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Alternate History

Canadian federal election, 1977 (CanadaPoli)

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Previous Election

The Canadian federal election of 1977 was held on October 24th, 1977 to elect members to the Canadian House of Commons of the 30th Parliament of Canada. It resulted in Progressive Conservative Prime Minster Robert Stanfield's second majority government. 

282 Seats in the 30th Canadian Parliament
142 Needed for a Majority 
Party Progressive Conservative Liberal  New Democratic Party Parti Quebecois National  Social Credit 
Leader Robert Stanfield  Allan MacEachan David Lewis  Pierre-Marc Johnson Bert Leboe  Gilles Caouette 
Leader's Seat Halifax  Cape Breton-Highlands-Canso  York South  Saint Leonard-Anjou  Cariboo-Chilcotin  Temiscamingue (Lost) 
Leader's Province  Nova Scotia  Nova Scotia  Ontario  Quebec  British Columbia  Quebec 
Seats Before  138 71 29 0 0 20
Seats Won  154 100 22 5 0 1
Change  +16 +29 -7 +5 = -19 
Popular Vote  4,589,614 3,815,920 1,987,511 695,176 152,942 131,901 
Percentage 42.08% 34.98% 18.22% 6.37% 1.40% 1.21%
Swing  +2.10 +4.26 -1.37 +6.37 +1.40 -7.18

Results by Province 

- BC AB SK MB ON QB NB NS PE NL  North Total
Progressive Conservative 21 21 12 9 65 6 5 7 4 2 2 154
Liberal 1 0 0 1 24 63 5 3 0 3 0 100
New Democratic Party 6 0 2 4 6 0 0 1 0 2 1 22
Parti Quebecois  - - - - - 5 - - - - - 5
Social Credit  0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total  28 21 14 14 95 75 10 11 4 7 3 282

Results and Aftermath 

The results were considered a victory for the agenda of Prime Minster Robert Stanfield. Although his PCs only performed slightly better then the last election (gaining 2.10% of the popular vote and taking 16 seats, mostly new ones redistributed in the west) he was easily able to hold on to his majority, and increase it slightly. 

Perhaps the best night for any of the parties was for Allan MacEachan's Liberals. They took 29 more seats in the House, and their popular vote grew by over 4%. After serving in the new House for three years as opposition leader, however, MacEachan realized his party's polling numbers were not improving and that it would be highly unlikely he would be able to win government, especially with the rise of the NDP under new leader, Ed Broadbent. He resigned as leader in 1980, and would later go on to be elected Premier of Nova Scotia in 1984. Ontario MP Donald Stovel Macdonald took over as leader.

The NDP had a poor night, losing seats in the West to the PCs and seeing their popular vote decrease.David Lewis resigned as leader and was soon replaced by the young Ed Broadbent. The NDP's polling numbers began to dramatically improve, and by late 1979 they had overtaken the Liberals for second place. 

Social Credit perhaps had the worst night of all. Gilles Caouette, son of former leader Real Caouette, could not even win back his father's seat of Temiscamingue. Meanwhile, the party lost allmost all it's voters and fell back to fourth place in the province. Fabian Roy, MP for Beauce, was the only Socred MP to hold his seat. After Caouette resigned as leader, Roy would become the new head of the party, but signs showed it was to late for a recovery in the party's fortunes. In 1982, Roy crossed the floor to the PCs and became the last Social Credit member of parliament in Canadian history.

The 1977 election also saw relativley strong results for two new parties. In the West, the Nationals, an offshoot of the Social Credit Party, gained many votes from PCs, and came in strong seconds in several Alberta and interior BC ridings. They even took a strong 1.40% of the vote, which amounted to almost 10% of the popular vote in Alberta. Despite this, they were unable to gain any seats, and their leader, former Socred MP Bert Leboe, came in third in his own constituency of Cariboo-Chilcotin, losing to the PC incumbent and an NDP challanger. The party broke apart from infighting in the following years, and would never regain the number of votes they had in 1977, and would formally dissolve in 1984. 

Meanwhile, the separatist premier of Quebec, Rene Levesque, decided to register a federal affiliate for his provincial Parti Quebecois, following a strong showing at the 1976 Quebec provincial election. Pierre-Marc Johnson, a 31 year old provincial assembly member who was often viewd as Levesque's most likely succesor, was chosen to serve as the leader of the federal party. The PQ took just under 20% of the vote in Quebec, and was able to elect 5 MPs. 

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