2 What is a political party? An organized group of people who share similar ideas about the way in which government should operateWhat government should focus onWhat government should doHow government should do it
3 Political Party Like a team Provides a way for citizens to participate in governmentThe people that make up a political party are politically aligned at similar points on the political spectrumLiberal Party linkConservativeParty linkNDP link
4 Political Parties in Canada Political parties are active at the:Federal levelProvincial levelMunicipal government does NOT have political parties.
5 Blend of State and individual control Political SpectrumA tool used to help identify your political position (how you believe government ought to behave)Blend of State and individual controlState controlIndividual control
6 Political Spectrum continued PannellFEDERAL*LeftRightGeneralist Beliefs, Values, PoliciesUniversal Social ProgramsRehabilitation of CriminalsGovernment involved in economyMany civil and moral liberties (freedoms)Reason and sciencePacifismHigh taxes to pay for social programsGeneralist Beliefs, Values, PoliciesSelf-reliance (look after yourself)Retribution (eye for an eye)Free market economyTo keep and maintain traditional moral liberties (freedoms)Tradition / religionnationalismLow taxes
7 Federal Parties in Canada We have 3 main federal political parties:Conservative - blue (Stephen Harper)Liberals –red (Michael Ignatief)New Democratic Party (NDP)-Orange (Jack Layton)Also have:Block Quebecois (Quebec only)***Green Party (Yet to win a seat in the house of Commons)
8 Party PlatformsEach party has a party platform - package of ideas and policies that they believe are best for CanadiansThe party platform states the party’s position on various issues as: health care, foreign policy, unemployment, the environment.What the party will focus on (if elected government)What the party will do (if elected government)How the party will do it (if elected government)This position is consistent with the party’s position on the political spectrum.
9 The Election ProcessCanada is divided up into 308 areas called ridingsEach riding has to elects one person to represent it in the House of Commons – becoming the MPWithin each riding there is a race between those candidates hoping to win the most votesThe Candidate with the most votes wins the seat for their ridingThey become the MP for that riding
10 The Vote All Canadian Citizens 18 years and older can vote At a poling station near your home or workSchoolCommunity centreVoting for your MP. The person who will represent you in parliament.
11 The Election ProcessWhen an election is called each party selects a member from their party to run in each ridingThe winner of the most votes in a riding gets the seat in the house of commons and becomes the MP for that ridingThe party with the most seats becomes the governmentThe party with the second most seats becomes the opposition
13 An Election is Called Timing The Governor General calls the election, on the recommendation of the Prime MinisterMust be called every 5 years (maximum – Constitution)Also if government loses important vote in House of CommonsBudget vote 2011Or if government party gets new leader
14 Who Can Vote? must be Canadian citizen armed forces, prisoners, Canadians overseas may also vote by special ballot (mail-in)advance polls – for election workers/volunteers and anyone who may be away/busy on election daylaw says you must have 4 hours to vote
15 The Election Campaign Federal campaign must be minimum 36 days Used to be longerTravel time across countryNow by plane, TV and other mediaProvincial campaigns usually shorter
16 Cost of a CampaignElections Canada spends about $300 million on federal electionOnly the following may contribute to political parties:Citizens or permanent residents of CanadaBusinesses or associations in CanadaUnions in Canada
17 Campaign Strategy Local strategies in a particular riding: Door to door, signs, appear at clubs, schools, eventsSometimes has more to do with personality than partyNational or Provincial strategyFocuses on leader and party policyLeader’s tour is watched and judged by press and public
18 Minimum 2 televised debates between party leaders – one French, one English TV debates now very prepared – practice phrases, potential answers to questions, dress rehearsalsDebates
19 Advertising All parties pay for advertising on TV and radio Negative ads show weaknesses in opponentsPositive ads show strength of party’s own policiesThird party ads are run by businesses, interest groups or individuals who support certain candidates or parties.ads
20 Canada’s Election Process The idea that the person who wins the most votes in a riding takes the seat is called “First-Past-The-Post”That seat will usually belong to 1 or the 3 main political partiesElection day is like 308 separate races in Canada. 1 race per riding / region. The winner of each race becomes an MP, totally 308 MPsThis occurs at both the provincial and federal level
21 Results of Last Federal Election (Jan. 23, 2006) Source: Mapleleafweb Results of Last Federal Election (Jan. 23, 2006) Source: Mapleleafweb.comPolitical PartiesPopularVoteSeats WonStatusConservative Party of Canada36.2%125Minority GovernmentLiberal Party of Canada30.2%103Official OppositionBloc Quebecois10.5%51Minor PartyNew Democratic Party17.5%29Green Party of Canada4.5%--Independent0.1 %1
22 Forming the Government The party with the most seats becomes the governmentThat party’s leader becomes the Prime Minister.The Prime Minister then selects his Cabinet Ministers – those members of the government responsible for important files (Health, Environment, Finance, Defense…)Executive branch of governmentThe other party(s) form the opposition
23 Majority GovernmentThe party that wins more than 50% (155) of the 308 seats. – Becomes the Government (majority)The Government makes decisions by having a vote in the House of Commons.When we have a Majority Government, because they have more than 50% of the 308 seats in the House of Commons they will always win any vote that goes through the House of CommonsThey have all the power to make the changes they want
24 Minority GovernmentThe party with the most seats, but less than 50% (155) of the (308) seats in the House of Commons – Becomes the Government (minority)Minority Governments have less power since those MPs who are part of the ‘Opposition’ can vote together and:Have their idea put to a vote and pass or,Defeat a vote put forward by the GovernmentExample: Budget vote Conservatives need an opposition party to support their budget…….Outcome….Vote of Non-ConfidenceWhen the opposition parties vote against the Government