CANADA
Parliamentary Chamber: House of Commons

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1988

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Chamber:
  House of Commons


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  21 November 1988


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all members of the House of Commons following premature dissolution of this body on 1 October 1988. Previous general elections had taken place in September 1984.


Background and outcome of elections:

  The election date was announced on 1 October 1988 by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (Progressive Conservative Party – PCP).

The electoral campaign was dominated by debate over the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the USA (slated to come into effect on 1 January 1989), as well as fluctuating public opinion as measured by an unprecedented number of opinion polls. The Conservatives also pointed to their positive performance while in power, especially in the economic sector. The campaign turning point was the holding of two televised debates between the leaders of the three major political parties (Prime Minister Mulroney, Mr. John Turner of the Liberal Party and Mr. Edward Broadbent of the New Democratic Party (NPD)). With a strong showing by Mr. Turner, who was anti-free-trade, the debates transformed the election into a hotly contested battle. Altogether, 1,574 candidates and 12 parties contested the enlarged House's 295 seats.

Election day results confirmed the final polls, as the PCP won a majority of Commons seats but lost in both popular vote and seats as compared to the 1984 outcome. The PCP was, moreover, favoured by the one-ballot simple majority system since the two opposition parties together won only 126 seats despite obtaining 52.29% of the vote. The gains of the Liberal Party confirmed its status as the official opposition.

The re-election of the PCP was noteworthy in that it marked the first time since 1953 that a political party at the federal level had won two consecutive majorities. On 30 January 1989, a new Cabinet was announced.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (21 November 1988): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 17,580,731
Voters 13,278,971 (75.5%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 105,472
Valid votes 13,173,499

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Progressive Conservative Party (PCP) 295 5,666,492 43.01
Liberal Party 294 4,203,767 31.91
New Democratic Party (NPD) 295 2,685,377 20.38
Reform Party 72 275,483 2.09
Christian Heritage Party 63 102,568 0.78
Rhinoceros Party 74 52,223 0.40
Green Party 68 47,401 0.36
Confederation of Regions Western Party 51 41,497 0.32
Libertarian Party 88 33,118 0.25
Party for the Commonwealth of Canada 59 7,483 0.06
Communist Party 52 7,183 0.05
Social Credit Party 9 3,407 0.03
Independents 54 22,876 0.17
No party affiliation 100 24,624 0.19

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Progressive Conservative Party (PCP) 169 -42
Liberal Party 83 +40
New Democratic Party (NPD) 43 +13
Reform Party 0 =
Christian Heritage Party 0 =
Rhinoceros Party 0 =
Green Party 0 =
Confederation of Regions Western Party 0 =
Libertarian Party 0 =
Party for the Commonwealth of Canada 0 =
Communist Party 0 =
Social Credit Party 0 =
Independents 0 -1
No party affiliation 0 =

Comments:
  13 seats added since last elections.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 255
Women: 39

Comments:
  Plus one vacancy.

Distribution of seats according to age*:  
20-29 years 1
30-39 years 51
40-49 years 106
50-59 years 105
60-69 years 20
70-79 years 1
Unknown 10


Distribution of seats according to profession**:

 
Businessmen and women, industrialists, managers, merchants and owners 63
Lawyers, notaries, solicitors and barristers 57
Professors, teachers and educators 45
Administrators 24
Farmers and ranchers 15
Journalists and broadcasters 15
Civil servants 8
Doctors, dentists, pharmacists and chiropractors 8
Accountants 6
Consultants 5
Political scientists, economists, sociologists, social workers, geographers 5
Engineers 4
Mayor and municipal councilors 4
Real estate representatives and brokers 4
Veterinarians 4
Brokers and insurance agents 3
Financial analysts 3
Members of the clergy 3
Others 30

Comments:
  * Plus one vacancy.
** Because some members have more than one occupation, total is higher than total membership.


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Copyright 1988 Inter-Parliamentary Union