Canadian federal election, 2015
The 2011 federal election resulted in the continuation of the incumbent Conservative government, headed by Stephen Harper while the New Democratic Party (NDP) became Official Opposition and the Liberal Party became the third party. The Bloc Quebecois won four seats and the Green Party won one seat. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe resigned shortly after failing to win their own ridings. Bob Rae was chosen as interim leader of the Liberal Party. In July 2011, Jack Layton temporarily stepped down as leader of the NDP, because of cancer, indicating his intention to return to the job for the reconvening of Parliament in September. Weeks later Jack Layton died of cancer and was given a state funeral. In March 2012, Tom Mulcair was elected leader of the New Democratic Party. In April 2013 Justin Trudeau was elected leader of the Liberal Party. Bloc Québécois leader Daniel Paillé stepped down in December 2013 and was eventually replaced in June 2014 by Mario Beaulieu, who in turn was later replaced in June 2015 by Duceppe. In late 2014, MPs Jean-François Larose of the NDP and Jean-François Fortin of the Bloc formed the new political party Strength in Democracy.
As set forth in the Fair Representation Act, the number of seats in the House of Commons to be contested in the 42nd Canadian federal election will be 338, an increase of thirty seats from the 308 seats comprising the House of Commons of Canada of the 41st Parliament of Canada, at its dissolution.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper requested writs of election for a federal general election from Governor General David Johnston on August 2. The official proclamations were issued on August 4. The date of the vote is determined by the fixed-date Canada Elections Act. At eleven weeks, the campaign will be the longest in modern Canadian history.
As a result of the 2012 federal electoral redistribution, the number of electoral districts was increased to 338, with additional seats based on population assigned to Alberta (6), British Columbia (6), Ontario (15), and Quebec (3).
The major parties that have nominated candidates for election to the 42nd Parliament of Canada are:
|Conservative Party||"Proven leadership for a strong Canada."
"Safer Canada/Stronger Economy"
|« Un leadership qui a fait ses preuves pour une économie plus forte »|
|New Democratic Party||"Ready for Change."||« Ensemble pour le changement »|
|Liberal Party||"Real Change."||« Changer ensemble »|
|Bloc Québécois||« Des gains pour le Québec »("Gains for Quebec"[A])
« On a tout à gagner » ("We have everything to win"[A])
|Green Party||"A Canada That Works. Together."||« Prendre l'avenir en main »|
|Strength in Democracy||"Empowering our regions, uniting our strengths."||« Allier les forces de nos régions »|
A Unofficial translation.
Evolution of voting intentions during the campaign leading up to the 2015 Canadian federal election to be held on October 19, 2015. Points represent results of individual polls.
- 7 August 2015: Hochelaga Conservative candidate Augustin Ali Kitoko was removed as a candidate after sharing a Facebook photo album from New Democrat leader Thomas Mulcair.
- 10 August 2015: Kings—Hants New Democratic candidate Morgan Wheeldon resigned his candidacy after a Facebook comment surfaced where he is accused of saying Israel intended to "ethnically cleanse the region."
- 18 August 2015: Calgary Nose Hill Liberal candidate Ala Buzreba stepped down as candidate after offensive Twitter tweets from several years ago were uncovered, including "Go blow your brains out you waste of sperm" and "Your mother should have used that coat hanger."
- 21 August 2015: Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie Conservative candidate Gilles Guibord was no longer a candidate after a number of online comments on Le Journal de Montréal were uncovered, including blaming First Nations for not integrating into European culture, claiming the French, not the Mohawks, have ancestral rights to Quebec, and speaking about man's "authority over women."
- 24 August 2015: Ahuntsic-Cartierville Conservative candidate Wiliam Moughrabi deleted his Facebook account after violent and sexist posts were discovered.
- 25 August 2015: Joliette Conservative candidate Soheil Eid apologized after comparing New Democrat leader Thomas Mulcair's statements regarding the Energy East pipeline project to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels by quoting "Mentez mentez, il en restera toujours quelque chose" ("Lie lie and something will always remain").
- Late August 2015: Mégantic—L'Érable Bloc Québécois candidate Virginie Provost was embarrassed after a survey asking what she would need in the event of a nuclear attack was revealed. Her answer was that she would bring "her cellphone, a penis and chips."
- 6 September 2015: Scarborough—Rouge Park Conservative candidate Jerry Bance was dropped from the party after a video from CBC's Marketplace surfaced showing an appliance repairman named Jerry urinating into a mug in a client's kitchen. It was later discovered that it was Jerry Bance. It became a popular meme on Twitter as #peegate
- 7 September 2015: Toronto—Danforth Conservative candidate Tim Dutaud was forced to resign his candidacy after it was discovered he was YouTube user UniCaller, who has uploaded videos of himself pretending to orgasm while on the phone with female customer service representatives, and mocking people with mental disabilities.
- 8 September 2015: Bay of Quinte Conservative Electoral District Association board member Sue MacDonell was fired after she posted on Facebook that Cree woman and newly crowned Mrs. Universe Ashley Callingbull-Burnham was a "monster" and a "smug entitled Liberal pet."
- 8 September 2015: Shawn Dearn, New Democrat leader Thomas Mulcair's director of communications apologized after tweets came to light criticizing the Catholic church, including stating that the "misogynist, homophobic, child-molesting Catholic church" is no moral authority, and used an expletive to refer to Pope Francis after the pope denounced Britain's gay equality rights.
- 10 September 2015: South Surrey—White Rock Liberal candidate Joy Davies resigned her candidacy after Facebook comments surfaced where she suggested that marijuana reduced family violence, that growing marijuana in a home poses no harm to children, and that the Canadian Cancer Society was "another outlet for big pharma."
- 10 September 2015: Peace River—Westlock Liberal candidate Chris Brown apologized for offensive tweets he made in December 2009, during a bout of alcoholism after the death of his wife.
- 15 September 2015: Bonavista—Burin—Trinity Conservative candidate Blair Dale was removed from his candidacy after racist and sexist online comments surfaced, including saying that abortion should not be an option for "irresponsible" people.
- 16 September 2015: Sturgeon River—Parkland Liberal candidate Chris Austin had his candidacy removed due to views that "are irreconcilable with the values" of the Liberals, including saying Stephen Harper "has turned our Nation's Capital into a War Zone as his thirst for War" in the aftermath of the Parliament Hill shootings, and suggesting that the RCMP are the "Canadian Gestapo"
- 19 September 2015: Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Sœurs Bloc Québécois candidate Chantal St-Onge apologized after sharing an anti-Islam Pegida post on Facebook.
- 22 September 2015: Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas New Democrat candidate Alex Johnstone apologized for Facebook comments from seven years ago, where she commented on photos of the Auschwitz concentration camp with "Ahhh, the infamous Pollish [sic], phallic, hydro posts." She claimed to not know that the picture was of the infamous concentration camp.
- 24 September 2015: Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley New Democrat candidate Stefan Johansson was asked to step down as candidate after social media posts from three years ago emerged where he compared the Haredim sect of Judaism to the Taliban and other extremists.
- 28 September 2015: Cowichan—Malahat—Langford Liberal candidate Maria Manna resigned her candidacy after Facebook comments surfaced questioning the events of the September 11 attacks.
- 30 September 2015: Victoria Liberal candidate Cheryl Thomas resigns after past social media posts came to light, including referring to mosques as "brainwashing stations" and saying "the oppressed of the Warsaw ghettos and the concentration camps have become the oppressors." As the candidate deadline (28 September) has passed, her name will remain on the ballot.
- 1 October 2015: Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook Conservative candidate Robert Strickland was lambasted after Facebook remarks made by Strickland (or a staffer) told a young voter to "gain some experience in life" before engaging in political discussions.
- 1 October 2015: St. Catharines Conservative incumbent Rick Dykstra was alleged to have purchased six Cîroc vodka bottles for underage girls at a local nightclub and then had his campaign offer bribes in exchange for their silence, a charge Dykstra denies.
- 6 October 2015: Mississauga—Malton Conservative candidate Jagdish Grewal was dropped from the party after an editoral by Grewal was printed in the Punjabi Post titled "Is it wrong for a homosexual to become a normal person?" in which he defended gay-conversion therapy to return gay youths to their "normal" heterosexuality. His name will remain on the ballot.
Before the campaign, there were no limits to what a political party, candidate, or third party (corporations, unions, special interest groups, etc.) can spend — spending rules are only in force after the writs have been dropped and the campaign has begun. Because the election period is set longer than the standard 37-day election period, spending limits are increased in proportion to the length of the period.
Spending limits for the 2015 federal election
|2015 Spending Limit||2011 Spending Limit||Notes|
|Political Parties||$54,475,840||$21,025,793||If full slate of candidates.|
|Party Candidates (electoral district average)||$73,611,590 ($217,786)||$28,244,499 ($91,703)||If full slate of candidates. Each electoral district is subject to specific spending limits according to population and density. In 2011, the limits for candidates varied from $69,635 in the electoral district of Malpeque, Prince Edward Island, to $134,352 in Oak Ridges–Markham, Ontario.|
|Total Limit per Party||$128,087,430||$49,270,292||If full slate of candidates.|
|Third Parties (corporations, unions, special interest groups, etc.)||$439,411 ||$150,000||Election advertising expenses limit. Of that amount, no more than $8,788 can be incurred to promote or oppose the election of one or more candidates in a particular electoral district.|
Election spending during the 2015 federal election
|Party||Total Spending (% of limit)||Party Spending (% of limit)||Total Candidate Spending (% of limit)||# Candidates Spending > 75% of Candidate Limit||# Candidates Spending > 50% of Candidate Limit|
|Conservative||$||$ (%)||$ (%)|
|NDP||$||$ (%)||$ (%)|
|Liberal||$||$ (%)||$ (%)|
Election spending during the 2011 federal election
|Party||Total Spending (% of limit)||Party Spending (% of limit)||Total Candidate Spending (% of limit)||# Candidates Spending > 75% of Candidate Limit||# Candidates Spending > 50% of Candidate Limit|
|Conservative||$39,175,131 (80%)||$19,519,995 (93%)||$19,655,136 (70%)||173||228|
|NDP||$27,490,193 (56%)||$20,372,231 (97%)||$7,117,962 (25%)||44||70|
|Liberal||$34,025,109 (69%)||$19,507,746 (93%)||$14,517,363 (41%)||91||169|
Reimbursements for political parties and candidates
Political parties receive a reimbursement for 50 per cent of their election expenses during the writ period. Similarly, electoral district associations receive a reimbursement of 60 per cent of their election expenses during the writ period. Both reimbursements are publicly funded.
Elections Canada reports that during the financial quarter preceding the writ period, the Conservatives received $7.4 million in contributions, the NDP received $4.5 million, and the Liberals received $4.0 million. The NDP had the most individual donors at 48,314, followed by the Conservatives at 45,532 and then the Liberals at 32,789.
The New Democratic Party stated that it collected greater than $9 million in the third quarter of 2015, the most it ever received from donors, and greater than the quarterly record established by the Conservative Party in 2011.
At the riding level, financial reports in each of the 338 constituencies showed that in Conservative electoral district associations ended 2014 with net assets totalling more than $19 million, Liberal riding associations reported a total of about $8 million in net assets, and NDP associations more than $4.4 million.
Individuals are able to give up to $1,500 to each political party and an additional $1,500 to all the registered associations, nomination contestants and candidates of each registered party combined.
Registered third parties
A person or group must register as a third party immediately after incurring election advertising expenses totalling $500 or more. There are strict limits on advertising expenses, and specific limits that can be incurred to promote or oppose the election of one or more candidates in a particular electoral district. There are 11 registered third parties in the 2015 election.
Traditionally, party leaders participated in at least two nationally-televised debates during the federal election - at least one each in English and French. These debates were produced by a consortium of Canada's major television networks. In May 2015, the Conservatives said they would not participate in the consortium debates and instead would take part in as many as five independently staged debates in the run-up to the fall federal election. Ultimately, the Conservatives agreed to participate in a French-language debate organized by the consortium of broadcasters as one of their five debates. The New Democratic Party confirmed that Tom Mulcair would accept every debate where the Prime Minister was present. The NDP had previously confirmed their intention to participate in both of the consortium debates before Stephen Harper withdrew but ultimately only participated in the French language consortium debate which included the Conservatives. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau attended the Maclean's, Globe and Mail, and French consortium debates; and the Liberals confirmed he would attend the other debates. The Bloc Québécois attended the French language consortium debate and confirmed their attendance at the French-language TVA debate. The Green Party attended the Maclean's and French language consortium debates, and confirmed their intention to participate in the English language consortium debate. Strength in Democracy, which has the same number of seats in the House of Commons as the Greens and Bloc Québécois, were not invited to participate in any of the televised debates. The leaders of the party objected to their exclusion and launched a petition demanding that all parties represented in Parliament be invited to the debates. Other minor parties without representation in the House of Commons were not invited to participate in any of the televised debates.
Completed televised debates:
|General||Conservatives; NDP; Liberals; Greens||August 6||Rogers Media,
|Toronto||English language debate hosted by Maclean's magazine, moderated by political columnist Paul Wells. The debate included live translations into French, Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi. Aired live on City stations (English), CPAC (French), and Omni Television stations (all other languages); streamed live at the Maclean's website and all networks' websites, Facebook, and YouTube; and on Rogers Media news radio stations.|
|Economy||Conservatives; Liberals; NDP||September 17||The Globe and Mail and Google Canada||Calgary||English language debate on the Canadian economy hosted by The Globe and Mail, moderated by editor-in-chief David Walmsley The first half of the 90-minute debate covered five central themes on the economy: jobs, energy and the environment, infrastructure, housing and taxation. The second half consisted of follow-up questions and questions sent in by voters. Aired live nationwide on CPAC in both official languages with an additional English feed in Ontario on CHCH, streamed live on The Globe and Mail’s website, and distributed on YouTube. Uninvited Green Party leader Elizabeth May answered questions on Twitter live during the debate at an event in Victoria, British Columbia.|
|General||Conservatives; NDP; Liberals; Greens; Bloc Québécois||September 24||Consortium (CBC/Radio-Canada, CTV, Global, Télé-Québec) and La Presse||Montreal||French language debate organized by the consortium of broadcasters and the Montreal newspaper La Presse, moderated by Ici RDI journalist Anne-Marie Dussault. The debate included live translation into English. Aired live in French on Ici Radio-Canada Télé and Télé-Québec stations, and participant networks' websites; and in English on CBC News Network, CTV News Channel, and participant networks' websites.|
|Foreign Policy||Conservatives; NDP; Liberals||September 28||Aurea Foundation and Facebook Canada||Toronto||Bilingual debate on Canada's foreign policy hosted as part of the foundation's regular Munk Debates, moderated by Rudyard Griffiths. The debate consisted of six 12-minute segments, with two leaders debating for the first seven minutes and the third leader brought in to the debate for the final five. Aired on CPAC in both official languages with an additional English feed in Ontario on CHCH,  streamed live on the Munk Debates website, and distributed on Facebook.|
|General||Conservatives; NDP; Liberals; Bloc Québécois;||October 2||Quebecor Media (TVA)||Montreal||French language debate organized by private broadcaster TVA, moderated by TVA Nouvelles anchor Pierre Bruneau. The debate focused on three themes: the economy, national security and Canada’s place in the world, and social policies; the format consisted of six rounds rounds of four-minute debate between two leaders, with an open debate section at the end of each theme. Aired live in French on TVA stations, Le Canal Nouvelles, and streamed on the TVA Nouvelles website; Aired with simultaneous interpretation to English on CPAC.|
For a list of all proposed televised debates see 2015 Canadian Leaders' Debates
Leadership elections: 2011–15
- Bloc Québécois leadership election, 2011
- New Democratic Party leadership election, 2012
- Liberal Party of Canada leadership election, 2013
- Bloc Québécois leadership election, 2014
Incumbent MPs who will not run for re-election
|Party||Party leader||Candidates||Seats||Popular vote|
|2011||Dissol.||Redist.[note 1]||2015||% Change||% seats||#||# Change||%||pp Change|
|New Democratic||Tom Mulcair||338||103||95||109||Pending|
|Bloc Québécois||Gilles Duceppe||78||4||2||4||Pending|
|Strength in Democracy||Jean-François Fortin||17||N/A||2||N/A||Pending|
|Marxist–Leninist||Anna Di Carlo||70||0||0||0||Pending|
|Christian Heritage||Rod Taylor||30||0||0||0||Pending|
|Animal Alliance||Liz White||8||0||0||0||Pending|
|Progressive Canadian||Sinclair Stevens||8||0||0||0||Pending|
|Democratic Advancement||Stephen Garvey||4||N/A||0||N/A||Pending|
|Canadian Action||Jeremy Arney||3||0||0||0||Pending|
|Alliance of the North||François Bélanger||1||N/A||N/A||N/A||Pending|
|The Bridge Party||David Berlin||1||N/A||0||N/A||Pending|
|Canada Party||Jim Pankiw||1||N/A||0||N/A||Pending|
|Seniors||Daniel J. Patton||1||N/A||N/A||N/A||Pending|
|Rejected, spoiled, or declined||Pending|
- Fixed election dates in Canada
- List of Canadian federal general elections
- List of political parties in Canada
- Results by riding of the Canadian federal election, 2015
- The party totals are theoretical. They are the transposition of the 2011 district results redistributed to the new districts formed in 2015.
- Conservative candidate total includes Jagdish Grewal (Mississauga–Malton), who has publicly withdrawn from the election after the deadline and remains on the ballot.
- Liberal candidate total includes Cheryl Thomas (Victoria), who has publicly withdrawn from the election after the deadline and remains on the ballot.
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