These included George Brown, Robert Baldwin and William Lyon Mackenzie, Joseph Howe in Nova Scotia and the Patriotes in Lower Canada led by the charismatic Louis-Joseph Papineau. The party promoted Canadian independence from the rule of England for many decades.
The Liberals' only policy is to adopt whatever is popular in the country at the time:
- Fully implemented the welfare state and many other safety net social policies that were introduced to Canada by the New Democratic Party (NDP), the country's social democratic party.
- Strongly opposed Quebec separatism and supports a strong federalist Canada.
- Legalized same sex marriage and currently supports medical marijuana and the legalization of recreational marijuana.
- Wish to to place tighter restrictions or outright ban semi-automatic rifles and hand guns.
- Wish to increase social spending to shorten hospital wait times, improve health care, as well as render more assistance to aboriginals, the elderly, and immigrants.
The Liberals currently hold 184 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons, which they won in the 2015 election. Previously, they were relegated to third place for the first time ever after the Conservative Party and the New Democrats, but we needn't talk about those dark days no more. The Liberal Party also holds 47 of the 105 seats in the Canadian Senate. Or, they did until Justin Trudeau abolished the Liberal caucus in the Senate. They now sit as independents.
Being a party of the political centre (or, of the extreme left by the standards of American politics), the Liberals are subjected to harsh and frequent criticism from both the Conservatives and the New Democrats. Both parties charge that the Liberals are arrogant (which, seeing as journalists and academic still sometimes refer to them as "Canada's Natural Governing Party" may have some basis in fact) and willing to abandon principle for political expediency. As evidence, critics cite the party's habit of "borrowing" popular policy planks from various ideological rivals, such as NDP in the 60s and 70s and the borderline-wingnut Reform Party in the 90s. This habit also has the side effect of making the Liberal Party drift across the ideological spectrum over time, leading to charges that Liberals don't really "believe in anything." Liberals generally answer this by claiming that they pursue the "best policy," regardless of ideology. Moreover, New Democrats and Conservatives each maintain that the Liberal Party is "Conservative-lite" or "NDP-lite," respectively, with both claiming that the Liberals under Ignatieff were little more than lapdogs for the opposing party.
- See the Wikipedia article on Eugene Whelan.
- Provincial Liberal parties aren't necessarily related to the Federal party. since the 1960s, there has been no formal association between the Liberal Party of Quebec and the federal party beyond a similar name. The British Columbia Liberal Party have a much closer relationship to the federal Conservatives than to the Liberals.