The Liberal Party of Canada (French: Parti libéral du Canada), colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federal political party in Canada. The party espouses the principles of liberalism and generally sits at the centre of the Canadian political spectrum. The Liberal Party is traditionally positioned to the left of the Conservative Party of Canada and to the right of the New Democratic Party (NDP).
The party has dominated federal politics for much of Canada’s history, holding power for almost 69 years in the 20th century—more than any other party in a developed country—and as a result, it is sometimes referred to as Canada’s “natural governing party”. The Liberals’ signature policies and legislative decisions include universal health care, the Canada Pension Plan, Canada Student Loans, peacekeeping, multilateralism, official bilingualism, official multiculturalism, patriating the Canadian constitution and the entrenchment of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Clarity Act, and making same-sex marriage legal nationwide.
During the beginning of the 21st century, the party lost a significant amount of support, to the benefit of both the Conservatives and the NDP. In the 2011 federal election, the Liberals had the worst showing in its history, capturing only 19 percent of the popular vote and 34 seats—becoming the third-place party in the House of Commons for the first time. In the 2015 federal election, the Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau returned to prominence with its best showing since the 2000 election, winning 39.5 percent of the popular vote and 184 seats, thus regaining a majority of seats in the House of Commons.
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