Political orientation – Canada vs. US

Today is Independence Day in the U.S. and I wish a happy 4th to all of my American visitors today.

I’ve done something that is truly Canadian on this American holiday. This post will both compare Canada to America and will do so in order to help us better understand our identity as Canadians. Quite a Canadian pass-time!

The political compass website has been a favourite political website of mine for some time. It presents a quiz to its visitors, which they complete and have their score ranked on a political grid from left to right wing, and from libertarian to authoritarian. The axes are absolute and therefore make for an interesting political comparison between Canadian and American politics. I’ve gone ahead and overlapped the American and Canadian data and found a couple of interesting things.


My first observation here is that John Kerry is more right-wing than the Conservative Party of Canada. Some Canadians often complain that Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party are too right-wing, however, they were the same people who cheered blindly for the senator from Massachusetts to win the 2004 Presidential election. Also, the Conservative Party and John Kerry are quite similar along the authoritarian-libertarian axis. While John Kerry campaigned on a pro-choice campaign, the CPC’s policy isn’t explicitly pro-choice, but rather a pro-status quo which supports perhaps the most permissive abortion laws in the world. John Kerry campaigned on civil unions for gay couples while the CPC would have preserved the traditional definition of marriage while allowing for equal rights for gay couples (all Canadian parties were bound by the Supreme Court in that they could not take the “civil union” route).

I still maintain that John Kerry would have been a disaster for Canadian domestic policies as his trade protectionism would have further crippled Canadian beef and lumber markets.

Moving on, the Liberal Party also appears as “right wing” which might have to be changed after the implementation of the NDP budget, C-48.

You can take a look at the data here:

Canadian Data

American Data

British data

The British Labour Party is a member party of Socialist International, yet so is Canada’s NDP. It makes the head spin.