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DIFFERENCES IN IDEOLOGY play a negligible role in Canadian politics. A party's position often depends less on its official principles than on whether it is in or out of government. Also, federal and provincial politics are quite disconnected. This was shown in the 1990s when the Liberal Party was able to build a majority government largely on the basis of Ontario seats but could not control the Ontario provincial legislature. The parties of the left run the gamut from the mainstream Liberal Party through the smaller but occasionally influential New Democratic Party and the secessionist Parti Québécois to the peripheral Communist Party of Canada.

Liberal Party

The Liberals are Canada's “government party,” having ruled for two-thirds of the 20th century. The party does not espouse a coherent ...

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