Liberalism (French: Libéralisme) has been a major trend in Canadian politics since the late 18th century. Canada has the same features of other liberal democracies in the Western democratic political tradition. This article gives an overview of liberalism in Canada. It includes a brief history of liberal parties with substantial representation in parliament.

Liberal parties

Liberal parties developed in both the French and English speaking parts of Canada; these developments led to the formation of the Liberal Party of Canada. Liberal parties exist on a provincial level; however, while they mostly share similar ideologies, not all provincial parties are officially affiliated with the federal party.

In Canada, a "capital-L" liberal refers to the policies and ideas of the Liberal Party of Canada/Parti Libéral du Canada (member LI), the most frequent governing party of Canada for the last century and one of the largest liberal parties around the world. The Quebec Liberal Party (Parti libéral du Québec) combines liberalism with more conservative ideas. Only federal parties are included in the following timeline. For inclusion in this scheme, it is not necessary for parties to have explicitly labelled themselves as a liberal party.

Timeline of the federal Liberal Party

Canadian Party / Patriot Party / Red Party

Reform Party

Clear Grits / Liberal Party of Canada

Current parties

In addition to the federal party, each province and the Yukon territory has its own Liberal Party; however, those in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are no longer affiliated with the federal party. The British Columbia Liberal Party is notably centre-right and often described as a "free enterprise coalition", with supporters from both the federal Liberal and Conservative parties.[1] Under their system of consensus government, political parties are not recognized in the territories of Nunavut and Northwest Territories.

Federal, provincial and territorial Liberal parties
Federal party Last election Seats/Total Status Leader
Liberal Party of Canada 2021 157/338 (House)
0/105 (Senate)
Governing Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Affiliated parties Last election Seats/Total Status Leader
New Brunswick Liberal Association 2020 16/49 Official Opposition Susan Holt, Leader of the Opposition
Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador 2021 23/40 Governing Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia Liberal Party 2021 16/51 Official Opposition Zach Churchill, Leader of the Opposition
Prince Edward Island Liberal Party 2023 3/27 Official Opposition Hal Perry (interim)
Unaffiliated parties Affiliation ended Last election Seats/Total Status Leader
Alberta Liberal Party 1987 2023 0/87 No seats John Roggeveen
Manitoba Liberal Party 2023 1/57 Third party Cindy Lamoureux (interim)
Ontario Liberal Party 1976 2022 9/124 Third party Bonnie Crombie
Quebec Liberal Party 1955 2022 19/125 Official Opposition Marc Tanguay, (interim) Leader of the Opposition
Yukon Liberal Party 2021 8/19 Governing Ranj Pillai, Premier of Yukon
Former parties Affiliation ended Details
Northwest Territories Liberal Party 1905 No longer any recognized political parties due to consensus government.
British Columbia Liberal Party 1987 Changed its name to BC United in 2023 and replaced their colors with teal and pink representing both conservatives and liberals.
Saskatchewan Liberal Party 2009 Changed its name to Saskatchewan Progress Party in 2023 and replaced the colors to red, blue and yellow.

Liberal leaders

Parti Patriote

Clear Grits

Parti Rouge

Liberal Party of Canada

Liberal thinkers


  1. ^ McElroy, Justin (May 6, 2017). "Why the B.C. Liberals are sometimes liberal and sometimes not". CBC News. Retrieved August 13, 2019.

See also