Canadian federal election, 1957

From Academic Kids

Template:Election canada

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Cdn1957.PNG
The Canadian parliament after the 1957 election

The Canadian federal election of 1957 was held June 10, 1957 to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons. An unexpected victory by the Progressive Conservative Party, led by John Diefenbaker, brought an end to 22 years of Liberal government.

The Liberals had won several consecutive elections on programs of successful fiscal management and moderate and conciliatory policies. By the 1950s, many believed that the party was arrogant and too close to business. Controversial debates, such as the 1956 "Pipeline Debate" over the construction of the Trans-Canada Pipeline, had hurt the government and exposed it to charges of arrogance. In addition, Western Canadians felt alienated from a government that they believed was dominated by Ontario and Quebec interests. Louis St. Laurent, nicknamed 'Uncle Louis', was still popular, but many felt he had lost touch with ordinary Canadians.

In 1956, the PC party had elected the fiery and charismatic Diefenbaker as their leader. Many people disliked him and felt that he did not have enough experience to be a strong challenger to the Liberals. Because they believed that there was little hope of defeating the Liberals in the next election, many Tories supported Diefenbaker as a caretaker leader.

The PC campaign was based on Canadian nationalism and the need for a change. The "Tories" also embraced their Red Tory side, pledging to out-spend the Liberals on social programs. The Liberals were attacked as free marketers who would leave the Canadian population without an adequate safety net. One of the most ambitious elements of the Tory program was the "New Frontier Policy" of infrastructure development that would lead to the populating of the north.

The Liberal campaign was far less ambitious, supporting a stay-the-course message with moderate reforms and a continuation of competent administration. The economy was booming and the Liberals felt this was enough to win a re-election. The Liberals also had ammunition to use against Diefenbaker: he was a member of the Orange Lodge and had a history of making anti-Catholic statements.

However, the Tories' greatest asset soon turned out to be Diefenbaker. His ethnic background attracted a new group of supporters to the traditionally Anglo-Saxon Tory party. He was also able to use his charisma to great success. This was the first Canadian election to be televised, and while only a minority of Canadians owned a television, most got some opportunity to see the candidates they were voting for. Diefenbaker was viewed as honest and dedicated, while the 75 year old St. Laurent was felt to be distant and humourless.

The campaign was also the first in Canada to use modern political advertising techniques. PC strategists such as Dalton Camp and Allister Grosart ran a more tightly-planned campaign than any in Canadian history. An important strategy was almost completely ignoring the province of Quebec -- PC the strategists felt they had little chance there. They also believed they could win without the province.

In an era before widespread polling, the results of the election came as a surprise to most Canadians, including most politicians. The Liberals won the popular vote, but lost the election as they piled up massive majorities in Quebec. In the West, Ontario, and the Maritimes, the Tories gained enough seats to form a minority government. Noted Liberal ministers like C.D. Howe, the "Minister of Everything", lost their seats.

Many Canadians were overjoyed to see change, and spontaneous celebrations occurred in many parts of the country. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation anchor covering the election famously lit a cigar in satisfaction with the results.

Effects

The Liberal defeat caused many high profile Liberals to resign and be replaced by younger members. St. Laurent resigned and was replaced by Lester B. Pearson. The Tory minority government lasted for less than a year before Diefenbaker called another election in which he won the largest majority in Canadian history, including winning many seats in Quebec.

National results

Turn-out: 74.1% of eligible voters voted.

Party Party Leader # of
candidates
Seats Popular Vote
1953 Elected % Change # % % Change

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Progressive Conservatives/row

Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker 256 51 111 +117.6% 2,564,732 38.81% +7.79%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Liberal Louis St. Laurent 265 169 104 -38.5% 2,692,986 40.75% -7.67%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/CCF/row

Cooperative Commonwealth M.J. Coldwell 162 23 25 +8.7% 707,828 10.71% -0.57%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Social Credit/row

Social Credit Solon Low 114 15 19 +26.7% 434,312 6.57% +1.17%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent Liberal 27 2 2 - 93,466 1.41% +0.20%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent 15 3 2 -33.3% 70,060 1.06% +0.02%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent Progressive Conservatives 6 - 1 - 14,525 0.22% +0.19%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Liberal-Labour1 1 1 1 - 10,701 0.16% -0.04%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Social Credit/row

Candidats des électeurs Réal Caouette 1 * - * 8,129 0.12% *

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Communist/row

Labour Progressive Tim Buck 10 - - - 7,760 0.12% -0.94%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent SC 2 - - - 2,737 0.04% +0.03%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Canadian Democrat 1 * - * 628 0.01% *

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Liberal Conservative Coalition 1 * - * 252 x *

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Capital familial H-G Grenier 1 * - * 237 x x

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

National Credit Control 1 * - * 122 x *
Total 862 265 265 - 6,608,475 100.00%  
Sources: http://www.elections.ca -- History of Federal Ridings since 1867 (http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/process/house/hfer/hfer.asp?Language=E)

Notes:

1 The Liberal-Labour MP sat with the Liberal caucus.

* - not applicable - the party was not recognized in the previous election

x - less than 0.005% of the popular vote

Results by province

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Social Credit/row
Party Name BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE NL NW YK Total

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Progressive Conservatives/row

Progressive Conservative Seats: 7 3 3 8 61 8 5 10 4 2 - - 111

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Progressive Conservatives/row

Vote (%): 32.6 27.6 23.2 35.6 48.8 30.6 48.7 50.4 52.3 37.8 49.3 31.8 38.8

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Liberal Seats: 2 1 4 1 20 62 5 2 - 5 1 1 104

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Vote (%): 20.5 27.9 30.3 26.1 36.6 57.6 48.1 45.1 46.6 61.9 50.7 68.2 40.8

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/CCF/row

Cooperative Commonwealth Seats: 7 - 10 5 3 - - - - -     25

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/CCF/row

Vote (%): 22.3 6.3 36.0 23.7 12.1 1.8 0.9 4.4 1.0 0.3     10.7

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Social Credit/row

Social Credit Seats: 6 13 - - - - - -         19

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Social Credit/row

Vote (%): 24.2 37.8 10.5 13.2 1.6 0.2 1.0 0.1         6.6

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent Liberal Seats:       - - 2             2

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Vote (%):       0.7 0.2 4.8             1.4

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent Seats: - -   - - 2 -           2

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Vote (%): xx xx   0.1 xx 3.7 1.3           1.1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent PC Seats:         - 1             1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Vote (%):         xx 0.8             0.2

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Liberal-Labour Seats:         1               1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Vote (%):         0.5               0.2
Total Seats 22 17 17 14 85 75 10 12 4 7 1 1 265
Parties that won no seats:
Candidats des électeurs Vote (%):           0.5             0.1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Communist/row

Labour Progressive Vote (%): 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.5 0.1 0.1             0.1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent Social Credit Vote (%):   0.1                     xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Canadian Democrat Vote (%): 0.1                       xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Liberal Conservative Coalition Vote (%):         xx               xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Capitale familiale Vote (%):           xx             xx

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

National Credit Control Vote (%):     xx                   xx

xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote Template:Sequence

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