Canadian federal election, 1891

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Canadian federal election, 1891
Canada
← 1887 March 5, 1891 1896 →

215 seats in the 7th Canadian Parliament
108 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Sir John A Macdonald circa 1878 retouched.jpg Laurier in 1906.jpg
Leader John A. Macdonald Wilfrid Laurier
Party Conservative Liberal
Leader since 1867 1887
Leader's seat Kingston Quebec East
Last election 122 seats, 47.4% 80 seats, 43.1%
Seats won 117 90
Seat change Decrease5 Increase10
Popular vote 376,518 350,512
Percentage 48.6% 45.2%
Swing Increase1.2% Increase2.1%

Canada 1891 Federal Election.svg

Prime Minister before election

John A. Macdonald
Conservative

Prime Minister-designate

John A. Macdonald
Conservative

The Canadian federal election of 1891 was held on March 5 to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons of the 7th Parliament of Canada. It was won by the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald.

A Conservative election poster from 1891.

The main issue of the 1891 campaign was Macdonald's National Policy, a policy of protective tariffs. The Liberals supported reciprocity (free trade) with the United States.

Macdonald led a conservative campaign emphasizing stability, and retained the Conservatives' majority in the House of Commons. It was a close election and he campaigned hard. Macdonald died a few months after the election, which led to his succession by four different Conservative Prime Ministers until the 1896 election.

Senator John Abbott succeeded Macdonald as Conservative leader and Prime Minister after Macdonald's death on June 6, 1891. Abbott's most famous political comment was "I hate politics." He had in fact supported John Sparrow David Thompson to succeed Macdonald. Abbott, in failing health, was finally succeeded by Thompson in 1892. Mackenzie Bowell, another senator, succeeded Thompson after his sudden death from a heart attack on December 12, 1894. Bowell was ousted by several of his own cabinet ministers and replaced by Charles Tupper in April 1896, who led the Conservatives in the June 1896 election.

It was Wilfrid Laurier's first election as leader of the Liberals. Although he lost the election, he increased the Liberals' support. He returned in 1896 to win a solid majority, despite losing the popular vote.

This election was the lowest voter turnout by percentage until then in Canadian federal elections, at 64.4%

Canadian voters would return to the issue of free trade 20 years later in the 1911 federal election.

National results[edit]

The Canadian parliament after the 1891 election
117 90 8
Conservative Liberal O
Party Party leader # of
candidates
Seats Popular vote
1887 Elected Change # % Change
  Conservative John A. Macdonald 187 87 97 +11.5% 332,961 42.96% +2.80pp
  Liberal-Conservative 25 24 20 -16.7% 43,557 5.62% -1.64pp
  Liberal Wilfrid Laurier 194 79 90 +13.9% 350,512 45.22% +2.09pp
  Independent Conservative 4 3 3 - 15,045 1.94% +0.38pp
  Independent 4 3 2 -66.7% 6,357 0.82% -0.42pp
  Nationalist 1 1 1 - -1 0.00% -0.66pp
  Independent Liberal 2 5 1 -80% 5,573 0.72% -1.45pp
  Nationalist Conservative 1 2 1 -50% 1,271 0.16% -0.32pp
  Unknown 14 1 - -100% 16,890 2.18% -1.15pp
  Equal Rights 2 * - * 2,455 0.32% *
  Progressive2 2 * - * 468 0.06% *
Total 436 205 215 +4.9% 775,089 100%  
Sources: http://www.elections.ca -- History of Federal Ridings since 1867

Notes:

* Party did not nominate candidates in the previous election.

1 One Nationalist candidate was elected by acclamation.

2 The Parliamentary website identifies two candidates in Nova Scotia as being “Progressives”. This may be an error.

Acclamations:

The following Members of Parliament were elected by acclamation;

  • British Columbia: 1 Conservative, 1 Liberal-Conservative
  • Manitoba: 1 Conservative
  • Ontario: 1 Conservative
  • Quebec: 1 Conservative, 2 Liberal, 1 Nationalist

Results by province[edit]

Party name BC NW MB ON QC NB NS PE Total
  Conservative Seats: 5 4 1 39 24 10 12 2 97
  Popular vote (%): 71.6 81.0 12.6 42.2 45.4 48.9 41.9 48.5 43.0
  Liberal-Conservative Seats: 1   3 7 3 2 4   20
  Vote (%):     40.5 5.3 3.0 3.7 10.8   5.6
  Liberal Seats: - - 1 44 33 4 5 3 90
  Vote (%): 28.4 19.0 46.9 49.1 45.9 41.3 43.6 41.0 45.2
  Independent Conservative Seats:       1 2       3
  Vote (%):       1.3 5.9       1.9
  Independent Seats:       1 1 -     2
  Vote (%):       0.7 1.2 3.2     0.8
  Nationalist Seats:         1       1
  Vote (%):         -       -
  Independent Liberal Seats:           -   1 1
  Vote (%):           2.9   10.5 0.7
  Nationalist Conservative Seats:         1       1
  Vote (%):         0.7       0.2
Total seats 6 4 5 92 65 16 21 6 215
Parties that won no seats:
  Unknown Vote (%):       2.0 3.8   3.1   2.2
  Equal Rights Vote (%):       0.7         0.3
  Progressive Vote (%):             0.5   0.1

Vote and seat summaries[edit]

Popular vote
Conservative
  
48.58%
Liberal
  
45.22%
Others
  
6.20%
Seat totals
Conservative
  
54.42%
Liberal
  
41.86%
Others
  
3.72%

See also[edit]

External links[edit]