By Trevor Busch
When it’s federal election season in Canada, voters inevitably tend to focus on the positions and platforms of the so-called major parties who are all seeking the favour of Canadians at the ballot box. Whether it be tried-and-true Tory blue, the rouge-rampant Liberals, the marmalade NDP, or the upstart teal thumbs of the Greens, some combination of these political movements usually reigns supreme over Ottawa’s wintry boulevards.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some other parties out there on the windy fringes seeking the votes of politically-minded Canadians. And while they’re unlikely to capture a seat, hold the balance of power, or influence policy, they’ll still be on the ballot in various ridings across the nation.
In John Wyndham’s 1955 novel The Chrysalids which used to be read by high school students in Canada, genetic mutations are “sent to the fringes” in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Not unlike the novel, Canada’s political mutations have been metaphorically “sent to the fringes” by voters. But they can still be rather amusing.
Here’s a quick look at some of the more interesting Canadian political parties vying for your vote on Oct. 21.
Animal Protection Party of Canada
Focused on animal rights and environmentalism, this party has been around since 2005. It voices vocal opposition to the seal hunt in Newfoundland and Labrador, fur farming, trapping, and bear hunting. The party’s role in most ridings is to endorse a major-party candidate who promotes positions favourable to its own.
The party’s candidates appear to be largely sequestered in southern Ontario, so members of the Jumbo Valley Colony can rest easy.
Canada’s Fourth Front
A new federal party, the CFF advocates for major issues like climate change, health care, affordable housing, employment and immigration.
We’re not sure how this differs much from the nation’s major parties. Judging by their website, we’re not sure if the CFF knows either.
Canadian Nationalist Party
The nation’s goose-steppers need a home, too, and they’ll be welcomed with open arms by this far right white nationalist party. With such uprightly-progressive viewpoints as discontinuing public funding for pride parades, restricting abortion access, establishing a mandatory national curriculum based on “European and Christian values,” and repealing the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, the CNP probably won’t be winning any popularity contests in ethnically-diverse neighbourhoods.
No word yet on whether President Donald Trump plans to show up at any of their rallies. We’ll be expecting a flurry of Tweets in support, however.
Communist Party of Canada
The old hammer and sickle have taken quite a beating in the post-Soviet world, and most people probably thought these socialist dreamers would have migrated over to the NDP decades ago. Not to be denied, however, the communists are still alive in well in Canada, and still believe that “Canada’s Future is Socialism.”
Founded in 1921, the party is actually the second oldest in Canada after the Liberal Party. And unlike their fringe-ish brethren, the CPC has actually elected members to Parliament in the past, as well as the Ontario and Manitoba legislatures. Karl Marx would be proud. No confirmation if free copies of Das Kapital or The Communist Manifesto are available upon request.
Libertarian Party of Canada
Around since 1973, the mission of the party is to reduce the size, scope and cost of government. Policies the party advocates for include ending drug prohibition, ending government censorship, lowering taxes, protecting gun rights and non-interventionism.
Self-described as Canada’s “fourth party” in the 1980s, the Libertarians declined to join the Reform Party in 1987. One wonders if this was considered a mistake of epic proportions by today’s dwindling membership.
Seeing as this party’s major platform of legalization was usurped by the Liberals, one wonders why these captains of cannabis culture remain on the ballot in 2019. Perhaps they’re blissfully undecided on what to target next, what with that pesky short-term memory loss.
We’re expecting it to morph into the Shrooms Party (or the Psilocybin Party of Canada) in time for the next election in 2023.
Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada
Apparently the term “vote-splitting” doesn’t seem to register with these two fringe flat-liners (note the Communist Party of Canada earlier). One suspects their own memberships probably have trouble telling the difference between the two, other than a lasting respect for the views of old Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov.
By all accounts both parties are bitterly opposed to each other’s ideologies, so don’t expect any “unite the far left” movement any time soon.
National Citizens Alliance
This party, under the banner of the Democratic Advancement Party of Canada, actually ran a candidate in Bow River in the last federal election. Fahed Khalid would take in a whopping 0.17 per cent of the vote. Since then, the party has reformed itself as the National Citizens Alliance, and believes in nationalism, anti-globalization, and conservatism, and is considered a far right party.
Progressive Canadian Party
Not to be confused with 1920’s vintage western-populist Progressive Party (which later merged with the Conservatives to become the PCs), the Progressive Canadians still like a play on old party initials. Endorsing “Red Toryism”, the “PCs” grew out of dissatisfaction over the merger of the old Progressive Conservatives and Canadian Alliance in the early 2000s.
A satirical political party, because who ever said that federal politics shouldn’t be funny? In fact, judging by the clown-college antics on display on any given Monday in Ottawa, bitterly satirical dark comedy isn’t really that far off the mark in the House of Commons these days.
The party’s policies read like a skit on Saturday Night Live. For example, one candidate ran on the platform of strengthening Canada’s military by towing Antarctica to the Arctic Circle, stating “Once we have Antarctica, we’ll control all of the world’s cold. If another Cold War starts, we’ll be unbeatable.” Enough said?
As we draw this rather inane column to a timely end, there’s a few others registered out there inhabiting the frozen tundra of Canadian electoral politics, including the Parti Pour L’Independence du Quebec (separatists), the Stop Climate Change Party, the United Party of Canada, and the Veterans Coalition Party of Canada.
And remember to cast your ballot on Oct. 21 — even if none of these fine, upstanding political powerhouses that bestride Canada’s electoral landscape like colossus don’t have a local candidate in place to tickle your many fancies.