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235 seats in the House of Commons
118 seats needed for a majority
|Turnout||75.0%  (4.8pp)|
The Canadian parliament after the 1917 election
The 1917 Canadian federal election (sometimes referred to as the khaki election) was held on December 17, 1917, to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 13th Parliament of Canada. Described by historian Michael Bliss as the "most bitter election in Canadian history", it was fought mainly over the issue of conscription (see Conscription Crisis of 1917). The election resulted in Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden's Unionist government elected with a strong majority and the largest percentage of the popular vote for any party in Canadian history.
The previous election had been held in 1911 and was won by Borden's Conservatives. Normally, there is a constitutional requirement that Parliament last no longer than five years, which would have resulted in an election in 1916. However, citing the emergency of the Great War, the Parliament of Canada approved a one-year extension, which was implemented by the British Parliament.  The Borden government hoped that the delay would allow the formation of a "grand coalition" government, encompassing all the parties, such as existed in Britain.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier, head of the Liberal Party of Canada, refused to join the coalition over the issue of conscription, which was strongly opposed in the Liberal heartland of Quebec. Laurier worried that agreeing to Borden's coalition offer would cause that province to abandon the Liberals and perhaps even Canada. Borden proceeded to form a "Unionist" government, and the Liberal Party split over the issue. Many English Canadian Liberal MPs and provincial Liberal parties in English Canada supported the new Unionist government.
To ensure victory for conscription, Borden introduced two laws to skew the voting towards the government. The first, the Wartime Elections Act , disenfranchised conscientious objectors and Canadian citizens if they were born in enemy countries and had arrived after 1902. The law also gave female relatives of servicemen the vote. Thus, the 1917 election was the first federal election in which some women were allowed to vote. The other new law was the Military Voters Act , which allowed soldiers serving abroad to choose which riding their vote would be counted in or to allow the party for which they voted to select the riding in which the vote would be counted. That allowed government officials to guide the strongly pro-conscription soldiers into voting in those ridings where they would be more useful. Servicemen were given a ballot with the simple choice of "Government" or "Opposition". It is calculated that the Unionist government took 14 seats from the Opposition due to its use of Army votes. 
Soon after these measures were passed, Borden convinced a faction of Liberals (using the name Liberal-Unionists) along with Gideon Decker Robertson, who was described as a "Labour" Senator (but was unaffiliated with any Labour Party) to join with them, forming the Unionist government in October 1917. He then dissolved parliament to seek a mandate in the election, which pitted "Government" candidates, running as the Unionist Party, against the anti-conscription faction of the Liberal Party, which ran under the name Laurier Liberals. As well, Independent, Labour and Socialist candidates ran in many ridings across the country. 
The divisive debate ended with the country divided on linguistic lines. The Liberals won 82 seats, 62 in Quebec, with many other seats won in provinces such as Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Ontario in ridings with significant French Canadian populations. The Unionists won 153 seats. The three Unionist won seats in Quebec were all in mainly English-speaking ridings. That led to the Francœur Motion in January 1918.
Out of 235 seats, 33 were won by acclamation—17 to the Laurier Liberals (all in Quebec) and 16 to the Unionists (all outside Quebec). Two of the Unionist acclamations were for the riding of Halifax, where the only candidates were two Unionists, and where, eleven days earlier, the tragic Halifax Explosion had taken place.
The election was conducted mostly using First past the post in single-member ridings but Ottawa and Halifax each had two members and each of the voters there cast up to two votes as per Plurality block voting. 
|Party||Party leader||# of|
|1911||Elected||% Change||#||%||pp Change|
|Government (Unionist)1||Robert Borden||211||132||153||+15.9%||1,070,694||56.93%||+8.38|
|Opposition (Laurier Liberals)1||Wilfrid Laurier||213||85||82||-3.5%||729,756||38.80%||-7.02|
|Sources: http://www.elections.ca -- History of Federal Ridings since 1867 Archived 2008-12-04 at the Wayback Machine|
* Party did not nominate candidates in the previous election.
1 % change for Government compared to Conservative Party (including Liberal-Conservatives) in 1911 election, and for Opposition to Liberal Party.
|Popular Vote (%):||68.4||61.0||74.1||79.7||62.3||24.7||59.4||48.4||49.8||54.3||56.9|
|Parties that won no seats:|
|Independent Liberal||Vote (%):||0.8||0.5||0.4|
Sir Robert Laird Borden was a Canadian lawyer and politician who served as the eighth prime minister of Canada from 1911 to 1920. He is best known for his leadership of Canada during World War I.
Sir Henri Charles Wilfrid Laurier, was a Canadian lawyer, statesman, and politician who served as the seventh prime minister of Canada from 1896 to 1911. The first French Canadian prime minister, his 15-year tenure remains the longest unbroken term of office among Canadian prime ministers and his nearly 45 years of service in the House of Commons is a record for the House. Laurier is best known for his compromises between English and French Canada.
The Conscription Crisis of 1917 was a political and military crisis in Canada during World War I. It was mainly caused by disagreement on whether men should be conscripted to fight in the war, but also brought out many issues regarding relations between French Canadians and English Canadians. Almost all French Canadians opposed conscription; they felt that they had no particular loyalty to either Britain or France. Led by Henri Bourassa, they felt their only loyalty was to Canada. English Canadians supported the war effort as they felt stronger ties to the British Empire. On January 1, 1918, the Unionist government began to enforce the Military Service Act. The Act caused 404,385 men to be liable for military service, from which 385,510 sought exemption.
The 1921 Canadian federal election was held on December 6, 1921, to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 14th Parliament of Canada. The Union government that had governed Canada through the First World War was defeated, and replaced by a Liberal government under the young leader William Lyon Mackenzie King. A new third party, the Progressive Party, won the second most seats in the election.
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The Unionist Party was a centre-right political party in Canada, composed primarily of former members of the Conservative party with some individual Liberal Members of Parliament. It was formed in 1917 by MPs who supported the "Union government" formed by Sir Robert Borden during the First World War, who formed the government through the final years of the war, and was a proponent of conscription. It was opposed by the remaining Liberal MPs, who sat as the official opposition.
Robert James Manion was a Canadian politician who led the Conservative Party of Canada from 1938 to 1940. Prior to his leadership of the party, he served in Prime Minister Arthur Meighen and R.B. Bennett's cabinets.
William Stevens Fielding, was a Canadian Liberal politician, the seventh premier of Nova Scotia (1884–96), and the federal Minister of Finance from 1896 to 1911 and again from 1921 to 1925.
Prior to the 1917 federal election in Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada split into two factions. To differentiate the groups, historians tend to use two retrospective names:
The 1908 Canadian federal election was held on Monday October 26, 1908 to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 11th Parliament of Canada. Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Liberal Party of Canada was re-elected for a fourth consecutive term in government with a majority government. The Liberals lost four seats and a small share of the popular vote.
The 1917 Alberta general election was held on 7 June 1917 to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. The Liberals won a fourth term in office, defeating the Conservative Party of Edward Michener.
Frank Broadstreet Carvell, was a Canadian lawyer, businessman, and politician.
The Military Voters Act was a 1917 Act of the Parliament of Canada. The legislation was passed in 1917 during World War I, giving the right to vote to all Canadian soldiers. The act was significant for swinging the newly enlarged military vote in the Union Party's favour, and in that it gave a large number of Canadian women the right to vote for the first time.
The Dominion Elections Act was a bill passed by the House of Commons of Canada in 1920, under Robert Borden's Unionist government. The Act allowed white women to run for the Parliament of Canada. However, women from most/all minorities, for example, Aboriginals and Asians, were not granted these rights. This bill was passed due in part to the advocacy of Nellie McClung, a women's rights activist from Manitoba.
Arthur Meighen was a Canadian lawyer and politician who served as the ninth prime minister of Canada from 1920 to 1921 and from June to September 1926. He led the Conservative Party from 1920 to 1926 and from 1941 to 1942.
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The 1919 Liberal Party of Canada leadership election was the first leadership convention held by a federal political party in Canada. It was originally called by the Liberal leader, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, as a national policy convention with the intention of reinvigorating the Liberal Party after eight years of being in opposition. The convention was also intended to re-unite the party, which had split as a result of the Conscription Crisis of 1917. The party had divided into Laurier Liberals, who remained in opposition, and a Liberal–Unionist faction which joined the wartime Union government of Sir Robert Borden in support of conscription. Laurier's death on February 17, 1919 resulted in the meeting being reconfigured as a leadership convention. Previous party leaders in Canada had been chosen by the parliamentary caucus or the outgoing leader. However, the Liberal caucus no longer felt that it was representative of Canada's linguistic and religious diversity and that allowing the entire party to select the leader would result in a more representative choice.
This article is the Electoral history of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the seventh Prime Minister of Canada.
This article is the Electoral history of Robert Borden, the eighth Prime Minister of Canada (1911-1920).