Canadian federal election, 1988

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Canadian federal election, 1988
Canada
1984 ←
members
November 21, 1988
→ 1993
members

295 seats in the 34th Canadian Parliament
148 seats needed for a majority
Turnout 75.3%[1]
  First party Second party Third party
  Mulroney.jpg Fmr CDN PM John Turner.jpg Ed Broadbent.jpg
Leader Brian Mulroney John Turner Ed Broadbent
Party Progressive Conservative Liberal New Democratic
Leader since June 11, 1983 June 16, 1984 July 7, 1975
Leader's seat Charlevoix Vancouver Quadra Oshawa
Last election 211 seats, 50.03% 40 seats, 28.02% 30 seats, 18.81%
Seats before 203 38 32
Seats won 169 83 43
Seat change −34 +45 +11
Popular vote 5,667,543 4,205,072 2,685,263
Percentage 43.02% 31.92% 20.38%
Swing −7.02pp +3.89pp +1.57pp

Canada 1988 Federal Election.svg


Prime Minister before election

Brian Mulroney
Progressive Conservative

Prime Minister after election

Brian Mulroney
Progressive Conservative

The Canadian federal election of 1988 was held November 21, 1988, to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons of the 34th Parliament of Canada. It was an election largely fought on a single issue: the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Incumbent Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, had signed the agreement. The Liberal Party, led by John Turner, was opposed to the agreement, as was the New Democratic Party led by Ed Broadbent. Among the minor parties, the Christian Heritage Party, running its first election candidates, supported the concept of free trade but had serious reservations about the negotiated agreement; the Communist Party fully opposed NAFTA, seeing it as a serious threat to Canadian economic sovereignty, and as seriously harmful to the labour rights of the middle class .

The Conservatives went into the election suffering from a number of scandals. Despite winning a large majority only four years before, they looked vulnerable at the outset.

The Liberals had some early struggles, notably during one day in Montreal where three different costs were given for the proposed Liberal daycare program. The campaign was also hampered by a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation report that stated there was a movement in the backroom to replace Turner with Jean Chrétien, even though Turner had passed a leadership review in 1986.

Support swung back and forth between the Conservatives and Liberals over free trade. With mid-campaign polls suggesting a Liberal government, this prompted the Conservatives to stop the relatively calm campaign they had been running, and go with Allan Gregg's suggestion of "bombing the bridge" that joined anti-FTA voters and the Liberals: Turner's credibility. The ads focused on Turner's leadership struggles, and combined with over $6 million CAD in pro-FTA ads, managed to stop the Liberals' momentum.

The Liberals reaped most of the benefits of opposing the FTA and doubled their representation to 83 seats to emerge as the main opposition; the NDP had also made gains but finished a distant third with 43 seats. The Progressive Conservatives won a reduced but strong majority government with 169 seats. Despite the Liberals' improved standing, the results were considered a disappointment for Turner, after polls in mid-campaign predicted a Liberal government. The election loss seemed to confirm Turner's fate, and he eventually resigned in 1990, and was succeeded by Chrétien.

Until the 2011 federal election, the 1988 election was the most successful in the New Democratic Party's history. The party dominated in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, won significant support in Ontario and elected its first (and, until the 2008 election, only) member from Alberta.

This was the second election contested by the Green Party, and it saw a more than 50% increase in its vote, but it remained a minor party.

The election was the last for Canada's Social Credit movement: the party won no seats, and had an insignificant portion of the popular vote.

The newly founded Reform Party also contested the election, but was considered little more than a fringe group, and did not win any seats.

National results[edit]

For a complete list of MPs elected in the 1988 election see 34th Canadian Parliament.

Party Party leader # of
candidates
Seats Popular vote
1984 Dissol. Elected % Change # % Change
     Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney 295 211 203 169 -19.9% 5,667,543 43.02% -7.02pp
     Liberal John Turner 294 40 38 83 +107.5% 4,205,072 31.92% +3.89pp
     New Democratic Party Ed Broadbent 295 30 32 43 +34.4% 2,685,263 20.38% +1.57pp
     Reform Preston Manning 72 * - - * 275,767 2.09% *
     Christian Heritage Ed Vanwoudenberg 63 * - - * 102,533 0.78% *
Rhinoceros Cornelius I 74 - - - - 52,173 0.40% -0.39pp
Green Seymour Trieger 68 - - - - 47,228 0.36% +0.14pp
     Confederation of Regions Elmer Knutson 51 - - - - 41,342 0.31% -0.68pp
     Libertarian Dennis Corrigan 88 - - - - 33,135 0.25% +0.06pp
     No affiliation 100 - - -   24,516 0.19% -0.12pp
     Independent 55 1 4 - - 22,982 0.17% -0.01pp
     Commonwealth Gilles Gervais 58 - - - - 7,467 0.06% -0.21pp
     Communist George Hewison 51 - - - - 7,066 0.05% -0.01pp
     Social Credit Harvey Lainson 9 - - - - 3,407 0.03% -0.10pp
     Vacant 5  
Total 1,573 282 282 295 +4.6% 13,175,494 100%  

Note:

"% change" refers to change from previous election

169
83
43
Progressive Conservative
Liberal
NDP

Vote and seat summaries[edit]

Popular vote
PC
  
43.02%
Liberal
  
31.92%
NDP
  
20.38%
Reform
  
2.09%
Others
  
2.59%


Seat totals
PC
  
57.29%
Liberal
  
28.14%
NDP
  
14.58%

A number of unregistered parties also contested the election. The Western Canada Concept party, led by Doug Christie, fielded three candidates in British Columbia. The Western Independence Party ran one candidate in British Columbia, seven in Alberta, and three in Manitoba (although one of the Manitoba candidates appears to have withdrawn before election day).

The Liberal candidate in Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Emmanuel Feuerwerker, withdrew from the race after suffering a heart attack, resulting in the Liberals not running a candidate in all 295 ridings during this election.

The Marxist-Leninist Party fielded candidates in several ridings.

Blair T. Longley campaigned in British Columbia as a representative of the "Student Party". Newspaper reports indicate that this was simply a tax-avoidance scheme.

The moribund Social Credit Party actually fielded fewer candidates than was required for official recognition, but the Chief Electoral Officer allowed the party's name to appear on the ballot by virtue of its history as a recognized party.

Results by province[edit]

Party name BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE NL NT YK Total
     Progressive Conservative Seats: 12 25 4 7 46 63 5 5 - 2 - - 169
     Popular Vote: 35.3 51.8 36.4 36.9 38.2 52.7 40.4 40.9 41.5 42.2 26.4 35.3 43.0
     Liberal Seats: 1 - - 5 43 12 5 6 4 5 2 - 83
     Vote: 20.4 13.7 18.2 36.5 38.9 30.3 45.4 46.5 49.9 45.0 41.4 11.3 31.9
     New Democratic Party Seats: 19 1 10 2 10 - - - - - - 1 43
     Vote: 37.0 17.4 44.2 21.3 20.1 14.4 9.3 11.4 7.5 12.4 28.3 51.4 20.38
Total seats 32 26 14 14 99 75 10 11 4 7 2 1 295
Parties that won no seats:
     Reform Vote: 4.8 15.4   3.3                 2.1
     Christian Heritage Vote:   1.1     1.4             2.0 0.8
Rhinoceros Vote:           1.2             0.4
Green Vote:                         0.4
     Confederation of Regions Vote:             4.3           0.3
     Libertarian Vote:                         0.3
     Commonwealth Vote:           0.2             0.1
     Communist Vote:                         0.1
     Social Credit Vote:                         xx
     Other Vote:                         0.4

xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote.

Note: Parties that captured less than 1% of the vote in a province are not recorded.

Notes[edit]

10 closest ridings[edit]

1. London-Middlesex, ON: Terry Clifford (PC) def. Garnet Bloomfield (Lib) by 8 votes
2. Northumberland, ON: Christine Stewart (Lib) def. Reg Jewell (PC) by 28 votes
3. Hamilton Mountain, ON: Beth Phinney (Lib) def. Marion Dewar (NDP) by 73 votes
4. York North, ON: Maurizio Bevilacqua (Lib) def. Michael O'Brien (PC) by 77 votes
5. Rosedale, ON: David MacDonald (PC) def. Bill Graham (Lib) by 80 votes
6. London East, ON: Joe Fontana (Lib) def. Jim Jepson (PC) by 102 votes
7. Haldimand-Norfolk, ON: Bob Speller (Lib) def. Bud Bradley (PC) by 209 votes
8. Hillsborough, PE: George Proud (Lib) def. Tom McMillan (PC) by 259 votes
9. Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC: Dave Worthy (PC) def. Jack Langford (NDP) by 269 votes
10. Vancouver Centre, BC: Kim Campbell (PC) def. Johanna Den Hertog (NDP) by 269 votes

See also[edit]

Articles on parties' candidates in this election:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pomfret, R. "Voter Turnout at Federal Elections and Referendums". Elections Canada. Elections Canada. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Argyle, Ray. Turning Points: The Campaigns That Changed Canada - 2011 and Before (2011) excerpt and text search ch 14

External links[edit]