Canadian Nationalism

October 18, 1972

Report Outline
Federal election campaign in canada
The Rise of Economic Nationalism
Directions of Canada-U.S. Relations

Federal election campaign in canada

Uncertain Outlook for Trudeau's Liberal Party

Canadians, too, will hold national elections this year and Americans will find the campaign issues strikingly familiar: unemployment, threatening inflation and high taxes. This should not be surprising since the Canadian economy is bound up with and, in many ways, is a mirror image of the American. But while the underlying political currents in the United States are held to be the Viet Nam War and racial equality, in Canada they are perceived to be French-English relations and a burgeoning nationalist movement.

Nationalism, which carries a perceptible strain of anti-Americanism, can be expected to surface time and again as Canada's 13 million voters prepare to cast their ballots on Oct. 30, eight days before the American presidential election. At stake are 264 seats in the House of Commons and control of the next government in Ottawa. When Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau dissolved Parliament on Sept. 1 and called the elections, his Liberal Party held 147 seats. The Progressive Conservatives, led by Robert Stanfield, held 73; the socialist New Democratic Party, led by David Lewis, 25; and the conservative-oriented Social Credit Party, led by Raoul Caouette, 13. There were two independents and four vacancies. The leader of the party winning the most seats is invariably chosen prime minister.

By most accounts, Trudeau is in trouble in this election. For one thing, the tide of “Trudeaumania” appears weaker than in 1968 when it swept him into office and gave Canada its first majority government since 1963. Trudeau, who turns 53 on Oct. 18, is the oldest leader of government in the country despite his youthful image. Moreover, there appears to be a growing mood of discontent and a search for change among the electorate. Voters in eight of the 10 provinces have turned out incumbent governments since the 1968 federal elections. In the most recent provincial election, on Aug. 30, 1972, voters in British Columbia ousted the 20-year-old government of Social Credit Premier W.A.C. Bennett and gave control to the New Democratic Party, led by a 41-year-old social worker, David Barrett.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Nov. 05, 1976  Canadian-American Relations
Oct. 18, 1972  Canadian Nationalism
Dec. 09, 1970  Canada's Troubled Economy
Feb. 04, 1970  Canada's Changing Foreign Policy
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BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Regional Political Affairs: Canada