Liberal Party of Canada

Published 4th April, 2011

The Liberal Party of Canada, often referred to as the Grits, was founded in 1867 and was the ruling party in Canada for the majority (69 years) of the 20th Century.  It is a party of national unity and has fought to avoid regional separatism.  It describes itself as somewhere between the centre and centre left.

Pierre Trudeau was one of its most famous modern leaders, leading the party to victory in 1968, 1972, 1974 and 1980, only standing down in 1984.

Jean Chrétien had similar success in 1993, 1997 and 2000, but retired in 2003 and was replaced by Paul Martin.  In 2004 Martin led the Liberals in a tough campaign which saw them lose 37 seats and form a minority government with 135 of the 308 seats in parliament with 36.7% of the vote.

It looked like the glory days were over when Martin led the Liberals to defeat in 2006, losing another 32 seats and dropping to 30.1% of the vote, taking just 103 of the 308 seats and moving into opposition.

In 2008 the Liberals did badly again under a new leader Stéphane Dion and dropped to 77 of 307 seats in the 14th October poll.

Michael Ignatieff took over as interim leader in 2008 and his position was ratified in 2009.

The Liberals are members of Liberal International.

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