- Canadian federal election, 1980
election_name = Canadian federal election, 1980
country = Canada
type = parliamentary
ongoing = no
previous_election = Canadian federal election, 1979
previous_year = 1979
previous_mps = 31st Canadian Parliament
next_election = Canadian federal election, 1984
next_year = 1984
next_mps = 33rd Canadian Parliament
seats_for_election = 282 seats in the
32nd Canadian Parliament
February 18, 1980
party1 = Liberal Party of Canada
leaders_seat1 = Mount Royal
last_election1 = 114
seats1 = 147
seat_change1 = +33
popular_vote1 = 4,855,425
percentage1 = 44.34%
swing1 = +4.23%
party2 = Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
leaders_seat2 = Yellowhead
last_election2 = 136
seats2 = 103
seat_change2 = -33
popular_vote2 = 3,552,994
percentage2 = 32.45%
swing2 = -3.44%
party3 = New Democratic Party
leaders_seat3 = Oshawa
last_election3 = 26
seats3 = 32
seat_change3 = +6
popular_vote3 = 2,165,087
percentage3 = 19.77%
swing3 = +1.89%
map_size = 250px
map_caption = Popular vote map showing seat totals by province
title = PM
before_party = Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
after_party = Liberal Party of Canada
The Canadian federal election of 1980 was held on
February 18, 1980to elect members of the Canadian House of Commonsof the 32nd Parliament of Canada. It was called when the minority Progressive Conservative government led by Prime Minister Joe Clarkwas defeated on a motion of no confidence in the Commons.
Clark and his government had been under attack for its perceived inexperience, for example, in its handling of its 1979 election campaign commitment to move Canada's embassy in
Israelfrom Tel Avivto Jerusalem. Clark had maintained uneasy relations with the fourth largest party in the House of Commons, Social Credit. While he needed the six votes that the conservative-populist Quebec-based party had in order to get legislation passed, he was unwilling to agree to the conditions they imposed for their support. Clark had managed to recruit one Social Credit MP, Richard Janelle, to join the PC caucus.
Clark's Minister of Finance,
John Crosbie, introduced an austere government budget in late 1979 that proposed to increase the excise tax on gasoline by 18 cents per Imperial gallon to reduce the federal government's deficit. The five remaining Social Credit MPs demanded that the revenues raised be allocated to Quebec, and decided to abstain from a vote of non-confidence introduced by Bob Raeof the New Democratic Party. In addition, several Conservative MPs were either stuck abroad or too ill to attend the crucial vote, while the Liberals had assembled their entire caucus, even going as far as to bring in several bedridden MPs by ambulance. This resulted in the defeat of the government in the House of Commons, and forced a new election to be called.
Clark's Tories campaigned under the slogan, "Real change deserves a fair chance", but the voters were unwilling to give Clark another chance. The loss of the budget vote just seven months into his mandate and his subsequent defeat in the February 18 general election would eventually cost him the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives.
Former Liberal prime minister
Pierre Trudeauhad announced his resignation as leader of the Liberal Party following its defeat in 1979. However, no leadership convention had been held when the Progressive Conservative government fell. Trudeau quickly rescinded his resignation to lead the party to victory, winning 34 more seats than in the 1979 federal election. This enabled the Liberals to form a majority governmentthat would last until its defeat in the 1984 election.
The abstention by Social Credit on the crucial budget vote (while the Liberals and NDP voted to bring down the government) contributed to the growing perception that the party had become irrelevant following the death of iconic leader
Réal Caouette. The Social Credit Party lost its last five seats in the House of Commons, and rapidly declined into obscurity after this election.
Voter turn-out: 69.3%
Despite winning at least one seat in every province and territory, the Progressive Conservatives lost to the Liberals, who won a majority government. This was mainly because the Liberals won all but one seat in their stronghold of Quebec, and captured the majority of the seats in Ontario, Canada's two most populous provinces. Progressive Conservative Premier
Bill Davis's criticism of the gas tax was brought up by the Trudeau's Liberals and that sapped federal PC support in Ontario. The Liberals were shut out west of Manitoba, highlighted a sharp geographical divide in the country.
xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote.
* Number of parties: 9
** First appearance: "none"
** Final appearance:
** Final appearance before hiatus:
Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada(returned in 1993)
* [http://atlas.gc.ca/site/english/maps/archives/5thedition/peopleandsociety/politicalgeography/mcr4021 Riding map]
* [http://www.histori.ca/prodev/article.do?id=15406 The Elections of 1979 and 1980, by Robert Bothwell]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.