The Contrasting American and Canadian Political Party Systems

Topics: Elections, Election, Liberal International Pages: 5 (2292 words) Published: November 22, 2011
Political parties have existed for many years and support societies in achieving goals and objectives. It is hard to imagine what like would be like without them. G. Bingham Powell found that: Political parties are the institutions that link the voting choices of individual citizens with aggregate electoral outcomes in the competitive democracies. The parties set the alternatives offered to the citizens in elections and their organized activities can encourage both registration and election-day turnout. The relationships between party systems and nations cleavage structures should play a major role in shaping voting participation level (Holomon, Johnson, and Munroe, 2004). With different political party systems there can be very different outcomes when it come to the satisfaction of voters with their political parties. The difference between Canada’s multiparty system and America’s two-party system is an unmistakable illustration of this. In this essay I will demonstrate how Canada’s representative democracy is better than America’s with respect to the number of political parties in each system because in America; fewer voters’ opinions are covered and politicians are attempting to win a greater percentage of votes at an expense. With both Canada and the United States being so diverse and multicultural it should be expected to have a population of all various ideologies. In today’s modern, North American society it is only natural that citizens have disagreements in opinion about the most important of issues such as finance, economy, health care, abortion rights, and military, which are just a couple of examples. All of these issues are very much political issues that are all usually part of each political party’s platform. In Canada there is a multiparty system, which means there are more options of political parties to vote for. There is the Liberal Party, Conservative Party, New Democrat Party (NDP), the Bloc Quebecois, and the Green Party, all with different ideas to represent the opinions and beliefs of Canadians. In America’s two-party system, it is a lot more difficult and much more unlikely for all citizens’ opinions to be covered. In the two-party system there is less variety for voters because they must choose one or the other. With the Republican and Democratic parties, for many political issues the voter must be on either one side or the other, nowhere in the middle. This means that not only do voters in America have only the choice of two parties, but also must chose from each extreme side of many major political issues. You can see this by just looking at what each party traditionally stands for. Soutar has established that Conventionally, Republicans are for pro life, free marketplace, limited government, strong national defense, secure borders, fiscal responsibility, and strict interpretation of the constitution, while he also argues that democrats are for government assistance, a multicultural and diverse religious society, regulations on business and trade, protection of the environment, nuclear disarmament, and economic aid to impoverished foreign countries (Soutar, 2007, para. 9). With most of these issues, both parties stand for opposite views, which give voters two choices that are usually very contrary to each other. Furthermore, voters may agree with one party on one topic and the other party on the other topic. There are no other parties to find a common ground and many voters are required to compromise their opinions and beliefs when voting. With only to choices to be had by voters, politics becomes awfully simplified. Some would say this would be a good thing because it aids citizens in understanding what each party stands for and even encourages them to vote. Unfortunately this is not the case. In 2008 only 56.8% of voting-age citizens in America voted, just over half (National Voter Turnout, 2008). If the simplification of politics, to the point of only wanting two options for...

References: Balz, D. & Broder, D. (2007, January 3). Remembering a Leader and a Party that was. The Washington Post. Retrieved from
Holomon, C., Johnson, L., & Munroe E
If Canada had a Two-Party System (2009, October 27). Retrieved from
Jones, A
National Voter Turnout in Federal Elections: 1960-2008 (2008). Information Please. Retrieved from
Party Standings (2010)
Soutar, J. (2007, August 30). The Two-Party System: A Catastrophic Failure. Intellectual Conservative. Retrieved from
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