Canadian federal election, 1979

From Academic Kids

Template:Election canada

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Cdn1979.PNG
The House of Commons after the 1979 election

The Canadian federal election of 1979 was held on May 22, 1979 to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons. It resulted in the defeat of Liberal Party of Canada after 11 years in power under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Joe Clark led the Progressive Conservative Party to power, but with only a minority of seats in the House of Commons.

The Trudeau Liberals had become very unpopular during their last term in government because of large budget deficits, high inflation, and high unemployment. Although elections in Canada are normally held four years apart, Trudeau deferred calling an election until five years after the previous election in the hope that the Liberal Party would be able to recover some of the support that it had lost.

The effort was unsuccessful, however, and the Liberals lost 27 seats. Several high-profile cabinet ministers were defeated. Trudeau resigned as Liberal leader following the election.

The PC Party campaigned on the slogans, "Let's get Canada working again", and "It's time for a change - give the future a chance!" Canadians were not, however, sufficiently confident in the young Joe Clark to give him a majority in the House of Commons. Quebec, in particular, was unwilling to support Clark, and elected only two PC Members of Parliament (MPs) in the province's 75 ridings. Clark, relatively unknown when elected as PC leader at the 1976 PC Party convention, was seen as being bumbling and unsure. Clark had had problems with certain right-wing members of his caucus. In particular, when Clark's riding was merged into the riding of another PC MP during a redistribution of ridings, the other MP refused to step aside, and Clark ended up running in another riding. Also, when Clark undertook a tour of the Middle East Asia in order to show his ability to handle foreign affairs issues, his luggage was lost, and Clark appeared to be uncomfortable with the issues being discussed.

The Liberals tried to make leadership and Clark's inexperience the issue, arguing in their advertising that "This is no time for on-the-job training", and "We need tough leadership to keep Canada growing. A leader must be a leader."

The Social Credit Party of Canada, which had lost its mercurial leader, Réal Caouette, who died in 1976, struggled to remain relevant. After a series of interim leaders, including Caouette's son, the party turned to Fabien Roy, a popular member of the National Assembly of Quebec, who took the reins of the party just before the beginning of the campaign. The party won the tacit support of the separatist Parti Québécois, which formed the government of Quebec. Social Credit attempted to rally the separatist and nationalist vote: Canadian flags were absent at its campaign kick-off rally, and the party's slogan was C'est à notre tour ("It's our turn"), which was reminiscent of the popular seperatist anthem Gens du pays that includes the chorus, "C'est à votre tour de vous laisser parler d'amour". The party focused its platform on constitutional change, promising to fight to abolish the federal government's never-used right to disallow any provincial legislation, and stating that each province has a "right to choose its own destiny within Canada". Despite these attempts to win nationalist and separatist votes, the party was reduced to six seats in the House of Commons.

Clark's minority government lasted less than nine months. It was defeated in the House of Commons in a vote of non-confidence over a budget bill that proposed to increase the excise tax on gasoline by 18 cents per Imperial gallon. This resulted in the 1980 election, in which the PCs were defeated by the resurgent Trudeau Liberals.

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Popular Vote Map showing bar graphs for seat totals in each province

National results

Clark won the popular vote in eight provinces, but because his Tories could only muster 2 seats in Quebec, he only won a minority government. The Liberals won only one seat west of Manitoba. This election was the last in which the Social Credit Party of Canada won seats. An unusual event occurred in the Northwest Territories: the Liberals won the popular vote in the territory, but won neither seat.

Party Party Leader # of
candidates
Seats Popular Vote
1974 Dissolution Elected % Change # % Change

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

Progressive Conservative 282 95 98 136 +43.2% 4,111,606 35.89% +0.43%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Liberal <center> Pierre Trudeau 282 141 133 114 -19.1% 4,595,319 40.11% -3.04%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/NDP/row

New Democratic <center> Ed Broadbent 282 16 17 26 +62.5% 2,048,988 17.88% +2.45%

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

Social Credit <center> Fabien Roy 103 11 9 6 -45.5% 527,604 4.61% -0.46%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Rhino/row

Rhinoceros <center> Cornelius I 63     -   62,601 0.55%  

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent 48 1 5 - -100% 30,518 0.27% -0.14%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Unknown 19 - - - - 21,268 0.19% +0.01%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/BQ/row

Union Populaire <center> 69     -   19,514 0.17%  

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Libertarian/row

Libertarian <center> 60     -   16,042 0.14%  

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Marxist-Leninist/row

Marxist-Leninist <center> Hardial Bains 144 - - - - 14,231 0.12% -0.05%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Communist/row

Communist <center> William Kashtan 71 - - - - 9,141 0.08% -0.05%

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

No affiliation 1 - - - - 176 x x
     Vacant 2  
Total 1,424 265 265 282 +6.8% 11,457,008 100.00%  
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:

"% change" refers to change from previous election

x - less than 0.005% of the popular vote.

Results by province

Party Name BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE NL NT YK Total

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

Progressive Conservative Seats: 19 21 10 7 57 2 4 8 4 2 1 1 136

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

Popular Vote: 44.3 65.6 41.2 43.4 41.8 13.5 40.0 45.4 52.8 29.7 32.3 40.6 35.9

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Liberal Seats: 1 - - 2 32 67 6 2 - 4 - - 114

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Liberal/row

Vote: 23.0 22.1 21.8 23.5 36.4 61.7 44.6 35.5 40.6 40.6 34.1 36.4 40.1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/NDP/row

New Democratic Seats: 8 - 4 5 6 - - 1 - 1 1 - 26

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/NDP/row

Vote: 31.9 9.9 35.8 32.7 21.1 5.1 15.3 18.7 6.5 29.7 31.9 23.1 17.9
Social Credit Seats: - - - - - 6             6

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

Vote: 0.2 1.0 0.5 0.2 xx 16.0             4.6
Total seats: 28 21 14 14 95 75 10 11 4 7 2 1 282
Parties that won no seats

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Rhino/row

Rhinoceros Vote: xx       xx 1.9             0.5

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Independent Vote: 0.2 1.1 0.7 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.1 0.3     1.6   0.3

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

Unknown Vote: 0.1 0.2 xx xx xx 0.5   xx         0.2

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/BQ/row

Union Populaire Vote:           0.6             0.2

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Libertarian/row

Libertarian Vote: xx xx     0.3 0.1     xx       0.1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Marxist-Leninist/row

Marxist-Leninist Vote: 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2   xx         0.1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Communist/row

Communist Vote: 0.2 0.1 xx 0.1 0.1 0.1   xx         0.1

Template:Canadian politics/party colours/Independents/row

No affiliation Vote: xx xx xx xx xx               xx

xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote.


Notes

See: 31st Canadian parliament for a full list of MPs elected in this election.

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