Canada is a country with a number of important political parties that help to shape the process of governmental function and public policy within the country. While some experts tend to recognize only three or four of the parties as being major, there are in fact currently five political parties that appear to stand out from the wider number of political organizations within the country.
By far, the currently most favored and influential political party in Canada is the Liberal Party. Founded in 1867, this party has often over the years held a majority in the Canadian House of Commons, and at other times still remained a substantial amount of seats. Considered to embody a centrist policy that is slightly to the left, the Liberal Party often receives a great deal of press coverage and will most likely continue to be one of the major parties in the country for many years to come.
The Conservative Party of Canada was created through a merger in 2003 between the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. This merger was preceded by the consolidation of the Alliance with the Reform Party in 2000. The Reform Party had been the chief political party to oppose the Liberal party for a number of years. As part of the merger plan, the newly formed Conservative political party retained the designation of Tories from the Progressive Conservative party, and has captured a great deal of attention from Canadians in all provinces. In 2006, the party achieved a major victory with the election of its candidate for prime minister, Stephen Harper.
As a separatist political party, the Bloc Quebecois is the national expression of the Quebec based Parti Quebecois. Founded in 1991, this political party is considered to be a sovereignist party, with a strong social democratic lean. The Bloc Quebecois continues to control a small but significant number of seats in the House of Commons, in spite of the mergers that consolidated several of the other parties around the country.
The New Democratic Party is another political party in Canada that is understood to function on a platform that is informed by social democratic principles. Created in 1961, the party is considered to be decidedly leftist in its approach, and retains a small number of seats in the House of Commons.