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The New Democratic Party ( ), commonly referred to as the NDP, is a social democratic political party in Canadamarker. In the Canadian House of Commons, it holds a centre-left position in the Canadian political spectrum. The leader of the federal NDP is Jack Layton. The Provincial NDP parties in Manitobamarker and Nova Scotiamarker currently form the government, and provincial parties have previously formed governments in British Columbiamarker, Ontariomarker, Saskatchewanmarker and in the Yukonmarker.

Principles, policies and electoral achievement

The NDP grew from populist, agrarian and democratic socialist roots. While the party is secular and pluralistic, it has a longstanding relationship with the Christian left and the Social Gospel movement, particularly the United Church of Canada. However, the federal party has broadened to include concerns of the New Left, which advocates issues such as gay rights, peace, and environmental protection.

New Democrats today advocate, among other things

The NDP has never formed the federal government, but has at times wielded influence during federal minority governments, such as in the current 40th Parliament as well as the preceding 39th and (particularly) the 38th Parliaments of 2004-2008. The NDP also enjoyed considerable influence during the earlier minority Liberal governments of Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, due to being a large enough group to decide outcomes when the others are split. Provincial New Democratic Parties, technically sections of the federal party, have governed in half the provinces and a territory. They currently govern the provinces of Manitobamarker and Nova Scotiamarker, form the Official Opposition in British Columbiamarker and Saskatchewanmarker, and have sitting members in every provincial legislature except those of Quebecmarker (where there is no provincial NDP), New Brunswickmarker (although the New Brunswick NDP had an elected member until 2006) and Prince Edward Islandmarker. They have previously formed governments in the provinces of Ontariomarker, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and in the Yukon Territory. The NDP also formed the official opposition in Albertamarker during the 1980s.

The New Democrats are also active municipally, and have been elected mayors, councillors, and school and service board members — Torontomarker mayor David Miller is a leading example, although he did not renew his membership in 2007. Similarly, current Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson began his political career as the NDP MLA for Vancouver-Fairview. Most municipal office-holders in Canada are usually elected as independents or with autonomous municipal parties.


Provincial and territorial wings

Unlike most other Canadian parties, the NDP is integrated with its provincial and territorial parties. Membership lists are maintained by the provinces and territories. Being a member of a provincial or territorial section of the NDP includes automatic membership in the federal party. This precludes a person from supporting different parties at the federal and provincial levels. A key example of this was Buzz Hargrove's expulsion by the Ontario New Democratic Party after he backed Paul Martin in the 2006 election.

There are three exceptions. In Nunavutmarker and in the Northwest Territories, whose territorial legislatures have no parties, the federal NDP is promoted by its riding associations, since each territory is composed of only one federal riding.

In Quebec, the Quebec New Democratic Party and the federal NDP agreed in 1989 to sever their structural ties after the Quebec party adopted the sovereigntist platform. Since then, the federal NDP is not integrated with a provincial party in that province; instead, it has a section, the Nouveau Parti démocratique-Section Québec/New Democratic Party Quebec Section, whose activities in the province are limited to the federal level, whereas on the provincial level its members are individually free to support or adhere to any party.

Provincial and territorial parties, current seats, and leaders
Party Seats/Total Leader
Alberta New Democratic Party 2/83 Brian Mason, MLA
British Columbia New Democratic Party 35/85 Carole James, MLA, Leader of the Opposition
New Democratic Party of Manitoba 36/57 Hon. Greg Selinger, MLA, Premier of Manitoba
New Brunswick New Democratic Party 0/55 Roger Duguay
New Democratic Party of

Newfoundland and Labrador
1/48 Lorraine Michael, MHA
Nova Scotia New Democratic Party 32/52 Hon. Darrell Dexter, MLA, Premier of Nova Scotia
Ontario New Democratic Party 10/107 Andrea Horwath, MPP
Prince Edward Island New Democratic Party (P.E.I.) 0/27 James Rodd
Saskatchewan New Democratic Party 20/58 Dwain Lingenfelter, MLA, Leader of the Opposition
Yukon New Democratic Party 2/18 Elizabeth Hanson

(Those current NDP government are in bold)

From 1963 to 1994, there was a New Democratic Party of Quebec.

Chart of the best showings for provincial parties, and the election that provided the results
Province/Territory Seats - Status Election years and party leaders at the time
Albertamarker 16 - Official Opposition 1986, Ray Martin; 1989, Ray Martin
British Columbiamarker 51 - Government 1991, Michael Harcourt
Manitobamarker 36 - Government 2007, Gary Doer
New Brunswickmarker 2 New Brunswick 1984 by-election, George Little

and Labrador
2 1987 by election Peter Fenwick ; 1999, 2003, Jack Harris
Nova Scotiamarker 31 - Government 2009, Darrell Dexter
Ontariomarker 74 - Government 1990, Bob Rae
Prince Edward Islandmarker 1 1996, Herb Dickieson
Quebecmarker 1 1944, (CCF, David Côté)
Saskatchewanmarker 55 - Government 1991, Roy Romanow
Yukonmarker 11 - Government 1996, Piers McDonald

The most successful provincial section of the party has been the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party, which first came to power in 1944 as the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation under Tommy Douglas and has won most of the province's elections since then. In Canada, Tommy Douglas is often cited as the Father of Medicare since, as Saskatchewan Premier, he introduced Canada's first publicly funded, universal healthcare system there. Despite the continued success of the Saskatchewan branch of the party, the NDP was shut out of Saskatchewan in the 2004 federal election for the first time since the 1965 election. This is a trend that continued in the 2006 federal election, and yet again in the 2008 federal election. The New Democratic Party has also formed government in Manitoba, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario and in Yukon.

Current members of Parliament

The election of October 14, 2008, gave the NDP 37 seats; Twelve of its MPs are women; after the general election this represented 32% of its seats (down from 41% in 2006 where it had the highest proportion of women that has ever existed in a Canadian parliamentary caucus with official party status.) For a list of NDP MPs and their critic portfolios, see New Democratic Party Shadow Cabinet.

Senator Lillian Dyck initially chose to associate herself with the NDP upon her appointment to the Senate in 2005. However the party did not allow her to be part of the parliamentary caucus, as the NDP favours the abolition of the Canadian Senate. Dyck sat in the Senate as an Independent New Democrat from March 24, 2005 until January 15, 2009, when she joined the Liberal Party caucus.

40th Parliament - Currently sitting members

Federal leaders

# Picture Leader From To Birth Death Ridings while leader
1 Thomas Clement "Tommy" Douglas August 3, 1961 April 23, 1971 October 20, 1904 February 24, 1986 Burnaby—Coquitlam, Nanaimo—Cowichan—The Islands, BC
2 David Lewis April 24, 1971 July 6, 1975 June 23, 1909 May 23, 1981 York South, ON
3 100px-John_Edward_"Ed"_Broadbent,_PC,_CC_(2508360823)_-_cropped.jpg" style='width:100px' alt="" /> John Edward "Ed" Broadbent July 7, 1975 December 4, 1989 March 21, 1936 - Oshawa—Whitby, Oshawa, ON
4 Audrey Marlene McLaughlin December 5, 1989 October 13, 1995 November 7, 1936 - Yukon, YK
5 Alexa Ann McDonough October 14, 1995 January 24, 2003 August 11, 1944 - Halifax, NS
6 John Gilbert "Jack" Layton January 25, 2003 - July 18, 1950 - Toronto—Danforth, ON

Federal election results 1962–2008

Highest values are bolded
Election Leader # of candidates # of seats won # of total votes % of popular vote
1962 Tommy Douglas 217 19 1,044,754 13.57%
1963 Tommy Douglas 232 17 1,044,701 13.24%
1965 Tommy Douglas 255 21 1,381,658 17.91%
1968 Tommy Douglas 263 22 1,378,263 16.96%
1972 David Lewis 252 31 1,725,719 17.83%
1974 David Lewis 262 16 1,467,748 15.44%
1979 Ed Broadbent 282 26 2,048,988 17.88%
1980 Ed Broadbent 280 32 2,150,368 19.67%
1984 Ed Broadbent 282 30 2,359,915 18.81%
1988 Ed Broadbent 295 43 2,685,263 20.38%
1993 Audrey McLaughlin 294 9 933,688 6.88%
1997 Alexa McDonough 301 21 1,434,509 11.05%
2000 Alexa McDonough 298 13 1,093,748 8.51%
2004 Jack Layton 308 19 2,116,536 15.68%
2006 Jack Layton 308 29 2,589,597 17.48%
2008 Jack Layton 308 37 2,517,075 18.13%

See also


External links

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