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Canadian federal election, 1911
The 1911 Canadian federal election brought an end to fifteen years of government by the Liberal Party of Wilfrid Laurier. The election was fought over the issues of free trade with the United States, and the creation of a Canadian navy. The Conservatives formed a majority government under Robert Borden.
The Laurier Liberals, after many years in office, had run into important problems in their last term. The most important of these was the debate over the Canadian Navy. Laurier failed in his usually masterful balancing between French and English Canada and ended up annoying both groups.
The Quebec nationalist Henri Bourassa had quit the Liberal Party in disgust with what he considered the government's pro-British policies. Many English-Canadians in Ontario, and the Maritimes felt that Laurier was abandoning Canada's traditional links to the United Kingdom.
The base of Liberal support shifted to Western Canada. The West, seeking markets for its agricultural products, had long been a proponent of free trade with the United States. The protected manufacturing businesses of Central Canada were strongly against it. The Liberals, who by ideology and history were strongly in favour of free trade, decided to make the issue the central plank of their re-election strategy, and negotiated a free trade agreement in natural products with the United States.
The campaign went badly for the Liberals, however. The powerful manufacturing interests of Toronto and Montreal switched their allegiance and financing to the Tories. The Tories argued that free trade would undermine Canadian sovereignty and lead to a slow annexation of Canada by the U.S.
The election is often compared to the 1988 federal election, which was also fought over free trade. Ironically, in that later election, the positions of the two parties were reversed: the Liberals fought against the Tories' free trade proposal.
|Party||Party Leader||# of candidates||Seats||Popular Vote|
|Independent Conservative|| ||3||-||3||12,499||0.96%||+0.50%|
|Nationalist Conservative (3)|| ||2||n.a.||-||n.a.||4,399||0.34%||n.a.|
|Total|| || |
|Sources: http://www.elections.ca -- History of Federal Ridings since 1867|
(1) One Conservative candidate was acclaimed in Ontario.
(2) One Liberal candidate was acclaimed in Ontario, and two Liberals were acclaimed in Québec.
(3) Two candidates sought election unsuccessfully as Nationalist Conservatives. In both cases, they were the only opponents of the Liberal candidates, and therefore would appear to have been the Conservative Party candidates.
Results by province
|Popular Vote (%):||58.7||38.5||39.0||51.9||53.5||44.1||43.6||44.5||51.1||60.8||48.0|
|Parties that won no seats:|
|Nationalist Conservative||Vote (%):||0.3||1.0||0.3|
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