|Description||The National Party of Canada was a short-lived Canadian political party that contested the 1993 federal election. |
Founded and led by Edmonton publisher Mel Hurtig (best-known for The Canadian Encyclopedia), the National Party was created in 1992 to oppose the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, an increase in continentalism, and the privatization policies of the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney. The party ran in the 1993 election on a platform of economic nationalism, lowering the value of the Canadian dollar relative to the American to encourage exports, and social responsibility.
An important platform in the National Party's campaign was the idea that electoral campaigns should be funded by individual Canadians each contributing a small amount each year, thus taking away what the National Party considered was the undue influence of large, multinational corporations funding political campaigns.
While the election was successful for two other new parties, the Bloc Québécois and the Reform Party, the National Party failed to win a seat.
The party nominated 171 candidates who won a total of 189,778 votes (1.40 % of the popular votes, or 2.34 % of the votes in those 171 ridings). None were elected, although Hurtig won 12.8 % of the votes in his riding, Edmonton Northwest.
After the 1993 election, Hurtig and the party's chief financial backer, Winnipeg entrepreneur Bill Loewen, disagreed about the direction the party was taking. At a board of directors meeting in Ottawa, Loewen attempted to gain control of the party and failed. Loewen then launched the first of seven unsuccessful lawsuits against the party leadership. Except for Daniel Whetung (President), later dismissed from the National Council for cause, Loewen also failed in his attempt to have a slate of candidates that he supported elected to the board at the party's founding convention in June 1994. Meanwhile, Hurtig withdrew from the party, leaving National Council members to foot the ensuing legal bills.
Kurt Loeb, candidate in 1993 in the Toronto-area riding of York Centre, challenged Hurtig for the leadership at a leadership convention in June 1994. Loeb reportedly sought the leadership on an interim basis, to hold a new leadership convention within about 18 months . Hurtig was re-elected. Loeb's unsuccessful attempt for the party leadership was backed by Loewen.
Although party membership continued to grow after the 1993 election, the National Party did not contest any further elections. In June 1997, Canada's Chief Electoral Officer officially de-registered the party. The party ceased actively promoting its agenda in 1994.