The Canadian General Election of 1957

By John Meisel | Go to book overview

9 THE CAMPAIGNS ASSESSED

Efficacy

AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY in the House of Commons and a long series of successful elections gave the Liberalparty immense confidence as it embarked on the campaign. Being in office and seemingly having every prospect of returning to power, the party attracted considerable financial support from those individuals and corporations whose donations constitute the campaign funds of the parties. In addition to attracting private support, the party derived the usual benefits associated with being in office: it controlled public spending, had access to the knowledge and skill of the civil service, and its leaders, as ministers of the Crown, were well known in all parts of the country. Despite the likelihood that the government would suffer some electoral setbacks in the forthcoming contest, its assets seemed so massive as to preclude the possibility of defeat.

So impressed was everyone with the credit columns of the Liberal balance sheet that to a large measure the liabilities went unnoticed. And yet, as subsequent events have shown, they were considerable. At the provincial level the party had been losing support steadily and it is to be surmised that most provincial Liberal organizations were in a weak state. At the time of the 1949 election the party was in office in five provinces and participated in the coalition government of a sixth. By 1953 it formed the government in only four provinces, and in 1957 it held office in only Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, provinces whose populations were represented in the House of Commons by only eleven members, and in Manitoba where, as we have seen, the provincial

-178-

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The Canadian General Election of 1957
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • List of Tables xiii
  • Part I - The Pre-Election Period Before The Election 1
  • 1 - Before the Election 3
  • 2 - The "Diefenbaker Revolution" 18
  • Part II - The Campaign 35
  • 3 - The Points At Issue 37
  • 4 - National Headquarters 63
  • In The Constituencies 83
  • 6 - The Candidates 120
  • 8 - The Campaigns Compared 165
  • 9- The Campaigns Assessed 178
  • 10 - The C.C.F. And Social Credit Parties 198
  • Part III - The Results 233
  • 11- The Election And Its Outcome 235
  • 12 - The Results Examined 246
  • 13 - Conclusion 267
  • Appendices 279
  • Index 303
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