Parliamentary Chamber: House of Commons


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  House of Commons

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  25 October 1993

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats of the House of Commons on the normal expiry of their term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  The election date was announced on 8 September 1993 by Prime Minister Kim Campbell (Progressive Conservative Party – PCP), one day after Parliament was dissolved.

The 47-day electoral campaign focused on issues directly related to the economy: job creation, the national debt and deficit, and the shape and future of social programs. In contrast to the previous election (November 1988) the issue of international trade received only passing attention. Canadians appear to have been principally concerned with job creation, the issue on which the opposition Liberal Party under its leader Jean Chrétien focused its campaign in light of the country’s unemployment rate of 11.2%. Altogether, the election was contested by 14 registered parties and a total of 2,155 candidates (including 278 women), record numbers in both cases. There was also an unprecedented number of registered voters.

After nine years in office, the Conservatives, led by Ms. Campbell (who had succeeded Mr. Brian Mulroney a Prime Minister in June 1993), had developed a record that had disenchanted many voters. In light of their main opponents’ difficulties, the Liberals had only to conduct a careful, well-managed campaign that spoke to the leading concerns of Canadian voters. The party succeeded in doing this and was rewarded with a 177-seat majority while the Conservatives suffered an enormous defeat, winning only two seats. The New Democratic Party under leader Audrey McLaughlin was reduced to nine seats. Neither the Progressive Conservatives nor the New Democratic Party won enough seats (12) to obtain official party status in the House of Commons.

The real story of this election was the success of two relatively new parties, the Reform Party and the Bloc Québécois (BQ). Led by Mr. Preston Manning, the former campaigned on a platform of fiscal conservatism, restoring integrity to government, and reforms to the electoral and parliamentary systems. These themes helped the party attract 19% of the popular vote and win 52 seats, most of them in the western provinces. In many constituencies where the party did not win, it succeeded in splitting the conservative vote, allowing Liberal victories. Led by Mr. Lucien Bouchard, the BQ’s stated goals were to act as a voice for Quebec’s interests at the federal level and to promote sovereignty for the province. The BQ’s strength was another major factor in the defeat of the Conservative Party, which had won 63 seats in the province during the previous election. The overall polling outcome in fact bore out the widespread public disenchantment with established practice, politicians, and governing institutions in Canada. Of the 295 Commons members, 205 were newcomers to the House.

On 4 November, Mr. Chrétien was sworn in as Prime Minister; he appointed 22 Liberal Ministers to the federal Cabinet the same day.

Round no 1 (25 October 1993): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 19,472,074
Voters 13,575,622 (69.72%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 187,122
Valid votes 13,388,500

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Liberal Party 295 5,597,425 41.23
Bloc Québécois (BQ) 75 1,835,763 13.52
Reform Party 207 2,536,986 18.69
New Democratic Party 294 932,880 6.87
Progressive Conservative Party (PCP) 295 2,177,984 16.04

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Liberal Party 177 +94
Bloc Québécois (BQ) 54 +54
Reform Party 52 +52
New Democratic Party 9 -34
Progressive Conservative Party (PCP) 2 -167

  Plus one independent

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 242
Women: 53

Distribution of seats according to age:  
20-29 years 3
30-39 years 42
40-49 years 105
50-59 years 88
60-69 years 29
Unknown 28

Distribution of seats according to profession:

Professors, teachers and educators 68
Businessmen and women, industrialists, managers, merchants and owners 57
Lawyers, notaries, solicitors and barristers 50
Consultants 25
Farmers and ranchers 22
Politicians at the provincial or municipal level 14
Administrators 13
Journalists 10
Chartered accountants 7
Doctors 7
Economists 6
Engineers 6
Public servants 6
Authors 4
Brokers and insurance agents 4
Members of the clergy 2
Others 19

  Because some members have more than one occupation, total is higher than total membership.

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Copyright © 1993 Inter-Parliamentary Union