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Canadian federal election, 1958

 

Canadian federal election, 1958

Canadian federal election, 1958

March 31, 1958

265 seats in the 24th Canadian Parliament
133 seats needed for a majority
Turnout 79.4%
  First party Second party
 
Leader John Diefenbaker Lester B. Pearson
Party Progressive Conservative Liberal
Leader since December 14, 1956 January 16, 1958
Leader's seat Prince Albert Algoma East
Last election 111 104
Seats won 208 48
Seat change +97 -56
Popular vote 3,910,852 2,459,700
Percentage 53.67% 33.75%
Swing +14.64pp -8.58pp

  Third party Fourth party
  Solon Earl Low
Leader Major James Coldwell Solon Earl Low
Party Co-operative Commonwealth Social Credit
Leader since March 22, 1942 April 6, 1944
Leader's seat Rosetown—Biggar (lost re-election) Peace River
(lost re-election)
Last election 25 19
Seats won 8 0
Seat change -17 -19
Popular vote 692,398 188,717
Percentage 9.50% 2.59%
Swing -1.21pp -4.03pp


Prime Minister before election

John Diefenbaker
Progressive Conservative

Prime Minister-designate

John Diefenbaker
Progressive Conservative

The Canadian federal election of 1958 was the 24th general election in Canada's history. It was held to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons of the 24th Parliament of Canada on March 31, 1958, just nine months after the 23rd election. It transformed Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's minority into the then-largest majority government (by percentage of seats) in Canadian history and the second largest percentage of the popular vote. The turnout was 79.4%. [1]

Contents

  • Overview 1
  • National results 2
  • Vote and seat summaries 3
  • Results by province 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Overview

Diefenbaker called a snap election and capitalized on three factors:

  • Nationally, the Liberals had just chosen a new leader, Lester Pearson, who had given an ill-advised maiden speech in Commons that asked Diefenbaker to resign and recommend the Governor General allow the Liberals to form a government without an election due to the recent economic downturn. Diefenbaker seized on the remark by describing a series of classified Liberal Cabinet documents stating that the economy would face a downturn in that year. This contrasted heavily with the Liberals' 1957 campaign promises.
  • A turnaround in Quebec: Quebec had been largely Liberal since the Conscription Crisis of 1917, but upon the resignation of former Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, the province had no favourite son leader, as they had since 1948, and its voters were open to new options. Seeking a greater voice in Ottawa, Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis's Union Nationale used their party machine to ally with the Tories, allowing Diefenbaker's Progressive Conservatives to sweep what had been a Liberal stronghold for a generation.
  • A collapse in support for the Social Credit Party which lost all 19 of its seats. Prior to the 1957 election, the Socreds were seen as a credible threat to replace the Tories as the main right wing party in the country, as they had done in British Columbia and Alberta, but the popularity of the Diefenbaker government persuaded many Social Credit supporters to abandon their party. This allowed the Tories to pick up not only Social Credit seats, but also proved decisive in many seats that featured a fractured vote between the PCs, Social Credit, Liberals, and CCF. Notably, the Tories swept all seventeen seats in Alberta, where they had previously held just three seats to Social Credit's thirteen. The election proved to be the start of a long decline for Social Credit. It would never seriously challenge the PCs dominance in the West again.

National results

The Canadian parliament after the 1958 election.
208 48 8 1
Progressive Conservative Liberal CCF O
Party Party leader # of
candidates
Seats Popular vote
1957 Elected % Change # % pp Change
     Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker 265 111 208 +87.4% 3,908,633 53.66% +14.85
     Liberal Lester B. Pearson 264 104 48 -53.8% 2,432,953 33.40% -7.35
     Co-operative Commonwealth M.J. Coldwell 169 25 8 -68.0% 692,668 9.51% -1.20
  Liberal–Labour 1 1 1 0% 11,956 0.16% -
Social Credit Solon Low 82 19 - -100% 188,356 2.59% -3.99
     Independent 9 2 - -100% 14,211 0.20% -0.87
     Independent Liberal 10 2 - -100% 12,054 0.17% -1.25
Labor–Progressive Tim Buck 18 - - - 9,769 0.13% +0.02
     Candidats des électeurs Réal Caouette 1 - - - 8,276 0.11% -0.01
     Independent PC 5 1 - -100% 2,097 0.03% -0.19
  Socialist 2 * - * 1,113 0.02% *
     Capital familial H-G Grenier 1 * - * 968 0.01% *
     Radical chrétien 1 * - * 687 0.01% *
     Independent SC 1 - - - 361 x -0.04
     Ouvrier canadien 1 * - * 243 x *
     Independent Conservative 1 * - * 122 x *
Total 831 265 265 - 7,284,467 100.00%  
Sources: http://www.elections.ca History of Federal Ridings since 1867

Notes:

"Previous" refers to standings at previous election, not to standings in the House of Commons at dissolution.

* The party did not nominate candidates in the previous election.

x - less than 0.005% of the popular vote

Vote and seat summaries

Popular vote
PC
  
53.66%
Liberal
  
33.40%
CCF
  
9.51%
Social Credit
  
2.59%
Others
  
0.84%
Seat totals
PC
  
78.49%
Liberal
  
18.11%
CCF
  
3.02%
Others
  
0.38%

Results by province

Party name BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE NL YK NW Total
     Progressive Conservative Seats: 18 17 16 14 67 50 7 12 4 2 1 - 208
     Vote (%): 49.4 59.9 51.4 56.7 56.4 49.6 54.1 57.0 62.2 45.2 54.5 42.8 53.7
     Liberal Seats: - - - - 14 25 3 - - 5 - 1 48
     Vote (%): 16.1 13.7 19.6 21.6 32.1 45.6 43.4 38.4 37.5 54.4 43.3 57.2 33.4
     Co-operative Commonwealth Seats: 4 - 1 - 3 - - - - -     8
     Vote (%): 24.5 4.4 28.4 19.6 10.5 2.3 1.8 4.5 0.3 0.2     9.5
  Liberal-Labour Seats:         1               1
  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:
Social Credit Vote (%): 9.6 21.6 0.4 1.8 0.3 0.6 0.7           2.6
     Independent Vote (%):     xx xx 0.1 0.6             0.2
     Independent Liberal Vote (%):           0.6       0.2     0.2
Labor–Progressive Vote (%): 0.4 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.1             0.1
     C. des électeurs Vote (%):           0.4             0.1
     Independent PC Vote (%):   0.1     0.1               xx
Socialist Vote (%):         xx xx             xx
     Capitale familiale Vote (%):           xx             xx
     Radical chrétien Vote (%):           xx             xx
     Independent SC Vote (%):   0.1                     xx
     Ouvrier canadien Vote (%):           xx             xx
     Ind. Conservative Vote (%):                     2.3   xx

xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote

See also

References

  1. ^ Pomfret, R. "Voter Turnout at Federal Elections and Referendums". Elections Canada. Elections Canada. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 

External links

  • The Elections of 1957 and 1958, by P.E. Bryden
  • Electoral Results by Party, on Parliament of Canada site
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