Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Canadian federal election, 1962
The Canadian federal election of 1962 was held to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons. When the election was called, the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada of John George Diefenbaker had governed for almost five years with the largest majority in the House of Commons in Canadian history. The Diefenbaker government had introduced reforms to social programs, a Canadian Bill of Rights, and other changes.
This election reduced the Tories to a tenuous minority government as a result of economic difficulties such as high unemployment and a slumping Canadian dollar, as well as unpopular decisions such as the cancellation of the Avro Arrow. Despite the Diefenbaker government's difficulties, the Liberals under Lester Pearson were unable to make up enough ground in the election to defeat the government.
The 1962 election was the first contested by the social democratic New Democratic Party, which had been formed from an alliance between the old Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and the Canadian Labour Congress. The party chose longtime Premier of Saskatchewan Tommy Douglas as its first leader. The new party was able to recover ground lost by the CCF in the 1958 federal election, when it was nearly wiped out. It won almost 50% more votes than the CCF had ever managed, but it failed to achieve the major breakthrough that had been hoped for when the party was created.
Douglas failed to win his own seat in the province of Saskatchewan, and the NDP was shut out in this province, which was its political base. Douglas's campaign was hurt by chaos in Saskatchewan brought about by the introduction of Medicare and a resulting strike by the province's doctors. Douglas was forced to enter the House of Commons through a by-election in British Columbia. Despite the initial problems, medicare proved popular, spread throughout the country, and is considered the NDP's (and Douglas') major contribution to the Canadian social fabric.
Social Credit returned to the House of Commons after being shut out in the 1958 election. While leader Robert N. Thompson and three other Socreds were elected in the party's traditional base in western Canada, the party's real success came in Quebec. Réal Caouette led the party's Quebec wing to victory in 26 ridings.
|Party||Party Leader||# of|
|Previous1||After||% Change||#||%||% Change||Progressive Conservative||265||208||116||-44.2%||2,865,542||37.22%||-16.35%||Liberal||263||48||99||+106.3%||2,846,589||36.97%||+3.57%||Social Credit||230||-||30||893,479||11.61%||+9.02%||New Democratic||218||8||19||+137.5%||1,044,754||13.57%||+4.06%|
|Liberal-Labour|| ||1||1||1||-||15,412||0.20%||+0.04%||Independent Liberal||7||-||-||-||10,406||0.14%||-0.03%|
|Candidat libéral des electeurs|| ||1||-||1,836||0.02%|
|Co-operative Builders|| ||1||-||261||x|
|All Canadian|| ||1||-||189||x|
|Ouvrier Indépendant|| ||1||-||152||x|
|Sources: http://www.elections.ca History of Federal Ridings since 1867|
1 "Previous" refers to standings at previous election, not to standings in the House of Commons at dissolution.
2 compared to Labour Progressive Party results from previous election
x - less than 0.005% of the popular vote
Results by province
|Parties that won no seats:|
|Candidat libéral des electeurs||Vote:||0.1||xx|
xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote
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