January 1999
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Canadian Content Part VII- Politicks

By John Hansen

After several attempts at a Love, Canadian Style column, I decided the next best thing to do would be to simply write my great passion in life: ice dancing. Then I decided to do some silly thing about politics. Enjoy.

Recently, while shopping for more flannel shirts, I was attacked by a burley American who demanded "John, are there Republicans and Democrats in Canada (which he pronounced "Canader," by the way)?" I began to explain that Canada is a multiparty parliamentary democracy which borrows its style of government from Great Britain where the leader of the party who wins the largest number of seats is also the prime minister and we also use the queen as our head of state. The American punched me and walked away.

I have decided then to explain some of Canada's political parties. While their names may conflict with their policies, I hope this helps. Also, some of my background into the party history is completely inaccurate.

Let's start with the big boys:

The Liberal Party - Currently the ruling party in its second term, the Liberals are supposed to be compassionate and foreward thinking in social policy. This is not what is actually happening. In fact, today's Liberals don't seem to like the poor or sick very much. Their leader, Jean Chretien is also our prime minister and is allegedly bilingual but nobody can be sure as we cannot understand anything he says in either French or English. Sometimes they're called Grits because the party used to sell Grit newspaper door to door to raise campaign funds and to keep them off the streets. It's true.

The Progressive Conservatives - These guys used to be in charge and gave Canada its first woman prime minister, Kim Campbell, who gave many men in Canada their first sexual fantasies about the leader of their country. In 1993, they were wiped out by the Liberals and have since been wandering around in a daze ever since. The word "progressive" used to mean that they were in favour of equal rights for all but have since changed their minds but it looks like they're changing it again.

The Reform Party - Not to be confused with Jesse "The Governor" Ventura's party, this group got started in Western Canada because their leader Preston Manning thought there aren't enough groups representing rich, white, heterosexual men. They want the Progressive Conservatives to merge with them. They are the Official Opposition as they received the second highest number of votes.

The New Democratic Party - When I was little during elections, their leader Ed Broadbent used to campaign under the slogan "Socialism Works for Canada!" and nobody batted an eye. They've provided our governments with their best ideas like unemployment insurance and national health care. While they have formed provincial governments they have never made government. It is widely assumed they have the best sex lives.

The Bloc Quebecois - An odd party. They exist solely for the purpose of working toward Quebec independence. Their leader looks like a stereotypically snooty french waiter. While everyone outside Quebec hates them, it is generally agreed that they are better dressers than all of the others combined as they are French.

Related web sites:

The Liberals
The Progressive Conservatives
The Reform Party
The New Democratic Party
Le Bloc Quebecois
"This Hour Has 22 Minutes" Online

Next month: white supremacists, Doug Henning, and a rhino: the political parties that didn't quite make it.

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