The party politics in Atlantic Canada refer to transitional party system. The Atlantic Canada party system
has 6 major elements.
1. It will be relatively stable. Voters will have durable partisan attachments, often extending back
through previous generations. Concomitantly, new political parties will find it difficult to break
the electoral stranglehold of their long-standing counterparts.
a. Party politics in Atlantic Canada have historically been monopolized by the Liberal and
Conservative parties. Unlike those in many other parts of Canada, third parties have
found the political soil in Atlantic Canada to be extremely barren.
b. PEI affords probably the most dramatic instance of this phenomenon. Before 1996
provincial election, only one non-liberal and non-conservative member elected as MLA,
and no any non-lib and non-con elected as MP.
c. Until recently, third parties had been only slightly more successful in New Brunswick and
d. Until recently, party system stability is no longer as prominent in Atlantic Canada as is
implied by the traditionalist model.
2. A traditionalist party system will be disproportionately dominated by members of established
social groups. In the English Canadian context, this effectively means that the political elite will
be overwhelming white Anglo-Saxon males.
a. Until recently, there was an overwhelming preponderance of white males at the apex of
Atlantic Canadian political parties, but this situation is beginning to changes.
b. In PEI, no women were nominated until 1966. 1970 first woman elected
c. The issue of minority representation among black and First Nations
3. Political parties in traditionalist party system will be oligarchical associations. Leaders will be
expected to lead, and members will be expected to follow.
a. Leaders dominated their parties, not only during election campaigns, but also in part