The team of scholars behind Vote Compass gave Canada's five political parties the opportunity to take part in the process to ensure the parties' policies lined up with the way Vote Compass interprets respondents' answers.

All five parties had the chance to answer the Vote Compass questionnaire for themselves, and were given the opportunity to challenge the assessments before the "final codes" went in.

Here are the party positions on three questions about parliamentary reform in the Vote Compass questionnaire, and what was behind those answers. Over the coming days, CBC News will look at each of the 10 Vote Compass issue areas.

1) The Senate should be abolished

  • Strongly agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  • Don't know

New Democratic Party — Strongly agree

If it were up to us, we’d get rid of the unelected upper chamber tomorrow. We want it abolished.   Most Canadians wouldn’t miss it. Recent polling shows that only 18 per cent approve of the actions of the Senate.   Source: Canada's Senate: Second thoughts about sober second thought (January 26, 2011)

Green Party — Strongly disagree


he Green Party of Canada supports the election of Senators through a system that ensures proportional representation.

Source: 2010 Green Party Convention Policy Resolution G10-p12 (August 22, 2010) 

[Green Party of Canada democratic reform advocate Chris]

Tindal said that even if Mr. Layton's proposal for a snap referendum on abolishing the Senate was constitutional -- and it isn't -- it is both premature and too narrowly defined. Instead, he should immediately reaffirm his party's commitment to Proportional Representation and push for a federal Citizens' Assembly to explore that issue.

Source: NDP must reaffirm commitment to fair voting, Green Party says (November 8, 2007)

Bloc Québécois — Strongly agree

Text not available in English

Le Bloc Québécois estime toujours que le Sénat est une institution archaïque et qu’il devrait être aboli.

Source : Position principale 2008

Conservative Party  — Somewhat agree

The Conservatives and Stephen Harper believe that the current Senate must be either reformed or abolished.  An unelected Senate should not be able to block the will of the elected House in the 21st century.   As a minimum, a re-elected Conservative Government will reintroduce legislation to allow for nominees to the Senate to be selected by voters, to provide for Senators to serve fixed terms of not longer than eight years, and for the Senate to be covered by the same ethics rules as the House of Commons.


Source: Conservative Party Platform 2008 (October 7, 2008)

Liberal Party — Somewhat disagree

We believe that there are many other proposals: electing the Senate by proportional representation. There are many ways of going about this without having pure abolition, and a lot of us do believe the Senate, and particularly its committees, has done good work.   The Liberal Party favours Senate reform that reflects sound public policy and respects the constitution. By initiating what are likely to become broad constitutional negotiations with the provinces to deal with Senate reform now is simply not where the current priorities of Canadians are, either in terms of substantive democratic renewal, or the broader challenges the federal government should focus on.   Source: Speech today on NDP motion to abolish the Senate – problematic (March 3, 2011)

2) Political parties should no longer receive government funding

  • Strongly agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  • Don't know

New Democratic Party — Strongly disagree

[The system of public financing to political parties is]

something that was brought in to clean up political morals in this country, and it's a shame to see the Conservatives trying to take it down. (Thomas Mulcair)

Source: Power and Politics with Evan Solomon (January 13, 2011)

Green Party — Strongly disagree

"There are few areas in current politics where Canada is the envy of the world, but our political campaign financing rules are fairer than those in most nations," said Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, "While south of the border huge corporate donations wreak havoc, our system makes corporate donations illegal."

Source: Conservatives aim to reverse political financing reform (March 29, 2010)

Bloc Québécois — Strongly disagree

Text not available in English

Le Bloc Québécois considère que le démantèlement du régime de financement des partis politiques proposé par le gouvernement conservateur constitue un recul démocratique, car il s’attaque au pluralisme politique. Il s’agit de rien de moins qu’une autre manoeuvre partisane de Stephen Harper, qui tente d’affaiblir les partis d’opposition tout en ouvrant la porte au retour de l'influence indue des donateur sur le gouvernement.

Source : Quelle est la position du Bloc Québécois?

Conservative Party  — Strongly agree

We have always opposed direct subsidies; and a Stephen Harper-led majority Government will phase out the direct subsidy of political parties over the next three years.

[p. 64]

Source: Here for Canada: Stephen Harper's Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth (April 8, 2011)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has indicated he will make the elimination of taxpayer subsidies to political parties a campaign pledge in the next federal election.

Speaking Thursday in west Toronto, Harper said the $2-per-vote subsidy, where parties "make no effort whatsoever to raise money is not acceptable to Canadian taxpayers."

"Our position on the direct public subsidy is well known. We don't support it, we never have. We opposed its creation and have opposed it ever since," said Harper.

"There are already generous credits and incentives in the tax system to encourage people to give to political parties today."

Source: PM targets party subsidies (January 13, 2011)

Liberal Party —Strongly disagree

By eliminating political subsidies, Mr. Harper would cripple funding for smaller parties and silence their ability to represent the millions of Canadians who support them. The Liberal Party would survive without public funding, but other smaller parties may not — and that’s bad for democracy.

Source: Correspondence (March 17, 2011)

3) Only those who speak both English and French should be appointed to the Supreme Court

  • Strongly agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  • Don't know

New Democratic Party — Strongly agree

We will ensure that the right of Canadians to have their case heard in the official language of their choice at all levels of the judiciary includes the Supreme Court, in accord with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

[p. 17]

Source:Giving Your Family a Break: Practical First Steps (April 2011)

The bill of New Democrat Party MP Yvon Godin (Acadie–Bathurst), which makes bilingualism a requirement for the appointment of Supreme Court judges, passed a crucial hurdle this week in the House of Commons.

"I’m thrilled that this bill passed third reading in the House of Commons," said Godin. "Once it is passed by the Senate, this legislation will represent an important step in the history of Canada’s official languages." Bill C-232 requires that future Supreme Court judges be bilingual.

Source: Yvon Godin bill goes to the Senate (March 31, 2010)

Green Party — Strongly disagree

Green Party MPs will [...] Restore merit as a criterion for selection of judges with balanced review panels where no one political or ideological viewpoint is dominant.

Source: Vision Green 2011  True justice; Real security (April 2011)

Bloc Québécois — Strongly agree

Text not available in English

Les droits des justiciables québécois et francophones ne doivent pas passer après le droit des juges de ne comprendre que l’anglais. En effet, le gouvernement fédéral refuse obstinément de rendre obligatoire la compréhension du français et de l’anglais pour être considéré à la magistrature de la Cour suprême, critère que le commissaire fédéral aux langues officielles qualifie pourtant d’essentiel.

Le Bloc Québécois est intervenu et a pris position en faveur des francophones du Canada dans de nombreux dossiers et continuera à obliger le gouvernement fédéral à prendre des mesures pour assurer la progression vers l’égalité de statut et d’usage du français par rapport à l’anglais dans la société canadienne.

Source : Communiqué (19 janvier 2011)

Conservative Party  — Strongly disagree

In light of the important role of the Supreme Court, as the pinnacle of our justice system, the government's overriding consideration in the appointment of judges to the court is, and must continue to be, merit based on legal excellence and personal suitability. Bilingualism remains an important factor in the assessment of candidates considered among other factors, including proficiency in the law, judgment, honesty, integrity, fairness, work habits and social awareness.[...] 

The practice of ensuring regional representation guarantees that the most qualified and deserving candidates across the country are appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Bill C-232 [An Act to amend the Supreme Court Act (understanding the official languages)] proposes to circumvent this exemption, which would in fact hinder regional representation to the court. (Terence Young) 

Source: (March 29, 2010)

Liberal Party — Strongly agree

Liberals believe an understanding of both official languages is necessary to be nominated to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Source: Correspondence (March 17, 2011)