For the last two months we've heard plenty from the major parties, but very little from the fringes. And for good reason: these people are nuts. But if you're going to consider yourself an informed voter, you owe it to yourself to give them a fair hearing.
Well, not really. It's actually a complete waste of time. I spent the past day going through their respective websites in order to find this out. But at least I got a post out of it.
Canadian Action Party
Website slickness: Small business professional
In their own words: "All political parties promise "jobs, jobs, jobs" without being able to deliver on the promise. What makes CAP different from all other parties is that we would use the Bank of Canada to finance full employment."
Nationalism and anti-globalism mixed with anti-government paranoia. Want the government to liberate the Bank of Canada to miraculously solve all our problems. Have a LaRouchie smell about them.
The Action Party was created by Paul Hellyer, who made headlines earlier this year warning that George Bush was plotting intergalactic war. He resigned after a failed attempt to merge with the NDP, and the party has been going downhill since then. But you never know, this election they could surprise you.
Western Block Party
Website slickness: One hour's work with Front Page
In their own words: "The primary objective of the Western Block Party is to create Western Canada as a free and independent nation."
The above is pretty much the only full sentence on the site. C'mon guys, you have to work a little harder than this!
Christian Heritage Party
Website slickness: High school club
In their own words: "The Christian Heritage Party believes as did our fathers of confederation in the supremacy of God, and the need for civil law to take its cue from Moral law.
It is time for upright citizens to take back control of our beloved country, Canada."
Hey! Who are these guys? Aren't all the so-cons in the Conservative party already? The scariest thing about these guys is that if you translate their French name back to English, you get the Chrétien Heritage Party.
Website slickness: Special interest group, not updated in months
In their own words: "Perhaps it should not be too surprising that we are meeting with such progress and success. People are looking for change. In particular, they are looking for some fresh faces on the political scene, and some ideas that aren't simply re-heated left-overs from the Trudeau and Mulroney years. Fading quickly is the feeling that government should be involved in every aspect of our lives. Growing is the understanding that, for many things, government is not equipped to make the right decisions for us."
Neo-Libertarians. Their policies are aimed at limiting the power of the federal government -- how crazy is that! Their website doesn't have any reference to the election on now, and they have no candidates running. But they say they will run candidates in the 2008 (??) federal general election.
Website slickness: Small business professional
In their own words: "TV ad for the Marijuana Party - 2006 Elections. Right now this is not in a good format, and may take a long time to load and play. We will try to fix that later."
You know these guys. Like, legalize it dude. One day over a year ago, they brainstormed for an hour on party policy and came up with a bunch of points. Then they went out for pizza and fries. One day they're going to put them all together into something coherent.
Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada
Website slickness: Geocities home page
In their own words: "In the sphere of international relations, the renewal of Canada requires a foreign policy which bases itself on:
• Support for all peoples fighting for their rights;
• Relations of equality and mutual benefit amongst sovereign nations based on peaceful coexistence;
• Non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations."
Hey! Don't two of those completely contradict each other?
These guys are just what you'd expect: lots of revolutionary jargon and nonsense. Luckily they're not putting too much effort into this election. The last news item on their site: save Tookie.
Libertarian Party of Canada
Website slickness: Special interest group, infrequently updated
In their own words: "The Libertarian Party of Canada isn't just another party; it's a whole new concept in the relationship between people and government. Believe it or not, government actually causes more problems than it solves by forcing regulations on some groups, but not on others, and this leads to injustice for some at the benefit of others. We want the smallest and most effective government possible because that's exactly what Canadians deserve."
Seems very similar to the Freedom party, except that they actually have some candidates. Again this stuff about limiting government -- don't they understand what politics is about?
Progressive Canadian Party of Canada
Website slickness: Government department -- very slick, but last update December 9th.
In their own words: "Health care, its delivery and administration, has consistently been an election hot-button issue since its inception. We have one of the best systems in the world. It discriminates against no citizen. The Canada Health Act is part of what distinguishes us as Canadians.
Over the past several years the system has become increasingly unmanageable with spiraling costs and government clawbacks initiated by Paul Martin as Finance Minister and of necessity passed down by the provinces to local communities.
The PC Party has always and continues to believe in a completely publicly funded system of health care for Canadians.
We believe that a combination of government funding restoration to 1993-94 levels, guaranteeing federal funding levels so provinces and territories can plan and budget, and more prudent cost management in the field, would assist in stabilizing the system and restoring the confidence of Canadians that reliable health care will be available to them when needed."
You still awake?
You want squishy, bland Canadianisms? To create their policies, they took the last dozen Liberal 'red books' and pureéd them and watered them down until they had this thin, weak gruel. No one could really vote for this stuff. They seem only to exist to confuse voters that might want to vote Conservative and used to know them as the 'PCs'.
Communist Party of Canada
Website slickness: Small business professional, last updated in November
In their own words: "Capitalist globalization – led by US imperialism with the full support of the imperialist ruling class of Canada – is threatening the remaining threads of Canadian sovereignty and independence. Multilateral investment and trade pacts are undermining the democratic right of the Canadian people to establish policies and determine our own course of development.
Capitalism in Canada and the world today is a crisis-ridden and decaying system. But, it is pregnant with its opposite – socialism."
These guys are even more strident than the Marxist-Leninists, and more thorough too. Their platform just goes on and on and on and on. As you might expect, they list the solutions for every problem in the world, real or imagined.
Animal Alliance Party of Canada
Website slickness: Three hours' work with Front Page
In their own words: "The political reality is that the Canadian government's environmental and animal protection policies will never improve until environmentalists reward politicians who protect the environment and animals and punish those who don't. We can only do that in elections. We can only do that as a registered political party."
If the Greens are just too grey for you, try the AA. They're the only ones willing to stand up for Canada's under-represented animal citizens.
First Peoples National Party of Canada
Website slickness: Typical blog
In their own words: "The First Peoples National Party wants food to be safe and nutritious. People should know what they are eating. FPNP wants all genetically engineered food crops banned and all imported products containing Genetically Modified Organisms to be clearly labeled."
Also know as the 'Have our cake and eat it too' party, they advocate the increase of all social programs, and the removal of any kind of personal responsibility over their lives. The government can and must provide all. Their policy platform is almost as complete as the Communists, but rather than sounding like a list of demands, it's more of a long list of whiney complaints.
UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me many times that I forgot the Sex Party. For completeness, here they are:
The Sex Party
Website slickness: Small business professional
In their own words: "The news media has specialists covering every major aspect of human existence, including food, health, education, travel, the environment, business, the media itself, fashion, cars, and wine. Yet not a single journalist in a mainstream media organization focuses on sexuality. The subject deserves at least the same attention as fashion, cars and wine.
The Sex Party would create a Sex-Positive Press Council that would expose the overt and subtle censorship practiced by BC media.
The provincial Victoria Day holiday in May commemorates a monarch legendary for her negative attitudes towards female sexuality. The Sex Party would change Victoria Day to Eros Day to celebrate and encourage sex-positive expression."
The Sex Party doesn't have a logo that I could find, so I was forced to invent my own. I'm sure they would find it very heteronormative, but I'm on a time budget here.
These guys have a sex hangup. They have no policies on education other than drastically revamped sex ed programs, no interest in health care other than suggesting that nursing homes must provide 'sexual care nurses' for residents. It's just sex, sex, sex. I know, I know -- what should I expect? They're a one issue party.
But I must say, for a party that prides themselves on being 'open-minded' I caught a whiff of authoritarianism in their policies. I get the feeling that with them in power, we would not just be allowed to have sex on the street corner, but would be required to. Luckily they have no candidates in this election so have no chance of forcing us into becoming a nation of swingers.