Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Canadian federal election, 1979
The Canadian federal election of 1979 was held on May 22, 1979 to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons. It resulted in the defeat of Liberal Party of Canada after 11 years in power under Pierre Trudeau. Joe Clark led the Progressive Conservative Party to power, but with only a minority of seats in the House of Commons.
The Trudeau Liberals had become very unpopular during their last term in government because of large budget deficits, high inflation, and high unemployment. Although elections in Canada are normally held four years apart, Trudeau deferred calling an election until five years after the previous election in the hope that the Liberal Party would be able to recover some of the support that it had lost.
The effort was unsuccessful, however, and the Liberals lost 27 seats. Several high-profile cabinet ministers were defeated. Trudeau resigned as Liberal leader following the election.
Canadians were not, however, sufficiently confident in the young Joe Clark to give him a majority in the House of Commons. Quebec, in particular, was unwilling to support Clark, and elected only two PC MPs in the province's 75 ridings. Clark, relatively unknown when elected as PC leader at the 1976 PC Party convention, was seen as being bumbling and unsure. Clark had had problems with certain right-wing members of his caucus. In particular, when Clark's riding was merged into the riding of another PC MP during a redistribution of ridings, the other MP refused to step aside, and Clark ended up running in another riding. Also, when Clark undertook a tour of the Middle East Asia in order to show his ability to handle foreign affairs issues, his luggage was lost, and Clark appeared to be uncomfortable with the issues being discussed.
Clark's minority government lasted less than nine months. It was defeated in the House of Commons in a vote of non-confidence over a budget bill that proposed to increase the excise tax on gasoline by 18 cents per Imperial gallon. This resulted in the 1980 election, in which the PCs were defeated by the resurgent Trudeau Liberals.
Clark won the popular vote in eight provinces, but because his Tories could only muster 2 seats in Quebec, he only won a minority government. The Liberals won only one seat west of Manitoba. This election was the last in which the Social Credit Party of Canada won seats. An unusual event occurred in the Northwest Territories: the Liberals won the popular vote in the territory, but won neither seat.
|Party||Party Leader||# of|
|Previous1||After||% Change||#||%||% Change||Progressive Conservative||282||95||136||+43.2%||4,111,606||35.89%||+0.43%||Liberal||282||141||114||-19.1%||4,595,319||40.11%||-3.04%||New Democratic||282||16||26||+62.5%||2,048,988||17.88%||+2.45%||Social Credit||103||11||6||-45.5%||527,604||4.61%||-0.46%||Rhinoceros||63||-||62,601||0.55%||Independent||48||1||-||-100%||30,518||0.27%||-0.14%|
|Unknown||19||-||-||-||21,268||0.19%||+0.01%||Union Populaire|| ||69||-||19,514||0.17%||Libertarian|| ||60||-||16,042||0.14%||Marxist-Leninist||144||-||-||14,231||0.12%||-0.05%||Communist||71||-||-||9,141||0.08%||-0.05%|
|Sources: http://www.elections.ca History of Federal Ridings since 1867|
1 "Previous" refers to the results of the previous election, not the party standings in the House of Commons prior to dissolution.
x - less than 0.005% of the popular vote.
Results by province
|Parties that won no seats|
xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote.
- Number of Parties: 9
See: 31st Canadian parliament for a full list of MPs elected in this election.
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