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Chapter 9: Parties and Elections

CBC Archives

Birth of the NDP
A notable distinction between the political systems of Canada and the United States is the existence of a viable socialist party in Canada, the New Democratic Party (NDP). In this report we witness the birth of the NDP and learn of an inherent conflict between farming and labour interests, which form two pillars of the new party. The NDP, which unites the CCF and the Canadian Labour Congress, has bold ideas about bringing a new brand of politics to the national stage.

Mulroney Versus Turner on Patronage Appointments
In modern Canadian politics, the result of an election can turn on a single event in a campaign. When the 1984 election campaign kicked off, John Turner enjoyed a comfortable lead in the polls ahead of Brian Mulroney and his Progressive Conservatives. But the tide drastically turned as the two entered the 1984 televised debates. In this clip from the English language debate we see a pivotal exchange between Mulroney and Turner over the question of patronage.

Stockwell Day's Campaign Gaffe
In politics today a candidate seen as particularly gaffe-prone can quickly lose credibility. This was the case with Stockwell Day, the leader of the Canadian Alliance, in the 2000 election.  This report tells the story of Day trying to make a sensational allegation at scenic Niagara Falls.  ‘Just as Lake Erie drains from north to south’, says Day ‘there is an ongoing drain in terms of our young people’. But, as this CBC TV clip shows, Day's message is lost when it's pointed out to him that Lake Erie drains into Canada, not out of it.

Trudeaumania, 1968
It was the swinging sixties and Pierre Trudeau was the new prime minister.Trudeaumania swept the land as Canada celebrated its centennial year in 1968. In this report we hear from some young students who've taken the day off school to watch a campaign speech by Trudeau. They seem to want Trudeau to win the upcoming election. Why?  One youngster explains: "Because he's handsome, and a swinger, too." 

Proportional Representation
Critics of Canada's first-past-the-post electoral system say it fails to accurately represent the popular vote. In this report we learn of the 2000 election in Prince Edward Island where the Liberal party received a third of the vote but got only one seat. This result serves as background for a look at an alternative to the first-past-the-post system, proportional representation.

TVO's The Agenda

Broken Party Politics
Are our political parties are broken? This is one of the questions The Agenda tackled in the special series Politics is Broken. Watch the discussion featuring Alison Loat, “Broken Party Politics,” by scrolling to the end of this blog post.