Comparing the Political Parties

Election 2011

With a Canadian election coming up on May 2nd, it’s important to take a look at just what the various political parties stand for. I’ve spent the past week or so reading over the official party platforms for the major national parties. (I’ll admit, I only got about half-way through the Green Party platform. It’s not my fault that it’s so ridiculously long.) In the process of reading them, I condensed their various “promises” or proposed actions to create a list of what each party says they will do.

I’ve now created a handy little web app to help you compare the platforms for the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, and the New Democratic Party. You can find it here.

2011 Canadian Election Party PlatformsSo what did I find? Well, there were a few interesting things that stuck out to me, although I’m sure there is much more information that you can find by comparing them yourself. First, all three parties have a robust plan for stimulating the economy. That could probably go without saying. But the way they go about it is very different. The Conservatives put their stimulus money in the hands of businesses—tax breaks, fewer regulations, promotion of certain industry sectors, and so on. The Liberals and the NDP, on the other hand, want to raise funds by raising the corporate tax rate and then putting the resulting money in the hands of Canadians. Then again, that’s been pretty well-established at this point.

Another major difference is in the approach toward environmental issues. Both the Liberals and NDP support a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, and much in the way of developing in “green” technology to combat climate change. The Conservatives, on the other hand, barely mention climate change, and make no specific promises to do anything about it. They do mention a few things about clean energy, but very little. All this essentially means that if you care one iota about climate change, greenhouse gases, etc., the Conservative Party probably isn’t your best bet at getting something done about it.

The NDP have much to say about equality, strengthening support for the middle class, and concern for vulnerable groups such as immigrants, seniors, persons with disabilities, and so on. This is, of course, nothing new from the NDP by any means. But they place far more emphasis than any of the other parties on these issues. They have many promises about pensions, EI benefits, maternity leave, support for First Nations, and women’s equality. Anyone with a passion for social justice issues or working-class families should strongly consider the NDP.

The Liberal party seems to be most strongly oriented toward the future. They place a strong emphasis on supporting education, on strengthening Canada’s international connections and attention on the world stage, and embracing the growing role of technology and scientific research. Although all the parties have a forward-looking perspective, of course, the Liberals seem especially focused on grasping onto tools which will put us in a better position in 20 or 30 years.

The Conservatives’ main focus, outside of the economy, is on law enforcement. They have a large amount of proposed action related to the deportation of foreign criminals, drug testing in prisons, cracking down on human trafficking, and giving law enforcement added power to combat terrorism. They also have a large list of various crime-related legislation they want to bundle together and pass within the first 100 days. While it may seem odd that the Conservatives have this focus despite the fact that crime has been decreasing for quite some time, it is clear that some of these issues are still problem areas that need to be dealt with. Voters who believe that cracking down on criminals is key will likely find the Conservatives’ plan suitable for their tastes.

In summary, there is much that can be learned from a close examination and comparison of the political parties. I’ve only scratched the surface, but I would encourage you to go have a look for yourself by using my web app. I believe that the key to a strong democracy is an informed populace, so I hope that the information I’ve compiled will be of use to you. Thanks, and happy voting!

Elections Canada

7 responses to “Comparing the Political Parties”

Carole

Thank you so much for this comparison chart. I tried going to each party’s website to read about their platforms, but it gets really, really long and convoluted. Your app and comments really help.

Giselle

Great job. Thank you so much for the objective, user-friendly app. What a convenient and informative way to condense the lengthy platform documents and easily cross-compare policies on specific issues. An excellent tool for Canadian voters. I will be sharing the link on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks!

Jeff

Well thanks everyone for the kind comments! I’m glad that you found this useful, and I hope it will help you to make an informed decision about which party/candidate to support 🙂

Chris

Thank you for helping me decide . When I go shopping for any big purchase ,I look for and use side by side comparisions .You have done the same for political parties .

Jeff

Hi Justin,

I did intend to include the Green party, but I ran out of time. I was trying to put up my party platform comparison as soon as possible, but the Green platform is significantly longer than the others (130 pages!), and with other things on the go, I just didn’t get through it all. I have nothing against the Greens, and I would have liked to put their platform up as well, but unfortunately it was not to be.

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