British Columbia general election, 1952
48 seats of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
25 seats needed for a majority
The British Columbia general election, 1952 was the 23rd general election in the Province of British Columbia, Canada. It was held to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. The election was called on April 10, 1952, and held on June 12, 1952. The new legislature met for the first time on February 3, 1953. It was the first general election to use a preferential ballot.
This system had been designed to enable the Conservative and Liberal parties to keep the socialist Co-operative Commonwealth Federation out of power. Unexpectedly, due to an elimination ballot system, also meant to forestall a CCF victory, this enabled Social Credit to win the largest number of seats with the benefit of second-preference ballots from Conservative and Liberal voters, and also from CCF voters.
The British Columbia Social Credit League (BCSCL) nominated and supported the candidates (who were BCSCL members) but in assuming power, the new government referred to itself as Social Credit.
W.A.C. Bennett was a member of the legislature who had left the Progressive Conservative Party to sit as an independent after failing in his bid to become leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in 1951. In December of that year, he took out a membership in the Social Credit League. Social Credit fell short of holding a majority after the election, however. Bennett had succeeded in convincing Tom Uphill, a Labour member of the Legislature (MLA), to support the party, and so the Socreds were able to form a minority government.
The party had no official leader though Alberta Social Credit Member of Parliament Rev. Ernest George Hansell led the party during the election campaign without contesting a seat. In a vote of the newly elected caucus, Bennett defeated Phil Gaglardi for the position of party leader and became premier-elect on July 15, 1952.
The centre-right coalition formed by the Liberal and Conservative parties in order to defeat the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation in the 1945 and 1949 elections split, and the two parties nominated candidates under their own names. The Conservative Party adopted the "Progressive Conservative" name used by its federal counterpart.
|Party||Party leader||# of
|1949||Elected||% Change||First count||%||Change||Final count||%|
|Social Credit||Ernest George Hansell||47||-||19||-||209,049||27.20%||+25.99%||203,932||30.18%|
|Co-operative Commonwealth Fed.||Harold Winch||48||7||18||+157.1%||236,562||30.78%||-4.32%||231,756||34.3%|
|Liberal||Byron Ingemar Johnson||48||391||6||n/a1||180,289||23.46%||n/a1||170,674||25.26%|
|Progressive Conservative||Herbert Anscomb||48||4||129,439||16.84%||65,285||9.66%|
|Labour Representation Committee||1||*||0||*||654||0.09%||*||-||-|
|Source: Elections BC|
* Party did not nominate candidates in the previous election.
1 In the previous election, the Liberal and Conservative parties ran candidates jointly as "Coalition" candidates, electing 39 MLAs. The Conservatives withdrew from the coalition in 1951 hastening the government's collapse.
Results by riding
- Hansell was an Alberta Member of Parliament and was appointed to lead the BC party during the election but did not contest a seat, himself. Following the election, W. A. C. Bennett was elected as the leader of the Social Credit party by the newly-elected caucus and became Premier-elect on July 15, 1952.
- The Liberal and Conservative parties ran as a coalition in the 1949 election.
- Argyle, Ray. Turning Points: The Campaigns That Changed Canada - 2011 and Before (2011) excerpt and text search ch 11