Canada History

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Prehistory | 2 Worlds Meet | New France | England Arrives | Clash of Empires | Revolution | British America | Reform/Revolt | Responsible Government | Confederation | Nation Building | Laurier | The Great War | Roaring 20's | Great Depression | WWII | The Peace | Cold War | Trudeau | PC's in Power | Modern Canada

3 Wisemen | Trudeaumania | October Crisis | Bilingualism | Petro Canada | 72 Super Series | Wage & Price Controls | 1976 Olympics | PQ Comes to Power | Interlude | Western Alienation | 1980 Referendum | The Constitution | Changing of the Guard

By the late 1970's Canadians had become despondent about the national direction. World events had been demoralizing, Trudeau seemed bored and tired and Canada was facing mounting problems.

The Conservatives had changed their leader as Robert Stanfield, the well respected but unsuccessful candidate for Prime Minister, stepped aside. The man who promised to lead the Conservatives to the promised land was a young assured personality from High River Alberta.

The last election, which had been held in July of 1974 was almost 5 years old and Canadian Parliamentary tradition required that an election be called no later than 5 years after the previous one. The Liberals had run out of time. The budget deficits were sky rocketing, inflation was still not under control and unemployment was a worry for many Canadians. The issues were all against Trudeau and the Liberals.

The Conservatives stressed the economic issues and promised that they had a plan to get the country going again. Their argument that the Liberals had failed to manage the countries finances properly and that they could do a better job found traction in many parts of Canada.

The Liberals tried to present the election in terms of leadership with Trudeau clearly ahead on that issue, but the electorate, even though it saw a stronger leader in Trudeau then Clark, had tired of Trudeau's leadership style and the gun slinger attraction had worn off.

Quebec was going through tremendous changes and a realignment of politic forces. The Social Credit were moving towards the separatists camp and although gaining from PQ support, lost support in much of it's traditional base and lost seats in the election. The result was a Conservative win and a new Prime Minister.

Clark launches his government with John Crosbie as his Minister of Finance and change is in the air. Pierre
decides that he has had enough and has no taste fro sitting as the leader of the opposition and announces that he will step down as leader of the Liberal Party.


Elected Members Previous Election (1974)
1979 (May 22) - Turnout: 75.7 %
Progressive Conservative  136 98
Liberal  114 133
New Democratic Party  26 17
Social Credit  6 9
Other    5
Total 282 262

The Conservatives, long out of power take from May until October before Parliament is called into session. Clarks agenda included a Freedom of Information Law which would allow Canadians the right to petition for Government records and information, a tax on gasoline, an absence of policy concerning Quebec and tax credits for mortgages and property taxes.

The Conservatives believed that their no nonsense, belt tightening budget held the pulse of the country and that without a leader the Liberals would not dare to bring down the government. On December 12th the Liberals and the NDP had both vowed to vote against the budget and behind the scenes Jim Coutts, Trudeau's faithful  supporter saw an opportunity to resurrect Trudeau's leadership and get him back into the prime Minister's office. He pushed the Liberal caucus to remain firm on the vote and on December 13th, the Conservatives believing that they would perhaps even win a majority if another election was held, refused t back down. They were defeated and the country once again prepared to go to the polls.

The Canadian electorate had not liked its taste of Conservative rule, and the PQ had finally set a date for it's referendum on separation. Canada once again turned it's eyes back to Trudeau as the man best able to stop Leveque and the breaking up of Canada.

The Liberals won a majority and were returned to power. Quebec votes against Sovereignty Association and Trudeau, reinvigorated set out to repatriate the constitution from Great Britain as his last great objective as Prime Minister.