Throughout its history, Canada’s laws, policies, and domestic and international affairs have been steered by one of two major political parties: the Conservatives or the Liberals. The Flash piece shows their fluctuating fortunes as reflected in the popular vote at every federal election since Confederation.
Left-wing parties like the Prairie Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (the forerunner of today’s New Democratic Party) have often run a distant third, yet have distinguished themselves by weaving the first strands of Canada’s “social safety net,” championing social services such as Medicare, family allowance, and unemployment insurance. In 1993, disaffected Quebecers and westerners voiced their frustration with the ruling Conservatives by voting in large numbers for two new regional parties, the Bloc Québécois and the western-based Reform Party, reducing the Tories to two seats in the House of Commons. After years of vote splitting, the Alliance (Reform) and Progressive Conservative parties united to form the Conservative Party of Canada in 2003.
An animated bar chart grows, showing the results of federal elections in groups from 1867 to 2000. Each party is represented by a different colour.