These labels are used to signify the broader ideological premises believed to lie behind an action, opinion, or statement (Stephen Brooks Page 33). “The Liberal Party had always occupied the middle ground of Canadian political ideology and as a consequence it had to appeal to people fairly widely dispersed across the centre of the spectrum” (Penny Bryden, Page 60) Right and left are shorthand labels for conflicting belief systems. These beliefs include basic notions about how society, the economy, and politics operate, as well as ideas about how these matters should be arranged.
Generally speaking to be on the right in Anglo – American societies mean that one subscribes to an individualistic belief system. Such a person is likely to believe that what one achieves in life is due principally to his or her own efforts – that the welfare of the society is best promoted by allowing individuals to pursue their own interests and that modern government is too expensive and too intrusive. To be on the left, however, is to prefer a set of beliefs that may be described as collectivist.
A leftist is likely to attribute greater weight to social and economic circumstances as determinants of ones opportunities and achievements than does someone on the right. Moreover those on the left have greater doubts about the economic efficiency and social fairness of free markets and have greater faith in the ability of government to intervene in ways that promote the common good (Stephen Brooks, page 34). The importance of these ideologies in defining the contours of political life is suggested by the fact that major and minor political parties in many Western democracies continue to use the names liberal, conservative, and socialist.
Changes in the Party’s political Ideology over a period of time – History In Canada the two parties that have dominated national politics for most of the country’s history are the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party (the conservative party was renamed the Progressive Conservative Party in 1942, since December 2003, when it merged with the Canadian Alliance, it is once again known as the Conservative Party of Canada). They have their roots in the ideological divisions of the nineteenth century.
Over time, however, the labels have lost much if not all of their informative value. Today, the ideological distance between a Liberal and a Conservative is likely to be small. Indeed, at the beginning of the twentieth century the astute French observer Andre Siegfried had already remarked that the Liberal and Conservative parties were virtually indistinguishable in terms of their ideological principles.
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