Grits 101: Canada’s Liberal Party

By , on April 21, 2013

The face of Canada’s Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau: vanguard of Canadian values, working towards making Canada a model for the world. (Photo by Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)
The face of Canada’s Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau: vanguard of Canadian values, working towards making Canada a model for the world. (Photo by Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

CANADA’S Liberal Party. The Grits, colloquially. Parti libéral du Canada, French-ily.

Its poster-boy is Justin Trudeau: media darling; eldest son of Margaret Trudeau and former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau; and, on April 14, 2013, elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Initially elected as Member of Parliament for Papineau on October 14th, 2008, Justin Trudeau’s platform is to uphold Canadian values, bring forward a new perspective on the relationship between government and its citizens, and to help Canada be a model for the world.

Hope and Hard Work … Be part of the change is their current aspirational / inspirational slogan.

It is the oldest federal political party in Canada, espousing the lofty ideals of—to state the obvious—liberalism: liberty, equality, free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press,  freedom of religion, free trade, and private property.

Canadian Liberals stand for:

  • Equality of opportunity, believing that when individuals and families are provided the opportunity for success, this strengthens the economy; ultimately strengthening Canada and Canadians.
  • True fiscal responsibility, whereby deficits are turned into surplus, with the growth of the economy and the creation of new jobs through competent, accountable and successful economic management.
  • A clean environment and a clean energy economy, given the inter-dependence of environmental and energy concerns and solutions.
  • Affordable access to post-secondary education, with the firm belief that all Canadians have the right to access an affordable education.
  • Sustainable universal public health care; providing Canadians high quality and relevant health care through an efficient, accountable, and sustainable public health system.
  • Open, fair, and strong democratic representation, with the Parliament belonging to the people, not the Prime Minister.
  • An evidence-based crime policy, implementing a “smart on crime” approach, with real criminals as the target, in order to keep the communities safe.  This involves dealing with crime at its root causes, in order to achieve real results.

The Liberal Party of Canada is generally positioned at the center of Canada’s political spectrum; to the right of the New Democratic Party, and the left of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Historically, the party has set the tone of the Canadian political landscape, being the major force in federal politics throughout the greater portion of Canada’s history; a total of 69 years in the 20th century. As a result, the party is, on occasion, referred to as Canada’s “natural governing party”.

However, it has been noted that over the course of the last 10 years, the party has seemingly lost some ground and support, benefitting both the Conservative Party and the NDP. The most recent federal elections held on May 2, 2011 saw the party at its poorest showing in history; capturing only 19 per cent of the popular vote and winning 34 seats. This put the Liberal Party at a third-place ranking in the House of Commons: a first for the political powerhouse.

As Canada gears up for its 40th provincial elections on May 14, 2013, the Liberal Party’s Premier Christy Clark embarks on an election campaign that will be the toughest fight of her political life.

For more on the Canadian Liberal Party, visit