#UKIP is a protest party? Think again. The Canadian example.

It’s no doubt that one of the biggest story in the last six months in the British politics is the rise of UKIP.

However, let me just say one thing. I don’t believe that UKIP is a protest vote anymore. We are at a point here where there is brand recognition.  It’s not just the we’re against the EU party.

Why? Just look at Canadian politics in the early 1990’s. In this period, there was a sense of disillusion among many people with the three major Canadian parties (which were the PC, the Liberals and the social-democratic NDP), many people thought they all seemed too alike, too much Toronto-centric and too consensual on many things.

It’s still really difficult to pin down the Reform Party ideologically, but I see many similarities with UKIP especially with their position on state multiculturalism and fiscal policy. It was keen of being labelled an anti-mainstream party and yes, like any new party, there was a number of gaffes done by elected officials from the party.

The 1993 federal election in Canada was a bombshell as a SNP/Plaid Cymru-like party (the Bloc Québécois) was official opposition. The Tories were left with only TWO seats. The Reform Party did won a load of seats especially in Western Canada. What is interesting however is that the Reform Party did not only won former Conservative seats, but also many former NDP seats which were seen as NDP safe seats in the past especially in the western province of British Columbia. I don’t believe the argument that Reform was *only* a regional Western Canada based as the party did not badly in popular vote in Ontario in 1993 and 1997, but it was unable to win more than one seat.

The result of the 1993 federal election was probably why the Canadian right was 10 years in the wilderness with a Liberal hegemony even through it did well in popular vote. 

So, in conclusion, even if this whole comparison could be a fluke, it seems too similar to not take a closer look at it especially with the same electoral and parliamentary system.


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