Canadian Election

June 6, 1962

Report Outline
Contenders in Canada's Election
Economic Issues in Canadian Campaign
Canadian-American Relations in Campaign

Contenders in Canada's Election

Calling of Election; Standing of Parties

Nearly eight million of Canada's 9.8 million eligible voters are expected to go to the polls on June 18 in the dominion's first national election in more than four years. Their ballots will determine whether the mandate of the Conservative government of Prime Minister John Dief enbaker is to be renewed or whether the Liberal Party lead by Lester B. Pearson is to be put back in power. The Liberals held office without interruption from 1935 to 1957. The Conservatives took over in the latter year following an election in which they gained a plurality, though not a majority, of the popular vote and of the 265 seats in the House of Commons. In a second poll, less than a year later, the Diefenbaker government won the largest parliamentary majority in Canadian history.

The Progressive Conservative Party, as the group is officially known, came out of the election of June 10, 1957, with only half a dozen more seats in Commons than the Liberals had won. Two minor parties, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and the Social Credit Party, held the balance of power. To strengthen its position, the Diefenbaker government returned to the country on March 31, 1958. In that canvass the Conservatives captured 208 seats, the Liberals only 49, the C.C.F. only 8, and the Social Credit Party none. The constitutional term of the Canadian House of Commons is five years, but the government is entitled to seek a new vote of confidence from the electorate before the five-year term expires. It often does so, when the end of the term comes into sight, either if it fears that its popularity is declining or if recent and well-accepted accomplishments have made the time ripe to convert its record into votes.

Months of speculation on the timing of the new election for the House of Commons at Ottawa were brought to an end by Diefenbaker's announcement on April 17 that the polling would take place on June 18. Canada's 24th Parliament was formally dissolved on April 19 by the Queen's representative, Governor General George P. Vanier. At dissolution the House of Commons had 203 Conservative members, 51 Liberal members, 8 members of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (now reorganized as the New Democratic Party), and three vacancies. To gain a majority in the 265-member House, a party must win 133 seats. Hence the Liberals would have to acid 82 seats to the 51 formerly held to get a bare majority in the 25th Parliament.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Oct. 06, 1995  Quebec Sovereignty
Apr. 12, 1991  The Deepening Canadian Crisis Over Quebec
May 11, 1990  Will Canada Fall Apart?
Mar. 08, 1985  Canada's Time of Change
Dec. 24, 1981  Canada's Political Conflicts
Nov. 04, 1977  Quebec Separatism
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
Jun. 12, 1968  Canadian Unity
Oct. 07, 1964  Canadian Separatism
Jun. 06, 1962  Canadian Election
May 29, 1957  Relations with Canada
May 06, 1941  Canada's War Effort
Jul. 18, 1930  Canadian General Election, 1930
Aug. 10, 1929  Canada and the American Tariff
Sep. 21, 1926  Canadian Politics and the Imperial Conference
Regional Political Affairs: Canada