7
   

Is Canada more Liberal (ideologically) than the US?

 
 
Ray
 
Reply Wed 17 May, 2006 02:03 am
I'm just wondering, since Canada have had its fair share of liberal leaders, are Canadians more liberal than the US? Obviously, Canada did legalize gay marriage, but is there a clear division on the issue among the population?

It seems that even the conservative party in Canada is somewhat liberal ideologically and mostly "conservative" in economic tendency. Well they did want a "civil union" instead of gay marriage, but that is a lot more liberal than some other conservatives in other countries.
 
hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2006 02:22 am
It could hardly be less liberal than the US....

Go Canucks - love you guys...
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2006 06:02 am
I suppose that one could assert that the United States is not as liberal as Canada, although the distinction would be problematic, in that it would not recognize the varied political histories of the two nations. The United States had an effective labor movement long before Canada, and which was born in the violence of the coal fields--that violence continued in the auto industry. Although Canada has enacted much more liberal-seeming programs, in fact, it is reasonably arguable that Canada has been consistently more plutocratic, and politically repressive than the United States. Escaped slaves from the United States found refuge there, but even after the American civil war, they were shooting the métis (descendants of French trappers and traders, and the Indians) down in Manitoba. Read about the insurrections in 1836 and 1837 in Upper and Lower Canada sometime (respectively, that's modern Ontario and Québec), and the brutal manner in which they were put down.

In 1919, there was a general strike in Winnipeg. A gentleman named James Woodsworth was on a speaking tour of Canada at that time, promoting trades unionism and social and political reform. He was much impressed by the strike in Winnipeg. As usual, such strikes were eventually broken up by the police, often with the intervention of the RCMP. As a result, Woodsworth looked to form a left-wing political party. Finally, in 1932, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation was formed. Look up the Regina Manifesto. The CCF was pretty quickly branded Bolshevik (later they were called communists), and never enjoyed much national success--but they were effective in the prairie provinces where farmers and trades unionists had deep and long-standing greivances.

In 1944, Tommy Douglas, a former Baptist minister turned political activist, won the election in Saskatchewan as the leader of the provincial CCF. (It is the first "socialist" government formed in North America.) He intended to introduce many reforms, and succeeded in some significant examples. His fight to introduce Medicare--subsidized or government-funded health care--was a long and bitter struggle--it almost cost him his political career when doctors in Saskatchewan instituted a general strike against the Medicare plan. But the doctors eventually caved in--Tommy Douglas has recently been voted the greatest Canadian of all time by Canadians in a CBC poll.

The CCF was doomed, because the Tories (conservatives) continued to successfully tar them with the communist brush. But out of the wreckage, the New Democratic Party was formed. The NDP has never formed a national government, but have been successful in gaining seats in the Federal Parliament. Ed Broadbent once lead 44 New Democrats into Ottawa. They picked up some seats in the January election, although they're not close to Broadbent's salad days.

As a result of the popularity of social programs in some regions of Canada, and some segments of Canadian society, the Tories and the Liberals (who are really just a centrist party, one might even call them center-right) have had to appeal to the electorate based on social programs. At the end of the Great Depression, the Canadian census estimated that two thirds of Canadians lived below the poverty line. Canada was hugely successful in World War Two in terms of industrial expansion and output, so it was no longer possible to ignore the demands of labor and family farmers--when there's a lot of wealth, its hard not to spread it around. Both in the provinces and at Ottawa, both Tory and Liberal governments have been obliged to appeal to voters based on health care schemes, workers' compensation, child care and a host of other issues seen as liberal or left-wing in the United States. Before their near death, the Tories had even changed their official name to Progressive Conservative Party.

The PC was nearly dead, though, by the early 2000s. They couldn't seem to win an election nationally against the Liberals (who are not, remember, left-wing--they're centrists at best). But Paul Martin's government was a coalition government (they relied on the NDP to provide enough votes for a majority, which means they had to cater to the New Democrat agenda). Several small conservative parties existed, and a conservative member from Alberta (although born in Ontario, he had lived and worked in Alberta long enough to be considered a prairie politician), Steven Harper, became the leader of a coalition of right wing parties, which was known as the Alliance. The Alliance was strong, with a lot of support, but lacked experience in national government, and didn't have the "footprint" nationally which is conferred by a party organization which has formed governments.

So in 2003, the Tories (the PC, or Progressive Conservatives) merged with the Alliance, and the Conservative Party of Canada was formed. Paul Martin's government was brought down by scandal, when the NDP deserted them on a vote of no confidence. Now Steven Harper has formed a minority government, relying up the Parti Québecois, which is also known as the Bloc Québecois, or just the Bloc. Although the Bloc ostensibly stands for separatism and the triumph of francophone culture, they actually represent the conservative side of la belle province, and thus are a reliable partner for the Tories--sort of. One problem which Harper will face the longer he is in office, is the resentment among a lot of English-speaking conservatives for the "Quebeckers." It could get him into trouble some day, and he might someday be faced with relying upon the Bloc, while they demand a quid pro quo which will piss of English-speaking Canadians. Time will tell--it might not happen like that at all.

As my sweetiepie girl just said, just because they're called Liberals doesn't mean they are liberal--she's a native of Canada.
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2006 06:06 am
In orstralia we have a party called the 'Liberal Party'. It isn't. I believe the Brits have a 'Liberal Party' too, but theirs actually is, comparatively.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2006 06:20 am
I'm sure many Canadians might post here to dispute what i've written--meh.

Here's and example of a profound difference between Canada and the United States. Canada has a "Westminister style" of governent, meaning it's like the English government. The Prime Minister is also a sitting member of the House of Commons. In the United States, the President might be from one party, while the Congress is controlled by the other Party--such as when the Democrat Clinton was President, but the Republicans controlled the House. In Canada, the leader of the ruling party is always a member of the party which controlls the House of Commons. The Senate in Canada is an appointed body, which is about as irrelevant as the House of Lords in England. The Prime Minister either has an absolute majority--his party holds more than 50% of the seats--or he has a minority government. A minority government is formed by the party with the most seats, but not an aboslute majority, not more than 50% of the seats. In that case, he has to rely upon another party for support--Paul Martin relied upon the NDP, and Steven Harper relies upon the Bloc.

If he has an absolute majority in the House, he rules Canada almost unchallenged. The PM makes appointments and decides policy without having to put it to a vote in Parliament. In the 1980s, Canada's PM was Brian Mulrooney, when Reagan was the American President. Mulrooney is from the English-speaking population of Quebec, and speaks flawless French. Under Mulrooney, the Tories (the PC, or Progressive Conservatives) had an absolute majority. They could call the shots. His finance minister found a neat way to get around the capital gains tax, without going to a vote--this at a time when the capital gains tax was a hotly debated topic in the American Congress.

The finance minister issued an order, similar to what Americans know as an executive order, that allowed capitals gains to be put in a trust. Wealthy people who had children could defer the capital gains tax indefinitely on any money they put in trust for a disabled child. But, it went further than that--it allowed such a trust to be formed based on the possibility that a child might become disabled. There was no provision in the order for the capital gains tax to kick in. Therefore, any wealthy Canadian with children and a smart tax accountant (believe that wealthy people always employ a smart tax accountant) could avoid the capital gains tax by setting up such a trust. If their children were minor children, they had complete access to the trust fund because they were the primary care givers. Effectively, the Tories eliminated the capital gains tax, without going to the House for a vote. You couldn't pull that off in the United States--but in Canada, all that was necessary was for the finance minister to issue an order, and for the PM to sign off on it.

Canada, perhaps, just seems to be more liberal.
0 Replies
 
Ray
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2006 11:54 am
That was very informative. Thank you Set.

Quote:
The Senate in Canada is an appointed body, which is about as irrelevant as the House of Lords in England


Yes, I'm baffled by this. There is a portion of the population that want this revised though, and the governor general, come on, the prime minister appoints her too...

To think, when I'm getting my citizenship, I need to swear an oath to the Queen. Not that I don't like the Queen, she's not bad, but I just don't see the point in it.

BTW, I've always heard that the Liberal Party of Canada is a centrist party, but before this, I've only heard of them being called slightly-leftist. This may be due to the social programs.

The reason why I brought up this thread is because where I'm at, the media is often liberal/humanistic ideologically, and sometimes I hear of some states in the US being a lot more conservative/religious minded. I'm not sure if the ID debate is present in Canada.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 May, 2006 12:27 pm
I don't believe the "intelligent design" debate is a current issue in Canada. It helps to understand the origin of the "intelligent design" scam to understand why, so far, it's been an issue only in the United States (there is evidence of it being exported to Britain, now, though, and perhaps other countries).

A teacher in Arkansas had a textbook which covered the topic of evolution, and she realized that it was in violation of a state law. She didn't want to lose her job over it, but she thought it was wrong. She took the case to court, and the law was upheld by the Arkansas Supreme Court; but, it went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. In 1968, in Epperson versus Arkansas, the Supremes struck down the state law, saying it violated the separation clause of the first amendment, which reads, in full: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The first clause of that amendment is sometimes referred to as the separation clause, because it is held to mandate separation of chruch and state. Mr. Justice Fortas, in the majority opinion, wrote:

Quote:
There is and can be no doubt that the First Amendment does not permit the State to require that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma.


Nothing deterred, religiously-minded people looked for a way to get around the decision, and laws were passed which mandated the teaching of "creationism" along side the teaching of evolution as scientific theory. That ended up at the Supreme Court, as well, in the case of a Louisiana law. In 1987, in a 7 to 2 decision, in the Edwards versus Aguillard case, that law was struck down, and writing for the majority, Mr. Justice Brennan wrote:

Quote:
. . . the Creationism Act is designed either to promote the theory of creation science which embodies a particular religious tenet by requiring that creation science be taught whenever evolution is taught or to prohibit the teaching of a scientific theory disfavored by certain religious sects by forbidding the teaching of evolution when creation science is not also taught. The Establishment Clause, however, "forbids alike the preference of a religious doctrine or the prohibition of theory which is deemed antagonistic to a particular dogma." Because the primary purpose of the Creationism Act is to advance a particular religious belief, the Act endorses religion in violation of the First Amendment.


These boys and girls are nothing, if not persistent. They came up with "intelligent design" in the attempt to put a patina of scientific respectability on creationism, and set out by political stealth to introduce it into schools. The test case has recently been decided in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. (I've posted the Wikipedia article for that case, as i didn't see a link to FindLaw, and i'm not going to spend all afternoon on this.) The judge in this Case, John Jones III (who happens to be a conservative Republican) wrote:

Quote:
For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the religious nature of ID [intelligent design] would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child.


and

Quote:
A significant aspect of the IDM [intelligent design movement] is that despite Defendants' protestations to the contrary, it describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity.


and

Quote:
The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism"


and

Quote:
The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.


It does not seem that anyone is willing to pay the cost of pursuing this further, and if you'll read the Wikipedia article (from which those quotes are taken, and which cites the judge's opinion), you'll see that the proponents of "intelligent design" got into a "meltdown" in this case, as the "stealth" candidates for the school board (that is people with a religious agenda who did not reveal their plans before being elected) had later (after being elected but before the court case) admitted publicly that their intent was the introduction of a religiously-based component in the curriculum. I don't know if anyone is willing to pursue this, but i doubt that they will. It's an expensive process, and their prospects aren't good--or at least don't appear to be.

So "intelligent design" arose in the United States as a means of trying to get around the 1968 and 1987 decisions by the Supremes which have served to establish evolutionary theory as a part of science education, and creationism as a religious doctrine which unacceptably violates the separation clause of the first amendment. Can't say if it will ever crop up in Canada, but don't lose faith in Steven Harper--he's a man with vision!
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  2  
Reply Tue 23 May, 2006 02:49 am
Parti-Quebecois is a provincial party while the Bloc is a federal party.
0 Replies
 
babsatamelia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 May, 2006 11:49 pm
Canada has legalized marijuana - which is not only an excellent health move for the Canadian people. Now you KNOW exactly what you're buying. But obviously the kind of corrupt system of paying off the police and the judges and the politicians can't go on if drugs are legalized. Yes I do think Canada is far more free and liberal a country than the USA Good God! Here we have a bible thumping president mixing church and state. IF I could stand the cold, I would get dual citizenship & go to live in Canada. That's where my ancestors came from after leaving England.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 May, 2006 11:59 pm
If we get another president like Bush, I may consider moving "up there" too!
Damn the cold; this country is burning.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 May, 2006 01:07 am
Sadly Canada has not leagalized Pot. Under the new Harper Conservative government it will be a long time coming.
0 Replies
 
flushd
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jun, 2006 09:06 am
From my laywoman's perspective - Canada is moderate in all that we do. Our political parties vary little, though many Canadians would argue otherwise.

I like what ehBeth said "Just cause they call themselves Liberals, doesn't mean they are".

No legalized pot yet. However, you can get it legally for medicinal reasons. We have a government grow-op here in Flin Flon, MB. There are other 'experiments' in this as well.

check this out. pretty cool, eh? http://www.medicalmarihuana.ca/waste.html

opinions are mixed. that's a whole other issue. heehee
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 02:42 pm
@Ray,
Didn't want to start a brand new thread for this one but here is another funny but true submission to the Urban Dictionary:
Quote:
Canadian Dollar
1: a fake form of currency or worthless item used to pay off debts

2: When paying in small bills to pay off a large debtt [sic]
1: Jim: Man I spotted you $150 i will not accept McDonalds gift cards they're as worthless as Canadian Dollars.

Bob: Dude come on its all i have

2: Sales clerk: Sir your tv is $800

Guy 1: i think i have some quarters and ones let me look

Sales clerk: Man i dont want your canadian dollars

by PistolMcLaggen on Jun 6, 2010
tags: canadian, dollars, canadian dollars, dollers, dollar. money, worthless, mcdonalds, debt, tv, useless
hamburgboy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:11 pm
@tsarstepan,
Quote:
Guy 1: i think i have some quarters and ones let me look


canadian guy : " i think i have some quarters and some LOONIES let me look " .

in canada we don't have ONES anymore - they are now called LOONIES !
reason : there is a LOONIE on the one dollar coin - no more dollar bills .

 http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny/original/loonie.jpg

btw 2 dollar coins are called ... ... TOONIES ( some country - some coins - canada , eh ? )
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:18 pm
as for pot, not legalized, but seriously decriminalized for simple possession, a fine at most
0 Replies
 
Victor Eremita
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 01:45 am
In general, Canada is more liberal than the US. Think hemp lol!
But the blue states are much more closer to Canada than the red states are. A person from Seattle, Detroit, and Buffalo share many commonalities with a person from Vancouver, Windsor, and Toronto. Not so from a place like Dallas.
0 Replies
 
KEZ5
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Oct, 2010 04:05 am
canada is more liberal, but not by much. even when you compare canada to britain, youll see that canada is much more socially conservative than britain, but britain is much more conservative than germany. sweden is more liberal than germany. so as you can see, canada is pretty far to the right. if you look at canada, youll notice they are ruled by a "conservative" party government, so how liberal can they be? not to say the liberal party is actually liberal either because they are still right of centre.
0 Replies
 
keith7786
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Nov, 2010 07:59 am
@Ray,
Canada is really a nice country to live and roam around. Its legal system is more liberal than America and other democratic countries. Canada has many icy places to visit,
0 Replies
 
anarima
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Dec, 2010 06:39 am
@Ray,
From an outsider's point of view (i.e. British), we always see the Canadians as more 'laid back and liberal' compared to the US who are 'arrogant mavericks and democratically obsessed' - in the nicest possible way though - after all, we are allies
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Dec, 2010 07:15 am
@anarima,
Your "laid back and liberal" Canadian government has been in the hands of the Tories for more than five years now . . . that doesn't count, though, huh?
 

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