A (Somewhat) Helpful Guide to Political Parties in Canada

It’s likely most Canadians could name three to five political parties and the dedicated poligeeks could probably name more, but could you name all 15 registered political parties? More importantly, could you also name the has-beens?

As we head into Election 43, headlines will focus on the main parties but there are more that could possibly show up on the ballot. It also seems fair to mention some that should never have been and some that sound like they really could have been something; at least in name.

Moving past the most likely to be named and remembered, the Conservative Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada, New Democratic Party and People’s Party of Canada, some others may be familiar; Communist Party of Canada, Bloc Quebecois, Libertarian Party of Canada, Christian Heritage Party of Canada and maybe even the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada and the National Citizens Alliance of Canada.

Less well-known would be the Animal Protection Party of Canada, the Marijuana Party, Parti Rhinoceros Party and the Progressive Canadian Party. All are registered parties for Election 43, and the Rhinoceros Party did manage to snag a headline after announcing their candidate, Maxime Bernier, who will square off against Maxime Bernier of the People’s Party of Canada in his home riding of Beauce, Quebec.

Personally, I was simply ecstatic to find we have a satirical political party and contacted them immediately about a potential 24/7 volunteer position with their communications team. They’re really looking for someone with meme-creation expertise, however, and I still use Microsoft Paint. Just an FYI.

There are some really special party names that are no longer registered in Canada. One of my favourites is the National Advancement Party of Canada whose strength in the individual word choice is severely dampened by its acronym, NAP. Rivaled only by the National Alternative Party of Canada, NAP 2, and United Conservative Party, UCP for the child in all of us, it reminds us of the importance of taking three seconds to look at the capital letters in the words you wrote before registering the name. Everyone, but conservatives especially, should have learned from the merger of the Reform and Canadian Alliance parties, the Canadian Reform Alliance Party, or, CRAP.

It’s unfortunate the Party for Accountability, Competency and Transparency couldn’t make a go of it. While their acronym, PACT, is not unpleasant, there’s just way too many letters and that would be a printing nightmare. If people can’t read the signs as they drive by, they’re not likely to lend their votes.

The People’s Political Power Party of Canada simply has three too many P’s to make it (say it, really, say it out loud). As someone without a minor speech impediment, even I struggle with it. Sober. It was doomed from the start.

For the growing population of boomers turned senior citizens, one would have thought the Seniors Party of Canada, SPoC for an added shout out to the Trekkies, could have attracted some support to keep going. However, it probably found too much competition from The Bridge Party of Canada to really get off the ground.  

Alliance of the North could probably make a comeback once the U.S. invades. #MondayMotivation

Like the Bloc, the Newfoundland and Labrador First Party and The Ontario Party of Canada seem just a tad too regional to really make it as a national party. Common sense aside, it also seems strange that no one has registered an Alberta First Party of Canada since it’s almost as good as replaced Fortis et Libre as our provincial motto.

The Natural Law Party of Canada probably couldn’t compete with the direction of the CPC and creation of the PPC. When there’s pretty much nothing that will disqualify you as a candidate in a mainstream Conservative party, it’s really difficult for these little ones to get going.

Keeping in line with the “you don’t need to ask what our priorities are” party names, the Stop Climate Change, Parti pour L’independence du Quebec, and Work Less Party kind of take the cake. Less so, but in the same category, would be the Canadian Nationalist Party, Western Block Party, and Veterans Coalition Party.

Canada Action Party, although deregistered in 2017, likely saw a bit of an uptick in national interest thanks to the rise of the Political Action Committee: Canada Action. It’s also possible that PAC played a role in CAP’s demise. The United Party of Canada, UPC, name is on hold, and could make a comeback after the numbers can be tallied from the PPC’s intrusion on the CPC’s vote share.

What’s in a name? Conservative Party of Canada is strong – very strong – but the egos behind the Alberta “merger” might consider it a worthwhile vanity project to truly Alberta-ify a national party. A coup, if you will, that would glorify its creators in a revival of the UPC.

The final Party on the list reminds me of Britain’s somewhat incomprehensible but absolutely amusing desire to run playful parties and candidates in their elections; the Pirate Party. While it sounds fun (who doesn’t love a pirate party?) the platform included the desire to change copyright laws (why shouldn’t your work be available for free?… wait…), and net neutrality. In 2009, it was probably ahead of its time but as the cover photo indicates, they were willing to have some fun with it – and that’s what really matters. 

Politics is an ugly, updated version of the murderous family fights for the throne. Sure, there’s less bloodshed but, arguably, as much criminality. If you can’t laugh at it, even once in a while, we run the risk of premature curmudgeoning in otherwise truly delightful people.

This post is an odd collection of fact, snap and trivia.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

Deirdre is a political commentator, columnist, reporter, and podcaster in Alberta. She relies on facts, snarky Twitter, and satire to share knowledge and a laugh. 

contact: [email protected], [email protected]

Twitter: @Mitchell_AB for all the commentary; @thisweekinAB for posts; @politicalRnD to guess “who tweeted that”?

Subscribe or Donate

By the by, the UCP AGM is coming up and donations (or subscriptions) will help me keep you informed.