Liberal Party of Canada
|Deputy Leader||Chrystia Freeland|
|House leader||Pablo Rodriguez|
|Preceded by||Clear Grits (Canada West)|
Parti rouge (Canada East)
|Headquarters||Constitution Square, Ottawa, Ontario|
|Youth wing||Young Liberals of Canada|
|Political position||Centre to
|International affiliation||Liberal International|
|Seats in the Senate[note 2]|
0 / 105
|Seats in the House of Commons|
157 / 338
The Liberal Party of Canada (French: Parti libéral du Canada) is the longest-serving and oldest active federal political party in Canada. The party has dominated federal politics for much of Canada's history. The Liberals held power for almost 70 years in the 20th century, which is more than any other party in a developed country. As a result, it has sometimes been referred to as Canada's "natural governing party".
The party espouses the principles of liberalism, and generally sits at the centre to centre-left of the Canadian political spectrum, with the Conservative Party positioned to the centre-right and the New Democratic Party (who at times aligned itself with the Liberals during minority governments), occupying the centre-left to left. Like their federal Conservative Party rivals, the party is often described as a "big tent", attracting support from a broad spectrum of voters. In the late 1970s, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau claimed that his Liberal Party adhered to the "radical centre".
The Liberals' signature policies and legislative decisions include universal health care, the Canada Pension Plan, Canada Student Loans, peacekeeping, multilateralism, official bilingualism, official multiculturalism, patriating the Canadian constitution and the entrenchment of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Clarity Act, legalizing same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and cannabis, national carbon pricing, and reproductive choice.
In the 2015 federal election, the Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau had its best result since the 2000 election, winning 39.5 percent of the popular vote and 184 seats, gaining a majority of seats in the House of Commons. However, in the 2019 federal election, they lost their majority, winning 157 seats, but they still remained the largest party in the House.
The Liberals are descended from the mid-19th century Reformers who agitated for responsible government throughout British North America. These included George Brown, Alexander Mackenzie, Robert Baldwin, William Lyon Mackenzie and the Clear Grits in Upper Canada, Joseph Howe in Nova Scotia, and the Patriotes and Rouges in Lower Canada led by figures such as Louis-Joseph Papineau. The Clear Grits and Parti rouge sometimes functioned as a united bloc in the legislature of the Province of Canada beginning in 1854, and a united Liberal Party combining both English and French Canadian members was formed in 1861.
At the time of confederation of the former British colonies of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the radical Liberals were marginalized by the more pragmatic Conservative coalition assembled under Sir John A. Macdonald. In the 29 years after Canadian confederation, the Liberals were consigned to opposition, with the exception of one stint in government. Alexander Mackenzie was the de facto leader of the Official Opposition after Confederation and finally agreed to become the first official leader of the Liberal Party in 1873. He was able to lead the party to power for the first time in 1873, after the MacDonald government lost a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons due to the Pacific Scandal. Mackenzie subsequently won the 1874 election, and served as Prime Minister for an additional four years. During the five years the Liberal government brought in many reforms, which include the replacement of open voting by secret ballot, confining elections to one day and the creation of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Royal Military College of Canada, and the Office of the Auditor General. However the party was only able to build a solid support base in Ontario, and in 1878 lost the government to MacDonald. The Liberals would spend the next 18 years in opposition.
In their early history, the Liberals were the party of continentalism and opposition to imperialism. The Liberals also became identified with the aspirations of Quebecers as a result of the growing hostility of French Canadians to the Conservatives. The Conservatives lost the support of French Canadians because of the role of Conservative governments in the execution of Louis Riel and their role in the Conscription Crisis of 1917, and especially their opposition to French schools in provinces besides Quebec.
It was not until Wilfrid Laurier became leader that the Liberal Party emerged as a modern party. Laurier was able to capitalize on the Tories' alienation of French Canada by offering the Liberals as a credible alternative. Laurier was able to overcome the party's reputation for anti-clericalism that offended the still-powerful Quebec Roman Catholic Church. In English-speaking Canada, the Liberal Party's support for reciprocity made it popular among farmers, and helped cement the party's hold in the growing prairie provinces.
Laurier led the Liberals to power in the 1896 election (in which he became the first Francophone Prime Minister), and oversaw a government that increased immigration in order to settle Western Canada. Laurier's government created the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta out of the North-West Territories, and promoted the development of Canadian industry.
Until the early part of the century, the Liberal Party was a loose, informal coalition of local, provincial and regional bodies with a strong national party leader and caucus (and when in power, the national cabinet) but with an informal and regionalized extra-parliamentary organizational structure. There was no national membership of the party, an individual became a member by joining a provincial Liberal party. Laurier called the party's first national convention in 1893 in order to unite Liberal supporters behind a programme and build the campaign that successfully brought the party to power in 1896; however, once in power, no efforts were made to create a formal national organization outside of parliament.
As a result of the party's defeats in the 1911 and 1917 federal elections, Laurier attempted to organize the party on a national level by creating three bodies: the Central Liberal Information Office, the National Liberal Advisory Committee, and the National Liberal Organization Committee. However, the advisory committee became dominated by members of parliament and all three bodies were underfunded and competed with both local and provincial Liberal associations and the national caucus for authority. The party did organize the national party's second convention in 1919 to elect William Lyon Mackenzie King as Laurier's successor (Canada's first ever leadership convention), yet following the party's return to power in the 1921 federal election the nascent national party organizations were eclipsed by powerful ministers and local party organizations largely driven by patronage.
As a result of both the party's defeat in the 1930 federal election, and the Beauharnois bribery scandal which highlighted the need for distance between the Liberal Party's political wing and campaign fundraising, a central coordinating organization, the National Liberal Federation, was created in 1932 with Vincent Massey as its first president. The new organization allowed individuals to directly join the national Liberal Party for the first time. With the Liberals return to power the national organization languished except for occasional national committee meetings, such as in 1943 when Mackenzie King called a meeting of the federation (consisting of the national caucus and up to seven voting delegates per province) to approve a new platform for the party in anticipation of the end of World War II and prepare for a post-war election. No national convention was held, however, until 1948; the Liberal Party held only three national conventions prior to the 1950s – in 1893, 1919 and 1948. The National Liberal Federation remained largely dependent on provincial Liberal parties and was often ignored and bypassed the parliamentary party in the organization of election campaigns and the development of policy. With the defeat of the Liberals in the 1957 federal election and in particular 1958, reformers argued for the strengthening of the national party organization so it would not be dependent on provincial Liberal parties and patronage. A national executive and Council of presidents, consisting of the presidents of each Liberal riding association, were developed to give the party more co-ordination and national party conventions were regularly held in biennially where previously they had been held infrequently. Over time, provincial Liberal parties in most provinces were separated from provincial wings of the federal party and in a number of cases disaffiliated. By the 1980s, the National Liberal Federation was officially known as the Liberal Party of Canada.
Under Laurier, and his successor William Lyon Mackenzie King, the Liberals promoted Canadian sovereignty and greater independence within the British Commonwealth. In Imperial Conferences held throughout the 1920s, Canadian Liberal governments often took the lead in arguing that the United Kingdom and the dominions should have equal status, and against proposals for an 'imperial parliament' that would have subsumed Canadian independence. After the King–Byng Affair of 1926, the Liberals argued that the Governor General of Canada should no longer be appointed on the recommendation of the British government. The decisions of the Imperial Conferences were formalized in the Statute of Westminster, which was actually passed in 1931, the year after the Liberals lost power.
The Liberals also promoted the idea of Canada being responsible for its own foreign and defence policy. Initially, it was Britain which determined external affairs for the dominion. In 1905, Laurier created the Department of External Affairs, and in 1909 he advised Governor General Earl Grey to appoint the first Secretary of State for External Affairs to Cabinet. It was also Laurier who first proposed the creation of a Canadian Navy in 1910. Mackenzie King recommended the appointment by Governor General Lord Byng of Vincent Massey as the first Canadian ambassador to Washington in 1926, marking the Liberal government's insistence on having direct relations with the United States, rather than having Britain act on Canada's behalf.
In the period just before and after the Second World War, the party became a champion of 'progressive social policy'. As Prime Minister for most of the time between 1921 and 1948, King introduced several measures that led to the creation of Canada's social safety net. Bowing to popular pressure, he introduced the mother's allowance, a monthly payment to all mothers with young children. He also reluctantly introduced old age pensions when J. S. Woodsworth required it in exchange for his Co-operative Commonwealth Federation party's support of King's minority government.
Louis St. Laurent succeeded King as Liberal leader and Prime Minister on November 15, 1948. In the 1949 and 1953 federal elections, St. Laurent led the Liberal Party to two large majority governments. As Prime Minister he oversaw the joining of Newfoundland in Confederation as Canada's tenth province, he established equalization payments to the provinces, and continued with social reform with improvements in pensions and health insurance. In 1956, Canada played an important role in resolving the Suez Crisis, and contributed to the United Nations force in the Korean War. Canada enjoyed economic prosperity during St. Laurent's premiership and wartime debts were paid off. The Pipeline Debate proved the Liberal Party's undoing. Their attempt to pass legislation to build a natural gas pipeline from Alberta to central Canada was met with fierce disagreement in the House of Commons. In 1957, John Diefenbaker's Progressive Conservatives won a minority government and St. Laurent resigned as Prime Minister and Liberal leader.
Lester B. Pearson was easily elected Liberal leader at the party's 1958 leadership convention. However, only months after becoming Liberal leader, Pearson led the party into the 1958 federal election that saw Diefenbaker's Progressive Conservatives win the largest majority government, by percentage of seats, in Canadian history. The Progressive Conservatives won 206 of the 265 seats in the House of Commons, while the Liberals were reduced to just 48 seats. Pearson remained Liberal leader during this time and in the 1962 election managed to reduce Diefenbaker to a minority government. In the 1963 election Pearson led the Liberal Party back to victory, forming a minority government. Pearson served as Prime Minister for five years, winning a second election in 1965. While Pearson's leadership was considered poor and the Liberal Party never held a majority of the seats in parliament during his premiership, he left office in 1968 with an impressive legacy. Pearson's government introduced Medicare, a new immigration act, the Canada Pension Plan, Canada Student Loans, the Canada Assistance Plan, and adopted the Maple Leaf as Canada's national flag.
Pierre Trudeau era
The Liberal Party under Trudeau promoted official bilingualism and passed the Official Languages Act, which gave French and English languages equal status in Canada. Trudeau hoped that the promotion of bilingualism would cement Quebec's place in Confederation, and counter growing calls for an independent Quebec. The party hoped the policy would transform Canada into a country where English and French Canadians could live together, and allow Canadians to move to any part of the country without having to lose their language. Although this vision has yet to fully materialize, official bilingualism has helped to halt the decline of the French language outside of Quebec, and to ensure that all federal government services (including radio and television services provided by the government-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Radio-Canada) are available in both languages throughout the country.
The Trudeau Liberals are also credited with support for state multiculturalism as a means of integrating immigrants into Canadian society without forcing them to shed their culture, leading the party to build a base of support among recent immigrants and their children. This marked the culmination of a decades-long shift in Liberal immigration policy, a reversal of pre-war racial attitudes that spurred discriminatory policies such as the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 and the MS St. Louis incident.
The most lasting effect of the Trudeau years has been the patriation of the Canadian constitution and the creation of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Trudeau's Liberals supported the concept of a strong, central government, and fought Quebec separatism, other forms of Quebec nationalism, and the granting of "distinct society" status to Quebec. Such actions, however, served as rallying cries for sovereigntists and alienated many Francophone Quebeckers.
The other primary legacy of the Trudeau years has been financial. Net federal debt in fiscal 1968, just before Trudeau became Prime Minister, was about $18 billion CAD, or 26 percent of gross domestic product; by his final year in office, it had ballooned to over 200 billion—at 46 percent of GDP, nearly twice as large relative to the economy.
Post-Trudeau party in opposition
After Trudeau's retirement in 1984, many Liberals, such as Jean Chrétien and Clyde Wells, continued to adhere to Trudeau's concept of federalism. Others, such as John Turner, supported the failed Meech Lake and Charlottetown Constitutional Accords, which would have recognized Quebec as a "distinct society" and would have increased the powers of the provinces to the detriment of the federal government.
Trudeau stepped down as Prime Minister and party leader in 1984, as the Liberals were slipping in polls. At that year's leadership convention, Turner defeated Chrétien on the second ballot to become Prime Minister. Immediately, upon taking office, Turner called a snap election, citing favourable internal polls. However, the party was hurt by numerous patronage appointments, many of which Turner had made supposedly in return for Trudeau retiring early. Also, they were unpopular in their traditional stronghold of Quebec because of the constitution repatriation which excluded that province. The Liberals lost power in the 1984 election, and were reduced to only 40 seats in the House of Commons. The Progressive Conservatives won a majority of the seats in every province, including Quebec. The 95-seat loss was the worst defeat in the party's history, and the worst defeat at the time for a governing party at the federal level. What was more, the New Democratic Party, successor to the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, won only ten fewer seats than the Liberals, and some thought that the NDP under Ed Broadbent would push the Liberals to third-party status.
The party began a long process of reconstruction. A small group of young Liberal MPs, known as the Rat Pack, gained fame by criticizing the Tory government of Brian Mulroney at every turn. Also, despite public and backroom attempts to remove Turner as leader, he managed to consolidate his leadership at the 1986 review.
The 1988 election was notable for Turner's strong opposition to the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement negotiated by Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Although most Canadians voted for parties opposed to free trade, the Tories were returned with a majority government, and implemented the deal. The Liberals recovered from their near-meltdown of 1984, however, winning 83 seats and ending much of the talk of being eclipsed by the NDP, who won 43 seats.
Liberals under Chrétien
Turner announced that he would resign as leader of the Liberal Party on May 3, 1989. The Liberal Party set a leadership convention for June 23, 1990, in Calgary. Five candidates contested the leadership of the party and former Deputy Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who had served in every Liberal cabinet since 1965, won on the first ballot. Chrétien's Liberals campaigned in the 1993 election on the promise of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and eliminating the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Just after the writ was dropped for the election, they issued the Red Book, an integrated and coherent approach to economic, social, environmental and foreign policy. This was unprecedented for a Canadian party. Taking full advantage of the inability of Mulroney's successor, Kim Campbell, to overcome a large amount of antipathy toward Mulroney, they won a strong majority government with 177 seats—the third-best performance in party history, and their best since 1949. The Progressive Conservatives were cut down to only two seats, suffering a defeat even more severe than the one they had handed the Liberals nine years earlier. The Liberals were re-elected with a considerably reduced majority in 1997, but nearly tied their 1993 total in 2000.
For the next decade, the Liberals dominated Canadian politics in a fashion not seen since the early years of Confederation. This was because of the destruction of the "grand coalition" of Western socially conservative populists, Quebec nationalists, and fiscal conservatives from Ontario that had supported the Progressive Conservatives in 1984 and 1988. The Progressive Conservatives Western support, for all practical purposes, transferred en masse to the Western-based Reform Party, which replaced the PCs as the major right-wing party in Canada. However, the new party's agenda was seen as too conservative for most Canadians. It only won one seat east of Manitoba in an election (but gained another in a floor-crossing). Even when Reform restructured into the Canadian Alliance, the party was virtually non-existent east of Manitoba, winning only 66 seats in 2000. Reform/Alliance was the official opposition from 1997 to 2003, but was never able to overcome wide perceptions that it was merely a Western protest party. The Quebec nationalists who had once supported the Tories largely switched their support to the sovereigntist Bloc Québécois, while the Tories' Ontario support largely moved to the Liberals. The PCs would never be a major force in Canadian politics again; while they rebounded to 20 seats in the next election, they won only two seats west of Quebec in the next decade.
Ontario and Quebec combine for a majority of seats in the House of Commons by virtue of Ontario's current population and Quebec's historic population (59 percent of the seats as of 2006[update]). As a result, it is very difficult to form even a minority government without substantial support in Ontario and/or Quebec. No party has ever formed a majority government without winning the most seats in either Ontario or Quebec. It is mathematically possible to form a minority government without a strong base in either province, but such an undertaking is politically difficult. The Liberals were the only party with a strong base in both provinces, thus making them the only party capable of forming a government.
There was some disappointment as Liberals were not able to recover their traditional dominant position in Quebec, despite being led by a Quebecer from a strongly nationalist region of Quebec. The Bloc capitalized on discontent with the failure of the 1990 Meech Lake Accord and Chrétien's uncompromizing stance on federalism (see below) to win the most seats in Quebec in every election from 1993, onward, even serving as the official opposition from 1993 to 1997. Chrétien's reputation in his home province never recovered after the 1990 leadership convention when rival Paul Martin forced him to declare his opposition to the Meech Lake Accord. However, the Liberals did increase their support in the next two elections because of infighting within the Bloc. In the 1997 election, although the Liberals finished with a thin majority, it was their gains in Quebec which were credited with offsetting their losses in the Maritime provinces. In particular, the 2000 election was a breakthrough for the Liberals after the PQ government's unpopular initiatives regarding consolidation of several Quebec urban areas into "megacities". Many federal Liberals also took credit for Charest's provincial election victory over the PQ in spring 2003. A series of by-elections allowed the Liberals to gain a majority of Quebec ridings for the first time since 1984.
The Chrétien Liberals more than made up for their shortfall in Quebec by building a strong base in Ontario. They reaped a substantial windfall from the votes of fiscally conservative and socially liberal voters who had previously voted Tory, as well as rapid growth in the Greater Toronto Area. They were also able to take advantage of massive vote splitting between the Tories and Reform/Alliance in rural areas of the province that had traditionally formed the backbone of provincial Tory governments. Combined with their historic dominance of Metro Toronto and northern Ontario, the Liberals dominated the province's federal politics even as the Tories won landslide majorities at the provincial level. In 1993, for example, the Liberals won all but one seat in Ontario, and came within 123 votes in Simcoe Centre of pulling off the first clean sweep of Canada's most populated province. They were able to retain their position as the largest party in the House by winning all but two seats in Ontario in the 1997 election. The Liberals were assured of at least a minority government once the Ontario results came in, but it was not clear until later in the night that they would retain their majority. In 2000, the Liberals won all but three seats in Ontario.
While the Chrétien Liberals campaigned from the left, their time in power is most marked by the cuts made to many social programs, including health transfers, in order to balance the federal budget. Chrétien had supported the Charlottetown Accord while in opposition, but in power opposed major concessions to Quebec and other provincialist factions. In contrast to their promises during the 1993 campaign, they implemented only minor changes to NAFTA, embraced the free trade concept and—with the exception of the replacement of the GST with the Harmonized Sales Tax in some Atlantic provinces—broke their promise to replace the GST.
After a proposal for Quebec independence was narrowly defeated in the 1995 Quebec referendum, the Liberals passed the "Clarity Act", which outlines the federal government's preconditions for negotiating provincial independence. In Chrétien's final days, he supported same-sex marriage and decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of marijuana. Chrétien displeased the United States government when he pledged on March 17, 2003, that Canada would not support the 2003 invasion of Iraq. A poll released shortly after showed widespread approval of Chrétien's decision by the Canadian public. The poll, which was conducted by EKOS for the Toronto Star and La Presse, found 71 percent of those questioned approved of the government's decision to not enter the United States-led invasion, with 27 percent expressing disapproval.
Into the 21st century
Several trends started in 2003 which suggested the end of the Liberal Party's political dominance. Notably, there would be a high turnover of permanent party leaders, in contrast to their predecessors who usually served over two or more elections, particularly Trudeau and Chrétien who each led for over a decade. The Liberals were also hampered by their inability to raise campaign money competitively after Chrétien passed a bill in 2003 which banned corporate donations, even though the Liberals had enjoyed by far the lion's share of this funding because of the then-divided opposition parties. It has been suggested that Chrétien, who had done nothing about election financing for his 10 years in office, could be seen as the idealist as he retired, while his rival and successor Paul Martin would have the burden of having to fight an election under the strict new rules. Simon Fraser University professor Doug McArthur has noted that Martin's leadership campaign used aggressive tactics for the 2003 leadership convention, in attempting to end the contest before it could start by giving the impression that his bid was too strong for any other candidate to beat. McArthur blamed Martin's tactics for the ongoing sag in Liberal fortunes, as it discouraged activists who were not on side.
Martin succeeds Chrétien
Paul Martin succeeded Chrétien as party leader and prime minister in 2003. Despite the personal rivalry between the two, Martin was the architect of the Liberals' economic policies as Minister of Finance during the 1990s. Chrétien left office with a high approval rating and Martin was expected to make inroads into Quebec and Western Canada, two regions of Canada where the Liberals had not attracted much support since the 1980s and 1990s, respectively. While his cabinet choices provoked some controversy over excluding many Chrétien supporters, it at first did little to hurt his popularity.
However, the political situation changed with the revelation of the sponsorship scandal, in which advertising agencies supporting the Liberal Party received grossly inflated commissions for their services. Having faced a divided conservative opposition for the past three elections, Liberals were seriously challenged by competition from the newly united Conservative Party led by Stephen Harper. The infighting between Martin and Chrétien's supporters also dogged the party. Nonetheless, by criticizing the Conservatives' social policies, the Liberals were able to draw progressive votes from the NDP which made the difference in several close races. On June 28, 2004 federal election, the Martin Liberals retained enough support to continue as the government, though they were reduced to a minority.
In the ensuing months, testimony from the Gomery Commission caused public opinion to turn sharply against the Liberals for the first time in over a decade. Despite the devastating revelations, only two Liberal MPs—David Kilgour (who had crossed the floor from the PC Party in 1990) and Pat O'Brien—left the party for reasons other than the scandal. Belinda Stronach, who crossed the floor from the Conservatives to the Liberals, gave Martin the number of votes needed, although barely, to hold onto power when an NDP-sponsored amendment to his budget was passed only by the Speaker's tiebreaking vote on May 19, 2005.
In November, the Liberals dropped in polls following the release of the first Gomery Report. Nonetheless, Martin turned down the NDP's conditions for continued support, as well as rejected an opposition proposal which would schedule a February 2006 election in return for passing several pieces of legislation. The Liberals thus lost the no-confidence vote on November 28; Martin thus became only the fifth prime minister to lose the confidence of the House, but the first to lose on a straight no-confidence motion. Because of the Christmas holiday, Martin advised Governor General Michaëlle Jean to dissolve Parliament and call an election for January 2006.
The Liberal campaign was dogged from start to finish by the sponsorship scandal, which was brought up by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) criminal investigation into the leak of the income trust announcement. Numerous gaffes, contrasting with a smoothly run Conservative campaign, put Liberals as many as ten points behind the Conservatives in opinion polling. They managed to recover some of their momentum by election night, but not enough to retain power. They won 103 seats, a net loss of 30 from when the writs were dropped, losing a similar number of seats in Ontario and Quebec to the Tories. However, the Liberals managed to capture the most seats in Ontario for the fifth straight election (54 to the Tories' 40), holding the Conservatives to a minority government. While the Conservatives captured many of Ontario's rural ridings, the Liberals retained most of the population-rich Greater Toronto Area. Many of these ridings, particularly the 905 region, had historically been bellwethers (the Liberals were nearly shut out of this region in 1979 and 1984), but demographic changes have resulted in high Liberal returns in recent years.
Martin resigned as parliamentary leader after the election and stepped down as Liberal leader on March 18, having previously promised to step down if he did not win a plurality.
On May 11, 2006, La Presse reported that the Government of Canada would file a lawsuit against the Liberal Party to recover all the money missing in the sponsorship program. Scott Brison told reporters that same day that the Liberals has already paid back the $1.14 million into the public purse; however, the Conservatives believed that there was as much as $40 million unaccounted for in the sponsorship program.
2006 Convention and Dion
After their election defeat Martin chose not to take on the office of Leader of the Opposition. He stepped down as parliamentary leader of his party on February 1, and the Liberal caucus appointed Bill Graham, MP for Toronto Centre and outgoing Defence Minister, as his interim successor. Martin officially resigned as leader in March, with Graham taking over on an interim basis.
The leadership election was set for December 2, 2006, in Montreal; however, a number of prominent members such as John Manley, Frank McKenna, Brian Tobin, and Allan Rock had already announced they would not enter the race to succeed Martin. Throughout the campaign 12 candidates came forward to lead the party, but by the time of the leadership convention only eight people remained in the race; Martha Hall Findlay, Stéphane Dion, Michael Ignatieff, Gerard Kennedy, Bob Rae, Scott Brison, Ken Dryden, Joe Volpe.
Throughout the campaign Ignatieff, Rae, Dion and Kennedy were considered to be the only candidates with enough support to be able to win the leadership, with Ignatieff and Rae being considered the two front-runners. However polling showed Ignatieff had little room to grow his support, while Dion was the second and third choice among a plurality of delegates. At the leadership convention Ignatieff came out on top on the first ballot with 29.3 percent, With Kennedy's support Dion was able to leapfrog both Rae and Ignatieff on the third ballot, eliminating Rae. On the fourth and final ballot Dion defeated Ignatieff to become leader of the Liberal Party.
Following the leadership race the Liberal Party saw a bounce in support and surpassed the Conservative Party as the most popular party in Canada. However, in the months and years to come the party's support gradually fell. Dion's own popularity lagged considerably behind that of Prime Minister Harper's, and he often trailed NDP leader Jack Layton in opinion polls when Canadians were asked who would make the best Prime Minister.
Dion campaigned on environmental sustainability during the leadership race, and created the "Green Shift" plan following his election as leader. The Green Shift proposed creating a carbon tax that would be coupled with reductions to income tax rates. The proposal was to tax greenhouse gas emissions, starting at $10 per tonne of CO2 and reaching $40 per tonne within four years. The plan was a key policy for the party in the 2008 federal election, but it was not well received and was continuously attacked by both the Conservatives and NDP. On election night the Liberal Party won 26.26 percent of the popular vote and 77 of the 308 seats in the House of Commons. At that time their popular support was the lowest in the party's history, and weeks later Dion announced he would step down as Liberal leader once his successor was chosen.
Leadership campaign and coalition
New Brunswick Member of Parliament Dominic LeBlanc was the first candidate to announce he would seek the leadership of the Liberal Party on October 27, 2008. Days later Bob Rae, who had finished third in 2006, announced he would also be a candidate for the leadership. The party executive met in early November and chose May 2, 2009, as the date to elect the next leader. On November 13 Michael Ignatieff, who finished second in 2006, announced he would also be a candidate.
On November 27, 2008, Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty provided the House of Commons with a fiscal update, within which were plans to cut government spending, suspend the ability of civil servants to strike until 2011, sell off some Crown assets to raise capital, and eliminate the existing $1.95 per vote subsidy parties garner in an election. The opposition parties criticized the fiscal update, and announced they would not support it because it contained no stimulus money to spur Canada's economy and protect workers during the economic crisis. With the Conservative Party only holding a minority of the seats in the House of Commons the government would be defeated if the opposition parties voted against the fiscal update. With the Conservatives unwilling to budge on the proposals outlined in the fiscal update the Liberals and NDP signed an agreement to form a coalition government, with a written pledge of support from the Bloc Québécois. Under the terms of the agreement Dion would be sworn in as Prime Minister, however he would only serve in the position until the next Liberal leader was chosen. Dion contacted Governor General Michaëlle Jean and advised her that he had the confidence of the House of Commons if Prime Minister Harper's government was to fall. However, before the fiscal update could be voted on in the House of Commons Prime Minister Harper requested the Governor General to prorogue parliament till January 26, 2009, which she accepted.
While polls showed Canadians were split on the idea of having either a coalition government or having the Conservatives continue to govern, it was clear that because of Dion's personal popularity they were not comfortable with him becoming Prime Minister. Members of the Liberal Party therefore called on Dion to resign as leader immediately and for an interim leader to be chosen, this person would become the Prime Minister in the event that the Conservatives were defeated when parliament resumed in January. With an estimated 70 percent of the Liberal caucus wanting Ignatieff to be named interim leader, Dion resigned the post on December 8, 2008 (effective December 10, upon Ignatieff's becoming interim leader). LeBlanc announced on the same day that he was abandoning the Liberal leadership race and endorsing Ignatieff as the next leader. The following day Rae announced he was also dropping out of the race and was placing his "full and unqualified" support to Ignatieff.
Ignatieff and the 2011 election
With Ignatieff named interim leader of the party (on December 10), the Liberal's poll numbers saw significant gains, after they plummeted with the signing of the coalition agreement. When parliament resumed on January 28, 2009, the Ignatieff Liberals agreed to support the budget as long as it included regular accountability reports, which the Conservatives accepted. This ended the possibility of the coalition government with the New Democrats.
Throughout the Winter of 2008–09, opinion polls showed that while the Ignatieff led Liberals still trailed the Conservatives their support had stabilized in the low 30 percent range. However, by the time Ignatieff was confirmed as party leader on May 2, 2009, the Liberal Party had a comfortable lead over the governing Conservatives. After a summer where he was accused of being missing in action, Ignatieff announced on August 31, 2009, that the Liberals would not support the minority Conservative government. After this announcement the Liberal Party's poll numbers, which had already declined over the summer, started to fall further behind the Conservatives. On October 1, 2009, the Liberals put forth a non-confidence motion with the hope of defeating the government. However, the NDP abstained from voting and the Conservatives survived the confidence motion.
The Liberal Party's attempt to force an election, just a year after the previous one, was reported as a miscalculation, as polls showed that most Canadians did not want another election. Even after the government survived the confidence motion popularity for Ignatieff and his party continued to fall. Over the next year and a half, with the exception of a brief period in early 2010, support for the Liberals remained below 30 percent, and behind the Conservatives. While his predecessor Dion was criticized by the Conservatives as a "weak leader", Ignatieff was attacked as a "political opportunist".
On March 25, 2011, Ignatieff introduced a motion of non-confidence against the Harper government to attempt to force a May 2011, federal election after the government was found to be in Contempt of Parliament, the first such occurrence in Commonwealth history. The House of Commons passed the motion by 156–145.
The Liberals had considerable momentum when the writ was dropped, and Ignatieff successfully squeezed NDP leader Jack Layton out of media attention, by issuing challenges to Harper for one-on-one debates. In the first couple weeks of the campaign, Ignatieff kept his party in second place in the polls, and his personal ratings exceeded that of Layton for the first time. However, opponents frequently criticized Ignatieff's perceived political opportunism, particularly during the leaders debates when Layton criticized Ignatieff for having a poor attendance record for Commons votes saying "You know, most Canadians, if they don't show up for work, they don't get a promotion". Ignatieff failed to defend himself against these charges, and the debates were said to be a turning point for his party's campaign. Near the end of the campaign, a late surge in support for Layton and the NDP relegated Ignatieff and the Liberals to third in opinion polls.
The Liberals suffered their worst defeat in history in the May 2, 2011, federal election. The result was a third-place finish, with only 19 percent of the vote and returning 34 seats in the House of Commons. Notably, their support in Toronto and Montreal, their power bases for the last two decades, all but vanished. All told, the Liberals won only 11 seats in Ontario (seven of which were in Toronto) and seven in Quebec (all in Montreal)—their fewest totals in either province. Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province with majority Liberal seats at 4 out of 7. They also won only four seats west of Ontario. The Conservatives won 40 percent of the vote and formed a majority government, while the NDP formed the Official Opposition winning 31 percent of the vote.
This election marked the first time the Liberals were unable to form either government or the official opposition. Ignatieff was defeated in his own riding, and announced his resignation as Liberal leader shortly after. Bob Rae was chosen as the interim leader on May 25, 2011.
On April 14, 2013 Justin Trudeau, son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, was elected leader of the Liberal Party on the first ballot, winning 80% of the vote. Following his win, support for the Liberal Party increased considerably, and the party moved into first place in public opinion polls.
An initial surge in support in the polls following Trudeau's election wore off in the following year, in the face of Conservative ad campaign after Trudeau's win attempting to "[paint] him as a silly dilettante unfit for public office."
In 2014, Trudeau removed all Liberal senators from the Liberal Party caucus. In announcing this, Trudeau said the purpose of the unelected upper chamber is to act as a check on the power of the prime minister, but the party structure interferes with that purpose. Following this move, Liberal senators chose to keep the designation "Liberal" and sit together as a caucus, albeit not one supported by the Liberal Party of Canada. This independent group continued to refer to itself in publications as the Senate Liberal Caucus until 2019.
By the time the 2015 federal election was called, the Liberals had been knocked back into third place. Trudeau and his advisors planned to mount a campaign based on economic stimulus in the hopes of regaining the mantle of being the party that best represented change from the New Democrats.
Justin Trudeau's Liberals would win the 2015 election in dramatic fashion: becoming the first party to win a parliamentary majority after being reduced to third party status in a previous general election, besting Brian Mulroney's record for the largest seat increase by a party in a single election (111 in 1984), and winning the most seats in Quebec for the first time since 1980. Chantal Hébert deemed the result "a Liberal comeback that is headed straight for the history books", while Bloomberg's Josh Wingrove and Theophilos Argitis similarly described it as "capping the biggest political comeback in the country’s history."
Party systems and realignment model
Scholars and political experts have recently used a realignment model to explain what was considered a collapse of a dominant party, and put its condition in long-term perspective. According to recent scholarship, there have been four party systems in Canada at the federal level since Confederation, each with its own distinctive pattern of social support, patronage relationships, leadership styles, and electoral strategies. Steve Patten identifies four party systems in Canada's political history:
- The first party system emerged from pre-Confederation colonial politics, had its "heyday" from 1896 to 1911 and lasted until the Conscription Crisis of 1917, and was characterized by local patronage administered by the two largest parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives.
- The second system emerged following the First World War, and had its heyday from 1935 and 1957, was characterized by regionalism and saw the emergence of several protest parties, such as the Progressives, the Social Credit Party, and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation.
- The third system emerged in 1963 and had its heyday from 1968 to 1983 and began to unravel thereafter. The two largest parties were challenged by a strong third party, the New Democratic Party (successor to the CCF). Campaigns during this era became more national in scope because of electronic media, and involved a greater focus on leadership. The dominant policy of the era was Keynesian economics.
- The fourth party system has involved the rise of the Reform Party, the Bloc Québécois, and the merger of the Canadian Alliance with the Progressive Conservatives. Most parties moved to one-member-one-vote leadership contests, and campaign finance laws were reformed in 2004. The fourth party system has been characterized by market-oriented policies that generally abandoned Keynesian policies, but maintained the welfare state.
Stephen Clarkson (2005) shows how the Liberal Party has dominated all the party systems, using different approaches. It began with a "clientelistic approach" under Laurier, which evolved into a "brokerage" system of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s under Mackenzie King. The 1950s saw the emergence of a "pan-Canadian system", which lasted until the 1990s. The 1993 election – categorized by Clarkson as an electoral "earthquake" which "fragmented" the party system, saw the emergence of regional politics within a four party-system, whereby various groups championed regional issues and concerns. Clarkson concludes that the inherent bias built into the first-past-the-post system, has chiefly benefited the Liberals.
Pundits in the wake of the 2011 election widely believed in a theme of major realignment. Lawrence Martin, commentator for The Globe and Mail, claimed that "Harper has completed a remarkable reconstruction of a Canadian political landscape that endured for more than a century. The realignment sees both old parties of the moderate middle, the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals, either eliminated or marginalized." Maclean's said that the election marked "an unprecedented realignment of Canadian politics" as "the Conservatives are now in a position to replace the Liberals as the natural governing party in Canada"; Andrew Coyne proclaimed "The West is in and Ontario has joined it," noting that the Conservatives accomplished the rare feat of putting together a majority by winning in both Ontario and the western provinces (difficult because of traditionally conflicting interests), while having little representation in Quebec. Books such as The Big Shift by John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker, and Peter C. Newman's When the Gods Changed: The Death of Liberal Canada, provocatively asserted that the Liberals had become an "endangered species" and that an NDP-led opposition would mean that "fortune favours the Harper government" in subsequent campaigns.
Principles and policies
|Part of a series on|
The principles of the party are based on liberalism as defined by various liberal theorists and include individual freedom for present and future generations, responsibility, human dignity, a just society, political freedom, religious freedom, national unity, equality of opportunity, cultural diversity, bilingualism, and multilateralism. In the present times, the Liberal party has favoured a variety of "big tent" policies from both right and left of the political spectrum. When it formed the government from 1993 to 2006, it championed balanced budgets, and eliminated the budget deficit completely from the federal budget in 1995 by reducing spending on social programs or delegating them to the provinces, and promised to replace the Goods and Services Tax in the party's famous Red Book. It also legalized same-sex marriage.
- Cut the middle class tax bracket ($45,000–$90,000) from 22% to 20.5% and create a new tax bracket for income above $200,000 taxed at 33%
- Set national targets to lower greenhouse gas emissions through cooperation with provinces, support Keystone XL with a stricter environmental review process, spend $20 billion over 10 years on "greener infrastructure"
- Run 3 years of deficits that will not exceed $10 billion to finance infrastructure projects and balance the budget in 2019
- Spend $60 billion in new infrastructure spending, including $20 billion in transit infrastructure and quadrupling federal funding for public transit, all over three years
- Invest $300 million annually to fund a Youth Employment Strategy
- Reduce employment insurance (EI) premiums from $1.88 per $100 to $1.65 per $100
- Replace the Universal Child Care Benefit with a Canada Child Benefit that would provide $2,500 more to an average family of four
- Support training efforts in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia; end the bombing mission against ISIS but increase humanitarian aid and training of local ground troops
- Take in 25,000 Syrian refugees and spend $100 million for refugee processing and settlement
- Negotiate a new health accord with the provinces to guarantee long-term funding, including a national plan for lower prescription drug prices
- Invest $3 billion over four years to improve home care
- Set up an all-party committee to pass legislation implementation of physician assisted death
- Full legalization of marijuana
- Implementing a non-partisan appointment process for the Senate modelled on that of the Order of Canada, after having removed Liberal senators from the party caucus in 2014
Provincial Liberal parties
Each province and one territory in Canada has its own Liberal Party. However, only those in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island are politically and organizationally affiliated with the federal Liberal Party. While other provincial Liberal parties may align ideologically with the federal party, they operate as completely separate entities. Those provincial parties have separate policies, finances, memberships, constituency associations, executives, conventions and offices.
|New Brunswick Liberal Association||
21 / 49
|Kevin Vickers||Official Opposition|
|Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador||
20 / 40
|Dwight Ball||Minority government|
|Nova Scotia Liberal Party||
27 / 51
|Stephen McNeil||Majority government|
|Prince Edward Island Liberal Party||
6 / 27
|Robert Mitchell||Third Party|
62 / 180
95 / 200
129 / 206
63 / 206
73 / 211
80 / 215
90 / 215
117 / 213
128 / 213
137 / 214
133 / 221
85 / 221
82 / 235
118 / 235
100 / 245
116 / 245
89 / 245
173 / 245
179 / 245
118 / 245
|1949||Louis St. Laurent||2,874,813||49.1||
191 / 262
169 / 265
105 / 265
48 / 265
99 / 265
128 / 265
131 / 265
154 / 264
109 / 264
141 / 264
114 / 282
147 / 282
40 / 282
83 / 295
177 / 295
155 / 301
172 / 301
135 / 308
103 / 308
77 / 308
34 / 308
184 / 338
157 / 338
History of leaders
Of the list of leaders only 7 never served as Prime Minister and most were interim leaders.
|Date of birth||Date of death||Notes|
|George Brown||1867||1867||November 29, 1818||May 9, 1880||Unofficial|
(actually leader of the Clear Grits, a forerunner of the federal Liberal Party)
|Edward Blake||1869||1870||October 13, 1833||March 1, 1912||Unofficial|
|Alexander Mackenzie||March 6, 1873||April 27, 1880||January 28, 1822||April 17, 1892||2nd Prime Minister (1st Liberal Prime Minister)|
|Edward Blake||May 4, 1880||June 2, 1887||October 13, 1833||March 1, 1912|
|Wilfrid Laurier||June 23, 1887||February 17, 1919||November 20, 1841||February 17, 1919||7th Prime Minister|
|Daniel Duncan McKenzie||February 17, 1919||August 7, 1919||January 8, 1859||June 8, 1927||(Interim)|
|August 7, 1919||August 7, 1948||December 17, 1874||July 22, 1950||10th Prime Minister|
|Louis St. Laurent||August 7, 1948||January 16, 1958||February 1, 1882||July 25, 1973||12th Prime Minister|
|Lester B. Pearson||January 16, 1958||April 6, 1968||April 23, 1897||December 27, 1972||14th Prime Minister|
|Pierre Trudeau||April 6, 1968||June 16, 1984||October 18, 1919||September 28, 2000||15th Prime Minister|
|John Turner||June 16, 1984||June 23, 1990||June 7, 1929||living||17th Prime Minister|
|Jean Chrétien||June 23, 1990||November 14, 2003||January 11, 1934||living||20th Prime Minister|
|Paul Martin||November 14, 2003||March 19, 2006||August 28, 1938||living||21st Prime Minister|
|Bill Graham||March 19, 2006||December 2, 2006||March 17, 1939||living||(Interim)|
|Stéphane Dion||December 2, 2006||December 10, 2008||September 28, 1955||living|
|Michael Ignatieff||December 10, 2008||May 25, 2011||May 12, 1947||living||Interim leader until May 2, 2009 (when ratified as permanent leader)|
|Bob Rae||May 25, 2011||April 14, 2013||August 2, 1948||living||(Interim)|
|Justin Trudeau||April 14, 2013||Incumbent||December 25, 1971||living||23rd Prime Minister|
Federation and Party Presidents
- Vincent Massey 1932–1935
- Norman Platt Lambert 1936–1941
- vacant 1941–1943
- Norman Alexander McLarty 1943 (acting)
- Wishart McLea Robertson 1943–1945
- James Gordon Fogo 1946–1952
- Duncan Kenneth MacTavish 1952–1958
- Bruce Matthews 1958–1961
- John Joseph Connolly 1961–1964
- John Lang Nichol 1964–1968
- Richard Stanbury 1968–1973
- Gildas Molgat 1973–1976
- Alasdair Graham 1976–1980
- Norman MacLeod 1980–1982
- Iona Campagnolo 1982–1986
- J. J. Michel Robert 1986–1990
- Don Johnston 1990–1994
- Dan Hays 1994–1998
- Stephen LeDrew 1998–2003
- Michael Eizenga 2003–2006
- Marie Poulin 2006–2008
- Doug Ferguson 2008–2009
- Alfred Apps 2009–2012
- Mike Crawley 2012–2014
- Anna Gainey 2014–2018
- Suzanne Cowan 2018–present
- Liberal Party of Canada leadership elections
- Liberalism in Canada
- List of political parties in Canada
- Senate Liberal Caucus
- The Liberal Party first appeared on the ballot as a unified party in the 1861 Province of Canada election, six years prior to Canadian Confederation.
- All Liberal senators were expelled from the party's parliamentary caucus in 2014. Remaining senators appointed by Liberal prime ministers up to and including Paul Martin sat as the Senate Liberal Caucus, which was not affiliated to or recognized by the Liberal Party. Senators appointed by Justin Trudeau sit as the Independent Senators Group. The Senate Liberal Caucus was dissolved in 2019 and replaced by the Progressive Senate Group
- "Liberal Party of Canada – History" (PDF). Newmarket-Aurora Federal Liberal Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 26, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
- The party became infused with social liberalism in the 1940s and 1950s. Law Commission of Canada (2011). Law and Citizenship. UBC Press. p. 6. ISBN 9780774840798.
- Susan Prentice, "Manitoba's childcare regime: Social liberalism in flux". Canadian Journal of Sociology 29.2 (2004): 193-207.
- Michael J. Prince, "Canadian disability activism and political ideas: In and between neo-liberalism and social liberalism". Canadian Journal of Disability Studies 1.1 (2012): 1-34.
- Smith, Miriam (2005). "Social Movements and Judicial Empowerment: Courts, Public Policy, and Lesbian and Gay Organizing in Canada". Politics & Society. 33 (2): 327–353. doi:10.1177/0032329205275193.
- Amanda Bittner; Royce Koop (March 1, 2013). Parties, Elections, and the Future of Canadian Politics. UBC Press. pp. 300–. ISBN 978-0-7748-2411-8.
- Andrea Olive (2015). The Canadian Environment in Political Context. University of Toronto Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-4426-0871-9.
- David Rayside (2011). Faith, Politics, and Sexual Diversity in Canada and the United States. UBC Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-7748-2011-0.
- Richard Collin; Pamela L. Martin (2012). An Introduction to World Politics: Conflict and Consensus on a Small Planet. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-4422-1803-1.
- R. Kenneth Carty (2015). Big Tent Politics: The Liberal Party's Long Mastery of Canada's Public Life. UBC Press. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0-7748-3002-7. - (PDF copy - UBC Press, 2015)
- "Liberal Party of Canada Welcomes Liberal International to 2009 Convention". Liberal Party of Canada. March 6, 2009. Archived from the original on August 5, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- Spencer, Christina (January 29, 2014). "Justin Trudeau kicks all 32 Liberal senators out of caucus in bid for reform". National Post. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
- Rodney P. Carlisle (2005). Encyclopedia of Politics: The Left and the Right. SAGE Publications. p. 274. ISBN 978-1-4522-6531-5.
- Donald C. Baumer; Howard J. Gold (2015). Parties, Polarization and Democracy in the United States. Taylor & Francis. pp. 152–. ISBN 978-1-317-25478-2.
- Patrick James; Mark J. Kasoff (2007). Canadian Studies in the New Millennium. University of Toronto Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-4426-9211-4.
- McCall, Christina; Stephen Clarkson. "Liberal Party". The Canadian Encyclopedia.
- Dyck, Rand (2012). Canadian Politics: Concise Fifth Edition. Nelson Education. pp. 217, 229. ISBN 978-0176503437.
- "Liberal Party". The Canadian Encyclopedia. 2015.
- Andrea Olive (2015). The Canadian Environment in Political Context. University of Toronto Press. pp. 55–. ISBN 978-1-4426-0871-9.
- Graham, Ron, ed. (1998). The Essential Trudeau. McClelland & Stewart, p. 71. ISBN 978-0-7710-8591-8.
- Thompson, Wayne C. (2017). Canada. Rowman & Littlefield, p. 135. ISBN 978-1-4758-3510-6.
- "Liberal Party of Canada". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
- "Sir Wilfrid Laurier Biography". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- Beauharnois Scandal Archived May 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine at The Canadian Encyclopedia
- "Federal Election Question May Be Settled Shortly". Ottawa Citizen. September 20, 1943. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
- John W. Lederle. "The Liberal Convention of 1893". The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science. Vol. 16, No. 1 (Feb., 1950), pp. 42–52.
- Koop, Ryan. "The Elusive Nature of National Party Organization in Canada and Australia". Paper presented at the Canadian Political Science Association Annual Conference. University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC. 4–6 June 2008. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
- David Johnson (2006). Thinking Government: Public Sector Management in Canada. University of Toronto Press. pp. 99–103. ISBN 978-1-5511-1779-9.
- "Louis St. Laurent Biography". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- "John Diefenbaker Biography". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- "Lester Pearson Biography". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- Andrew Cohen (2008). Extraordinary Canadians: Lester B. Pearson. Penguin Canada. ISBN 978-0-1431-7269-7.
- Calwell, Allison (September 29, 2000). "Former Canadian PM dies". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Baluja, Tamara; Bradshaw, James (June 22, 2012). "Is bilingualism still relevant in Canada?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Stephen Tierney; Hugh Donald Forbes (2007). Multiculturalism and the Canadian Constitution (PDF). UBC Press. pp. 27–41. ISBN 978-0-7748-1445-4. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 17, 2015.
- Blais, André. "Accounting for the Electoral Success of the Liberal Party in Canada". Journal of Political Science, Dec 2005, Vol. 38#4. pp 821–840.
- "Chinese Immigration Act, 1923". Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
- Stephanie Levitz (September 27, 2016). "Liberals working on apology for 1939 decision to turn away Jewish refugees". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
- Lois Harder; Steve Patten (2015). Patriation and Its Consequences: Constitution Making in Canada (PDF). UBC Press. pp. 3–23. ISBN 978-0-7748-2861-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 17, 2015.
- McKay-Panos, Linda (January 1, 2013). "The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: An Integral Part of our Constitution". LawNow. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
- Soucy, Jean; Wrobel, Marion G. (April 11, 2000). "Federal Deficit: Changing Trends". Parliamentary Research Branch, Economics Division, Library of Parliament. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
- Terence McKenna. "Jean Chrétien: Losing the Liberal leadership". CBC's The Journal, 27 February 1986. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
- Brooke Jeffrey (2010). Divided Loyalties: The Liberal Party of Canada, 1984–2008. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4426-6019-9.
- "Jean Chrétien Bio". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- "Chrétien rejects health-care pleas from provinces". Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
- "Clarity Act". Government of Canada Privy Council Office. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- Melissa Cheung (June 18, 2003). "Canada Will Legalize Gay Marriage". CBS News. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- Krauss, Clifford (June 18, 2003). "Canadian leaders agree to propose gay marriage law". The New York Times. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- "Chrétien restates opposition to Iraq war". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. March 18, 2003. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- Harper, Tim (March 22, 2003). "Canadians back Chrétien on war, poll finds". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- Wells, Paul (May 4, 2011). "The untold story of the 2011 election: Introduction and Chapter 1". Maclean's. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- Gray, John (June 13, 2006). "Realists and idealists and a bag of hammers". CBC News. Archived from the original on October 8, 2010. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
- Mickleburgh, Rod (September 26, 2011). "Topp's NDP campaign tactics border on bullying, professor warns". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- St. Martin, Romeo (May 11, 2006). "Possible lawsuit resurrects Adscam for the Liberals". PoliticsWatch. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
- "Martin to split duties with interim leader Bill Graham". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. February 1, 2006. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- "Rock says no to Liberal leadership". Ottawa Citizen. February 3, 2006. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- "Canadians Place Rae as Best Liberal Leader". Angus Reid. October 20, 2006. Archived from the original on January 21, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- "Rae Seen as Best Future Liberal PM in Canada". Angus Reid. October 23, 2006. Archived from the original on January 21, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- "LPC Delegates Poll" (PDF). EKOS. November 4, 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 4, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- "Kennedy, Dion meet behind closed doors". Toronto Star. November 30, 2006. Retrieved November 12, 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "The Liberal Leadership Race". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- "Liberal popularity peaking with Dion: poll". Canwest News Service. December 8, 2006. Archived from the original on November 21, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "Political parties stuck in neutral". Montreal Gazette. February 14, 2008. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "Harper Advantage Continues" (PDF). Nanos Research. February 7, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 4, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "The Green Shift" (PDF). Liberal Party of Canada. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- Morris, Chris (August 14, 2008). "Liberal Green Shift is 'green shaft,' says Harper". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "Harper hopes Green Shift will turn Liberal voters Tory blue". Canwest News Service. October 5, 2008. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- Galloway, Gloria (September 11, 2008). "Layton lays into Green Shift". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 13, 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "Green Shift touted as both saviour and damnation". The Globe and Mail. September 11, 2008. Archived from the original on November 27, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- Campion-Smith, Bruce; Whittington, Les (October 20, 2008). "Dion resigns but will remain as leader for now". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "Federal Liberals to pick new leader May 2 in Vancouver". The Vancouver Province. November 8, 2008. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "The Economic and Fiscal Statement 2008". Department of Finance Canada. November 27, 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "Flaherty to slash public funding for federal parties". CTV News. November 26, 2008.
- "Opposition parties won't support Tory economic update". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. November 27, 2008. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Liberals, NDP, Bloc sign deal on proposed coalition". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. December 1, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "GG agrees to suspend Parliament until January". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. December 4, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Results of CBC News Survey" (PDF). EKOS Research. December 4, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 9, 2008. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- Valpy, Michael; Leblanc, Daniel; Taber, Jane (December 8, 2008). "Ignatieff makes his move". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on April 13, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- Smith, Joanna (December 8, 2009). "Dion out; Ignatieff and Rae vie for leadership". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "LeBlanc drops out of Liberal leadership race". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. December 8, 2008. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Rae bows out, offers 'unqualified' support for Ignatieff as Liberal leader". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. December 9, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Leadership Change Would Benefit Liberals in the Next Federal Election" (PDF). Angus Reid. December 7, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 21, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Conservative Lead Dwindles After Liberals Settle on New Leader" (PDF). Angus Reid. December 13, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 21, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- Clark, Campbell; Taber, Jane (January 28, 2009). "Ignatieff okays budget, with conditions". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on January 26, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Ignatieff slams Harper for 'failure to unite Canada'". CBC News. May 2, 2009. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- "Close Federal Race Continues – Tories Down in Quebec Up in Ontario" (PDF). Nanos Research. May 2, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 16, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Close federal race continues" (PDF). Nanos Research. June 27, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 16, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- Siddiqui, Haroon (September 3, 2009). "If Harper is Bush, then Ignatieff is John Kerry". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- Hebert, Chantal (August 26, 2009). "Absent opposition gives the PM a holiday". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Liberals won't raise taxes: Ignatieff". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. September 2, 2009. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- "Conservative lead widens in poll". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. September 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Canada's government survives non-confidence motion | Canada". Reuters. October 1, 2009. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
- "Parties Virtually Tied as Election Nears in Canada". Angus Reid. September 4, 2009. Archived from the original on January 21, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- MacDonald, Ian (October 9, 2009). "Harper tickles while Ignatieff burns". Montreal Gazette. Archived from the original on March 14, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- "Conservatives retain 7-point lead as parties enter election campaign" (PDF). EKOS Politics. March 25, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- Austen, Ian (March 25, 2011). "Canadian Government, Beset by Scandal, Collapses". The New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
- "Chance of Harper vs. Ignatieff debate fades". CTV News. March 31, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- Whittington, Les (April 7, 2011). "Ignatieff's appeal improving but Harper still leads, poll says". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- Galloway, Gloria (April 8, 2011). "Layton remains game despite polls showing he's the odd man out". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on April 12, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Layton score jumps, Harper score drops, Ignatieff flat" (PDF). Nanos Research. April 27, 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 4, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Ignatieff's Liberals lose Official Opposition status". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. May 3, 2011.
- "NDP surge overtakes Liberals, poll finds". Edmonton Journal. April 26, 2011. Archived from the original on March 14, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- Fowlie, Jonathan. "NDP overtake Liberals for second place: poll". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- "NDP surge dominates talk on federal campaign trail". The Vancouver Sun. April 27, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- "Official Voting Results – Forty-First General Election 2011". Elections Canada. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- Bryden, Joan (June 19, 2011). "Federal Liberals won't pick new leader for full two years". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
- "Justin Trudeau sweeps Liberal leadership with 80% support". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. April 14, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
- Berthiaume, Lee (May 7, 2013). "Tory attack ads may be backfiring in favour of Trudeau's Liberals as support rises, new poll shows". National Post. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
- Visser, Josh (May 23, 2013). "Trudeau's Liberals hit historic highs as senate scandal has 'drastic effect' on Tories: poll". National Post. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
- Warnica, Richard (October 23, 2015). "The Liberal Resurrection: How a Liberal 'lightweight' faced with the longest election campaign in history beat down a Tory majority". National Post. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- Crawford, Allison (December 3, 2015). "Senate Liberals unsure how to work with Trudeau government". CBC News. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
- Raj, Althia (October 25, 2015). "Justin Trudeau's Liberals: 'We Had A Plan And We Stuck To It.' And They Won". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
- "Canada election: Liberals sweep to power". BBC News. October 20, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
- "Canada election: Liberals win sweeping victory over Conservatives". The Daily Telegraph. October 20, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
- "Stunning Liberal gains in Quebec as Trudeau wins majority government". CBC News. October 19, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
- "Liberal comeback headed for history books". Toronto Star. October 20, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- Argitis, Theophilos; Wingrove, Josh (October 19, 2015). "Trudeau's Liberals Oust Harper With Surprise Canada Majority". Bloomberg News. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
- Steve Patten, "The Evolution of the Canadian Party System". in Gagnon, and Tanguay, eds. Canadian Parties in Transition pp. 57–58
- Stephen Clarkson, The Big Red Machine: How the Liberal Party Dominates Canadian Politics Archived January 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine (2005).
- Martin, Lawrence (May 4, 2011). "Harper's triumph: a realignment of historic proportion". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- Coyne, Andrew (May 6, 2011). "The West is in and Ontario has joined it". Maclean's. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- McLeod, Paul (October 22, 2015). "Book Review: The Big Shift Explains Why Stephen Harper Will Keep Winning". Buzzfeed. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
- Valpy, Michael (November 25, 2011). "Is a Liberal comeback mission impossible?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
- Nadelli, Alberto; Swann, Glenn (October 20, 2015). "Three maps that explain the Liberals' great comeback in Canada's election". The Guardian. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
- Paikin, Steve (October 19, 2015). "Who says Canadian politics are boring?". TVO. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
- Apps, Alfred. "Building a Modern Liberal Party" (PDF). Liberal Party of Canada. pp. 5–9. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- "2009 Constitution" (PDF). Liberal Party of Canada. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- Egan, Louise; Palmer, Randall (November 21, 2011). "The lesson from Canada on cutting deficits". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on November 26, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
- "What does real change mean to you?". Liberal Party of Canada. October 5, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
- Quadri, Omair (October 13, 2015). "Platform comparison: Where the parties stand on the top campaign issues". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
- Elliot, Josh (September 30, 2015). "Liberals 'committed' to legalizing marijuana: Trudeau". CTV News. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
- "The road taken by Justin Trudeau to his Senate reform decision". CBC News. The Canadian Press. January 30, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
- Bickerton, James, and Alain G. Gagnon. Canadian Politics (5th ed. 2009), 415pp; university textbook
- Bliss, Michael. Right Honourable Men: The Descent of Canadian Politics from Macdonald to Mulroney (1994), essays on Prime Ministers
- Clarkson, Stephen. The Big Red Machine: How the Liberal Party Dominates Canadian Politics (2005)
- Cohen, Andrew, and J. L. Granatstein, eds. Trudeau's Shadow: the life and legacy of Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1999).
- Gagnon, Alain G., and Brian Tanguay. Canadian Parties in Transition (3rd ed. 2007), 574pp; university textbook
- Granatstein, J.L. Mackenzie King: His Life and World (1977).
- Hillmer, Norman, and Steven Azzi. "Canada's Best Prime Ministers", Maclean's June 20, 2011 online
- Jeffrey, Brooke. Divided Loyalties: The Liberal Party of Canada, 1984–2008 (2010) excerpt and text search
- Koop, Royce. "Professionalism, Sociability and the Liberal Party in the Constituencies." Canadian Journal of Political Science (2010) 43#04 pp: 893–913.
- McCall, Christina; Stephen Clarkson. "Liberal Party". The Canadian Encyclopedia.
- McCall, Christina. Grits: an intimate portrait of the Liberal Party (Macmillan of Canada, 1982)
- Neatby, H. Blair. Laurier and a Liberal Quebec: A Study in Political Management (1973)
- Whitaker, Reginald. The Government Party: Organizing and Financing the Liberal Party of Canada, 1930–1958 (1977)
- Wallace, W.S. (1948). "History of the Liberal Party of Canada". The Encyclopedia of Canada. IV. Toronto: University Associates of Canada. pp. 75–76.
- Wearing, Joseph. The L-Shaped Party: The Liberal Party of Canada, 1958–1980 (McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1981)
- Archival holdings
- Liberal Party of Canada - Canadian Political Parties and Political Interest Groups - Web Archive created by the University of Toronto Libraries
- Official website
- Liberal Party of Canada - Canadian Political Parties and Political Interest Groups - Web Archive created by the University of Toronto Libraries
- The Liberal Party of Canada Constitution
- Canadian Encyclopedia entry on the Liberal Party
- Media related to Liberal Party of Canada at Wikimedia Commons
- Liberal Party of Canada at Wikinews
- Works related to Liberal Party of Canada at Wikisource