Conservative and Liberal Ideologies in Canada

Essay by zaneyUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2006

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Democracies such as Canada pride themselves on having 'free elections', within which different ideologies are given the opportunity to battle for favour of the public. Since Confederation, Canada and its inhabitants have seen the leadership of this country caught in a seemingly never-ending tug-of-war between two opposing forces, the ideologies of conservatism and liberalism. Over time, these fundamental tenets, as represented by the political parties with corresponding names, have slowly deviated from their original meanings, apparently on course to eventual convergence. The ideologies themselves do not change, but are redefined by the people and are continuously reinterpreted to conform to societal needs and prevailing public opinion. Both of the parties in question were founded on the basis of very opposing ideals; with the Conservative Party essentially mirroring British Toryism, based on ideas of conservatism, advocating traditional (often Christian) values, government regulation of the economy, and close ties to the monarchy.

The Liberal Party on the other hand, who can, for the most part, be found just left of center on the political spectrum, was founded on the ideals of classical liberalism, emphasizing civil rights, individual liberties and economic competition. The platforms of the Liberal and Conservative parties of Canada, in manifestation of their respective ideologies, have intertwined over time and gradually become more similar to each other in order to garner public appeal. This trend can be attributed to the effects of globalization, natural course of events in politics (derived from the desire to win votes), and the effects of the media and ever-changing public perceptions. In the context in which paradigms of conservatism and liberalism are employed today, the majority of Canadians tend to assume that our federal and provincial parties mirror the dogmas they were named after, but the reality is that the words no longer represent themselves.