Natural Governing Party

Sarcastic moniker ascribed by critics to the Liberal Party.

Coined in the late 1990s, the term, sometimes shortened to the anagram “NGP”, is a reference to both the Liberal Party’s electoral success through the years – Liberal Governments were in office in Ottawa approximately two-thirds of the period from 1900 to 2000 – and to the Liberals’ perceived sense of entitlement and arrogance.

The going was tougher for the Liberals in the new millennium. In power from 2000 to 2006, they were overtaken by the Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party, who held two consecutive minority governments from 2006 to 2011, followed by a solid majority until 2015. Far from the Natural Governing Party, the Liberals became the Third Party in the wake of the Orange Crush in 2011, holding just 34 of 308 seats in the House for their worst ever election result.

In a stunning comeback, Justin Trudeau led a revived Liberal Party to a decisive victory in 2015, no doubt hoping to reclaim the mantle – sardonic or not – of being the country’s Natural Governing Party. The shine was taken off their success when they were reduced to a minority in 2019, and when they stayed in minority territory again in 2021. After calling a snap election in August 2021, the Liberals plummeted in the polls during the 36-day campaign. The rocky campaign yielded just 2 seats more than their 2019 result. What will the future hold for the “NGP”? Only time will tell.

Liberal pragmatism (or opportunism), its base among the elites in Toronto [see Family Compact] and Montreal, its close relationships with public servants and the media are all seen to be characteristic of the “NGP”.

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