- Canadian federal election, 1988
election_name = Canadian federal election, 1988
country = Canada
type = parliamentary
ongoing = no
previous_election = Canadian federal election, 1984
previous_year = 1984
previous_mps = 33rd Canadian Parliament
next_election = Canadian federal election, 1993
next_year = 1993
next_mps = 35th Canadian Parliament
seats_for_election = 295 seats in the
34th Canadian Parliament
November 21 1988
party1 = Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
leaders_seat1 = Charlevoix
last_election1 = 211
seats1 = 169
seat_change1 = −42
popular_vote1 = 5,667,543
percentage1 = 43.02%
swing1 = −7.02%
party2 = Liberal Party of Canada
last_election2 = 40
seats2 = 83
seat_change2 = +43
popular_vote2 = 4,205,072
percentage2 = 31.92%
swing2 = +3.89%
party3 = New Democratic Party
leaders_seat3 = Oshawa
last_election3 = 30
seats3 = 43
seat_change3 = +13
popular_vote3 = 2,685,263
percentage3 = 20.38%
swing3 = +1.57%
map_size = 250px
title = PM
before_party = Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
after_party = Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
The Canadian federal election of 1988 was held
November 21, 1988, to elect members of the Canadian House of Commonsof the 34th Parliament of Canada. It was an election largely fought on a single issue: the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
Incumbent Prime Minister
Brian Mulroney, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, had signed the agreement. The Liberal Party, led by John Turner, was opposed to the agreement, as was the New Democratic Partyled by Ed Broadbent. Among the minor parties, the Christian Heritage Party, running its first election candidates, supported the concept of free trade but had serious reservations about the negotiated agreement.
The Conservatives went into the election suffering from a number of scandals. Despite winning a large majority only four years before, they looked vulnerable at the outset.
The Liberals had some early struggles, notably during one day in Montreal where 3 different costs were given for the proposed Liberal daycare program. The campaign was also hampered by a
Canadian Broadcasting Corporationreport that stated there was a movement in the backroom to replace Turner with Jean Chrétien, even though Turner had passed a leadership review in 1986.
Support swung back and forth between the Conservatives and Liberals over free trade. With mid-campaign polls suggesting a Liberal government, this prompted the Conservatives to stop the relatively calm campaign they had been running, and go with
Allan Gregg's suggestion of "bombing the bridge" that joined anti-FTA voters and the Liberals: Turner's credibility. The ads focused on Turner's leadership struggles, and combined with over $6 million CAD in pro-FTA ads, managed to stop the Liberals' momentum. Infighting among the Liberals and vote splittingbetween the NDP and Liberals contributed to a second Conservative majority government.
The Liberals reaped most of the benefits of opposing the FTA and doubled their representation to 83 seats to emerge as the main opposition; the NDP had also made gains but finished a distant third with 43 seats. The Progressive Conservatives won a reduced but strong majority government with 169 seats. Despite the Liberals' improved standing, the results were considered a disappointment for Turner, after polls in mid-campaign predicted a Liberal government. The election loss seemed to confirm Turner's fate, and he eventually resigned in 1990, and was succeeded by Chrétien.
The 1988 election was the most successful in the New Democratic Party's history. The party dominated in
British Columbiaand Saskatchewan, won significant support in Ontarioand elected its first (and to date, only) member from Alberta.
The election was the last for Canada's Social Credit movement: the party won no seats, and had an insignificant portion of the popular vote.
The newly founded Reform Party also contested the election, but was considered little more than a fringe group, and did not win any seats.
In all, 76% of eligible voters cast a ballot.
For a complete list of MPs elected in the 1988 election see
34th Canadian parliament.
xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote.
Note: Parties that captured less than 1 % of the vote in a province are not recorded.
* Number of parties: 11
** First appearance: Christian Heritage Party, Reform Party
** Final appearance: Confederation of Regions Party, Rhinoceros Party, Social Credit Party
** Final appearance before hiatus: Communist Party (returned in 2000)
10 closest ridings
London-Middlesex, ON: Terry Clifford(PC) def. Garnet Bloomfield(Lib) by 8 votes
2. Northumberland, ON:
Christine Stewart(Lib) def. Reg Jewell(PC) by 28 votes
Hamilton Mountain, ON: Beth Phinney(Lib) def. Marion Dewar(NDP) by 73 votes
York North, ON: Maurizio Bevilacqua(Lib) def. Michael O'Brien (PC) by 77 votes
5. Rosedale, ON: David MacDonald (PC) def.
Bill Graham(Lib) by 80 votes
London East, ON: Joe Fontana(Lib) def. Jim Jepson(PC) by 102 votes
Haldimand-Norfolk, ON: Bob Speller(Lib) def. Bud Bradley(PC) by 209 votes
8. Hillsborough, PEI:
George Proud(Lib) def. Tom McMillan(PC) by 259 votes
Cariboo-Chilcotin, BC: Dave Worthy(PC) def. Jack Langford(NDP) by 269 votes
Vancouver Centre, BC: Kim Campbell(PC) def. Johanna Den Hertog(NDP) by 269 votes
Kings-Hants, NS: Rik Gates(Not Affiliated) was 22 years and 9 months old when he ran for Member of Parliament.
Confederation of Regions Party candidates, 1988 Canadian federal election
Libertarian Party candidates, 1988 Canadian federal election
* [http://atlas.gc.ca/site/english/maps/archives/5thedition/peopleandsociety/politicalgeography/mcr4167?w=4&h=4&l=2&r=0&c=0 Riding map]
* [http://www.histori.ca/prodev/article.do?id=15407 Election of 1988, by Stephen Azzi]
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