1867 Canadian federal election

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1867 Canadian federal election
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August 7 – September 20, 1867 (1867-08-07 1867-09-20) 1872  

181 seats in the House of Commons
91 seats needed for a majority
Registered361,028 [1]
Turnout74.3% [lower-alpha 1]
 First partySecond partyThird party
George Brown.jpg
LeaderSir John A. Macdonald George Brown (unofficial) Joseph Howe
Party Conservative Liberal Anti-Confederation
Leader's seat Kingston Ran in Ontario South (lost) Hants
Seats won100 [lower-alpha 2] 6218
Popular vote93,41260,81821,239

Canadian federal election, 1867 Results Map.svg
Popular vote by electoral riding. (Because seats are awarded by the popular vote in each riding, the provincial popular vote does not necessarily translate to more seats.)

Prime Minister before election

John A. Macdonald

Prime Minister after election

John A. Macdonald

The 1867 Canadian federal election was held from August 7 to September 20, 1867, and was the first election for the new nation of Canada. It was held to elect members representing electoral districts in the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec to the House of Commons of the 1st Canadian Parliament. The provinces of Manitoba (1870) and British Columbia (1871) were created during the term of the 1st Parliament of Canada and were not part of this election.


Sir John A. Macdonald had been sworn in as prime minister by the Governor General, Lord Monck, when the new Canadian nation was founded on 1 July 1867. As leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (concurrently known as the Liberal-Conservative Party until 1873), he led his party in this election and continued as Prime Minister of Canada when the Conservatives won a majority of the seats in the election, including majorities of the seats (and votes) in the new provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

The Liberal Party of Canada won the second largest number of seats overall, including a majority of the seats (and votes) in the province of New Brunswick. The Liberals did not have a party leader in the election. George Brown, who was the leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario, was considered the "elder statesman" of the national party. Brown ran concurrently for seats in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the House of Commons of Canada, and might well have been Prime Minister in the unlikely event that the Liberals prevailed over the Conservatives in the national election. Brown failed to win a seat in either body, and the national Liberals remained officially leaderless until 1873.

The Anti-Confederation Party, led by Joseph Howe, won the third largest number of seats overall, based solely on a majority of seats (and votes) in the province of Nova Scotia. Their main desire was the reversal of the decision to join Confederation, which had become highly unpopular in that province. The goals of the Anti-Confederation Members of Parliament (MPs) were openly supported by five of the Liberal MPs of New Brunswick. The Anti-Confederation MPs sat with the Liberal caucus. When the government in Britain refused to allow Nova Scotia to secede, a majority of the Anti-Confederation MPs (11 of 18) moved to the Conservatives.

Halifax was a two-member riding at the time of the election, while the City of Saint John was represented by its own district and the County of Saint John. The election in Kamouraska, Quebec was delayed due to rioting.


Summary of results

Conservative 93,412
100 / 181(55%)
Liberal 60,818
62 / 181(34%)
Anti-Confederation 21,239
18 / 181(10%)

Canadian Parliament Layout 1867.svg

Detailed analysis

PartyParty leader# of
ElectedPopular vote
  Conservative Sir John A. Macdonald 827163,68223.73%
  Liberal-Conservative [lower-alpha 2] 322929,73011.08%
  Liberal none (unofficially, George Brown)666260,81822.67%
  Anti-Confederation [lower-alpha 3] Joseph Howe 201821,2397.92%
 Independent Liberal1-1,0480.39%
Vacant - 10
Source: [2]


The following MPs were acclaimed:


The election in Kamouraska, Quebec, was cancelled due to rioting at the polling places. No member was elected for the riding until a by-election in 1869. [3]

Results by province

Party name Ontario Quebec  NB   NS  Total
  Conservative Seats33361171
 Popular vote26.2%28.5% 13.8%23.2%
  Liberal-Conservative Seats16112-29
  Liberal Seats331712 62
 Vote23.7%25.2%49.5% 22.7%
  Anti-Confederation Seats   1818
 Vote   58.2%7.9%
 IndependentSeats-   -
 Vote1.3%   0.7%
 Independent LiberalSeats-   -
 Vote0.7%   0.4%
Total seats82641519180

Vote and seat summaries

Popular vote
Seat totals

See also

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  1. Elections Canada reported a 73.1% voter turnout. [1]
  2. 1 2 Though Liberal-Conservatives were identifying themselves as such, these MPs (29 MPs) and those identifying as Conservatives (71 MPs) were both led by Sir John A. Macdonald (himself a Liberal-Conservative) and sat together in the House of Commons forming a 100 MPs majority.
  3. Anti-Confederates sat with the Liberal Party in the House of Commons.


  1. 1 2 "Voter Turnout at Federal Elections and Referendums". Elections Canada. Archived from the original on 2019-11-10. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  2. "Profile - 1867-08-07". Parlinfo. Archived from the original on 2019-11-10. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  3. Library of Parliament - History of Federal Ridings since 1867: Kamouraska.