An Introduction to Canadian Politics
By: James Newman
Politics is a word you may have heard either from your parents, on the television, or even from your teachers at school; but have you ever wondered what it really means and exactly who is involved?
The word Politics is defined in the dictionary as, “The science or art of government and the practice or profession of conducting political affairs.” Therefore, politics is the general term used for the thoughts, ideas, rules and passing of laws in any country, city or community.
You may have also heard of terms like: party, left wing, centrist, right wing and so on. There are many aspects of the political system; for example, in Canada we have a political system that is considered Democratic, which means we have a group of people in our government who make decisions together based on public votes that are counted equally.
When we turn 18 we will be able to vote. As a citizen of a democratic country we have a responsibility to be informed about this subject and I will begin by explaining the political framework. I hope by the end of my four articles you will know a lot about politics!
The terms ‘right wing’ and ‘left wing’ get thrown around a lot in politics, but don’t get too excited, they have nothing to do with hockey. The political spectrum is a helpful tool where all of the different views and opinions on what should be done in the country are divided into groups.
The two major factors in the political spectrum are personal freedom otherwise known as Human Rights (rights to which a person is entitled to simply because she or he is a human being) and financial freedom (rights to having significant income and savings). The farther right someone is on the spectrum, the more he or she values financial freedom, and the farther left someone is, the more he or she values personal freedom. The higher someone is on the political spectrum the more freedom he or she wants overall and vice versa.
The people who fall under the Right-Wing section are often called Conservatives and tend to want fewer regulations on financial industries; allowing banks and other large corporations to manage themselves. For example if it was up to you and not your principal to decide what type of ball you brought to school, or what kind of clothes you were allowed to wear. Left-Wing Liberals vote for more personal freedom and choice, but want the government to have more influence on the economy. For example, if everyone was allowed to start their school day at a different time depending on where they lived - if you lived farther away you would start
later than someone who lived across the street. Authoritarians want the government to have more control over people’s personal choices in life and the economy. Libertarians prefer freedom both ways, giving people a lot of choice in their life and also giving some leeway for companies in terms of their decisions. Centrists attempt to combine Left and Right wing views to make a good combination of personal and financial freedoms, as if they were making a peanut butter and jam sandwich, rather than just using either jam or peanut butter alone.