Whats in a Party

Click image to download a printable file.

Political parties are groups of people with shared views, who form organizations that create or influence government by competing in elections. To have candidates on a ballot in a federal election, parties must be registered with Elections Canada. Parties can organize themselves in a variety of ways. Here’s an example:

What’s in a Party?

The party leader is the head of both the parliamentary caucus and the party. He or she makes key decisions about the direction of the party and platform. Party members typically vote to select a leader.

Parliamentary caucus is made up of those Parliamentarians (MPs, and sometimes Senators) from a single party who have the leader’s permission to participate. It convenes weekly behind closed doors and allows members to bring forward views privately.

Political staff are paid for by Parliament and serve the MP that hires them. They hold a variety of jobs in both the local constituency office and on Parliament Hill.

The Executive is made up of the party leader and other representatives selected through election or appointment to lead internal party operations.

Party staff are paid by the party to oversee its day-to-day operations, including fundraising, recruitment of party members, research and election readiness.

Party members participate in leadership review and selection, local candidate selection and policy conventions. They are people, as young as 14, who pay an annual fee to the party (permanent residents are also eligible to join).

Riding Associations (Electoral District Associations) are local party organizations that oversee the nomination of the local party candidate at election time. Between elections, they fundraise, keep local members engaged, and provide a local presence for the national party.

Read More

  • July 21, 2017

    #SamaraReads: Our Ten Summer Picks

    With summer getting into full swing, it’s easy to push Canadian politics to the back of your mind. That's why we’re introducing #SamaraReads: ten books selected by our staff to provoke conversation about politics and democracy!
  • July 12, 2017

    Young Leaders Connect at 2017 EPC: IRL

    Earlier this year, Samara hosted the 2017 EPC: IRL forum in Toronto and Edmonton, convening young advocates, mobilizers and politicos to learn from one another and collaborate on tools for deeper and more meaningful civic engagement.
  • June 30, 2017

    Make democracy part of your Canada Day

    Our physical infrastructure may bring us together, but it’s our democratic infrastructure that binds us together.