111 seats in the 15th Legislative Assembly of Ontario
56 seats were needed for a majority
The 1919 Ontario general election, held on October 20, 1919, elected 111 Members of the 15th Legislative Assembly of Ontario ("MLAs"). The United Farmers of Ontario captured the most seats but only a minority of the legislature. They joined with 11 Labour MPPs and three others to form a coalition government, ending the 14-year rule of Ontario's Conservatives.  This is one of the few examples of coalition government in Canadian history.
Premier William Howard Hearst had aimed to win a fifth consecutive term for the Conservatives, but instead the party became the first in Ontario history to fall from first to third place.  As newspaperman John Willison later remarked, "There could not have been a worse time for a general election." 
The parties tended to have a targeted approach in fielding their candidates:
It was the first in which women could vote and run for office. [lower-alpha 2] Election day was also held on the same day as the scheduled referendum on prohibition. 
Hearst alienated the business community with his progressive policies; he had a rift with Adam Beck (London) over the direction of the Ontario Hydro-Electric Commission; and his promotion of prohibition alienated the urban "wets". 
Only the Conservatives attempted to field a full slate—and were helped by having four candidates being declared elected by acclamation  —but about two dozen incumbents decided to step aside in favour of the local farmer candidates. 
Seventeen Conservative MLAs either retired from the Legislature, or had failed to be renominated.  Arthur Pratt (Norfolk South) opted to campaign as an Independent-Conservative, claiming earlier in the year that at least 27 MLAs privately opposed Hearst's prohibition policy. 
Beck also decided to stand as an Independent, saying, "I do not object to the Government having a control of the Hydro enterprise, but I object to its becoming a Government department; only as an Independent can I look after the interests of Hydro-Electric Power for the people of the Province in the most efficient manner." 
The Liberals split between those still loyal to former leader Newton Rowell and his successor William Proudfoot (Huron Centre), and those who supported the new leader, Hartley Dewart.  John Campbell Elliott (Middlesex West) (who had come in 3rd in the 1919 leadership contest), joined by five others, decided to drop out of the race. 
They tried to avoid direct contests with UFO candidates,  fielding candidates in only 66 ridings as opposed to the 90 named in the 1914 election. In many respects, however, they underestimated the discontent that was simmering among rural Ontarians, and Dewart focused his attention unnecessarily against the Conservative campaign manager George Howard Ferguson. 
Proudfoot opted to campaign as an Independent. 
The UFO focused on rural areas. Its leader, R.H. Halbert, did not campaign, as he had been elected to the House of Commons of Canada in an earlier by-election.  It had only two incumbent MPPs, Beniah Bowman and John Wesley Widdifield, who had entered the legislature by winning by-elections in Manitoulin and Ontario North.
The labour political movement was fragmented between the Independent Labour Party, the Ontario section of the Canadian Labour Party, and the Ontario Labour Educational Association and its newspaper The Industrial Banner .  The ILP was the effective organization on the campaign trail that year, and it promoted joint action with the UFO. 
Media support in the campaign was mixed. The Globe and The Toronto Star , at that time both Liberal in outlook, were hostile against Dewart because of his stand on temperance issues.  The Toronto World , generally a Conservative backer, pursued a simmering scandal from 1916   concerning International Nickel and alleged provincial support of wartime shipments of the metal to Germany via the cargo submarine Deutschland .   The Farmer's Sun , recently acquired by the UFO, was an enthusiastic promoter of farmer policies. 
|Results by riding - 1919 Ontario general election|
|Sault Ste. Marie||NOR||Con||Lab||4,444||59.11%||1,370||18.22%||75.23%||–||4,444||–||–||–||–||3,074||–||–||–||–||–||7,518|
|Toronto NE - A||TOR||Con||Con||acclaimed|
|Toronto NE - B||TOR||Con||Con||13,495||44.59%||5,323||17.59%||56.95%||–||2,910||–||–||–||5,685||13,495||–||8,172||–||–||–||30,262|
|Toronto NW - A||TOR||Con||Con||18,797||53.93%||2,741||7.86%||—||–||–||–||–||–||16,056||18,797||–||–||–||–||–||34,853|
|Toronto NW - B||TOR||Con||Lib||18,522||50.80%||585||1.60%||—||–||–||–||–||–||18,522||17,937||–||–||–||–||–||36,459|
|Toronto SE - A||TOR||Con||Lib||10,037||38.43%||4,585||17.55%||—||–||–||–||–||–||10,037||5,452||1,063||–||–||–||–||26,119|
|Toronto SE - B||TOR||Con||Lib||10,508||66.92%||5,313||33.84%||—||–||–||–||–||–||10,508||5,195||–||–||–||–||–||15,703|
|Toronto SW - A||TOR||Con||Lib||16,555||63.86%||7,186||27.72%||54.34%||–||–||–||–||–||16,555||9,369||–||–||–||–||–||25,924|
|Toronto SW - B||TOR||Con||Lib||12,428||46.88%||4,800||18.10%||55.57%||–||6,457||–||–||–||12,428||7,628||–||–||–||–||–||26,513|
(* - on recount; ‡ - recount requested but subsequently abandoned)
The result was highly skewed as a result of the way the ridings were drawn up. The Ottawa Journal noted, "The arrangement of electoral districts in Ontario (and throughout Canada) is such that a farmer’s vote has practically twice the effect of the vote of any person resident in cities or large towns. Ottawa, for instance, with 110,000 population elects two members to the Ontario Legislature; Carleton County on one side with 20,000 people elects one member; Russell County on the other side has a population of 40,000 and elects one member." 
The UFO emerged from the vote with the largest bloc of seats, joining the eleven Labour MLAs to form a coalition government. Liberal-UFO MLA David James Taylor of Grey North, "Soldier" MLA Joseph McNamara of Riverdale and Labour-UFO MLA Karl Homuth of Waterloo South were also members of the governing caucus giving Drury's coalition 58 seats in total, a slight majority.
The Ontario Liberal Party, led by Hartley Dewart, increased the size of its caucus by a small number, despite turning over more than half the seats held. The Conservative Party lost ground to all other parties.
The election had several sweeping results: 
Upon hearing the news of the Conservative defeat, Hearst noted:
I will not make any prophecy as to what will take place. I thought the Government was going to sweep the country, and I was not alone in that, for a great many Liberals who were supporting me thought so, too. The Temperance Act no doubt had a great deal to do with my defeat, but I did what I felt was right, and if I had it to do over again, I would do the same thing. 
Three days after the election, James J. Morrison, Secretary of the UFO, reported on the way he had addressed the need to form a working majority in the chamber. He released the following statement:
The members-elect of the United Farmers of Ontario, after due consideration of the matter, have decided that it would be unwise for them to enter into alliance with either of the old Parties as parties. They are prepared to assume the fullest share of responsibility and form a Government in co-operation with such members of other parties as are in sympathy with their platform and principles and are free to give support thereto. In the formation of a Cabinet full consideration will be given to the various interests of the Province. 
Ernest C. Drury agreed to lead the new government as Premier of Ontario,   and a UFO-Labour coalition cabinet was formed.  Although he was Vice-President of the UFO,  Drury had not been a candidate in the election  and had to run in a by-election to enter the legislature following his appointment to the office of Premier.
|Political party||Party leader||MPPs||Votes|
|█ United Farmers||–||66||–||2||44||44||248,274||20.97%||New|
|█ Labour||Walter Rollo||21||1||1||11||10||107,588||9.09%||7.75|
|Liberal-Temperance||–||1||1||–||1||Did not campaign|
|Blank and invalid ballots||50,810|
|Registered voters / turnout||1,443,746||85.53%||21.10|
58 / 111
27 / 111
25 / 111
0 / 111
1 / 111
Italicized names indicate members returned by acclamation. Two-tone colour boxes indicate ridings that turned over from the 1914 election, eg,
Grey North : David James Taylor (F-Lib)
Waterloo North : Nicholas Asmussen (I-Lib)
Waterloo South : Karl Kenneth Homuth (F-Lab)
Toronto Northeast - B: Joseph Elijah Thompson
Toronto Northwest - B: Henry Sloane Cooper
Toronto Southeast - B: James Walter Curry
Toronto Southwest - B: John Carman Ramsden
|█ United Farmers||44||12||9||1|
|█ United Farmers||1||4||38||1|
|█ United Farmers||█ Conservative||42|
|█ Liberal||█ Conservative||29|
|█ Liberal||█ United Farmers||12|
|█ Labour||█ Liberal||6|
|█ Labour||█ Conservative||4|
|█ Labour||█ Independent||3|
|█ Conservative||█ Farmer–Labour||2|
|█ Conservative||█ Independent||1|
|█ Conservative||█ Independent-Conservative||1|
|█ Farmer–Labour||█ Liberal||1|
|█ Farmer-Liberal||█ Conservative||1|
|█ Independent-Liberal||█ Labour||1|
|█ Labour||█ Soldier–Labour||1|
|█ Soldier||█ Labour||1|
|█ United Farmers||█ Independent-Conservative||1|
|█ United Farmers||█ Labour||1|
|Party||1914||Gain from (loss to)||1919|
|█ United Farmers||–||10||34||44|
There were 77 seats that changed allegiance in the election:
(* - open seats, # - byelection gains held, ^ - change of affiliation)
(Riding names in italics did not have Liberal candidates. Riding names in bold did not have Conservative candidates.)
|Seats retained||Incumbents returned||1||8||14||23|
|Open seats held||1||4||5|
|Byelection loss reversed||1||1|
|Seats changing hands||Incumbents defeated||23||9||1||10||2||1||46|
|Open seats gained||19||1||1||1||5||27|
|Byelection gain held||2||2||4|
|Change in affiliation||1||1|
|Conservative||Kingston||Arthur Edward Ross*||Brigadier-General||Acclaimed|
|Leeds||Andrew Wellington Gray||Major||4,351||1st|
|Parkdale||William Herbert Price*||Colonel||11,091||1st|
|Peel||Thomas Laird Kennedy||Colonel||4,562||1st|
|Port Arthur||Donald McDonald Hogarth*||Brigadier-General||2,578||1st|
|Toronto Northeast - B||Joseph Thompson||Captain||13,495||1st|
|Wellington South||Caleb Henry Buckland†||Captain||4,362||1st|
|Liberal||Algoma||Kenneth Spencer Stover||Lieutenant||2,272||1st|
|Hastings West||Edward O'Flynn||Lieutenant-Colonel||4,647||2nd|
|Middlesex East||Bart Robson||Lieutenant-Colonel||2,500||2nd|
|Toronto Northwest - B||Henry Sloane Cooper||Lieutenant-Colonel||18,522||1st|
|Toronto Southwest - B||John Carman Ramsden||Captain||12,428||1st|
|Windsor||James Craig Tolmie †||Major||10,874||1st|
|Soldier||Hamilton East||Maurice Fitzgerald||Captain||2,146||3rd|
|Soldier-Labour||Hamilton East||Samuel Landers||Lieutenant||8,424||2nd|
|Wentworth South||Samuel Wilkinson||664||3rd|
|United Farmers||Grey Centre||Dougall Carmichael||Lieutenant-Colonel||4,363||1st|
|York East||George Little||Captain||7,290||2nd|
|Independent||Kenora||Harold Arthur Clement Machin *‡||Lieutenant-Colonel||895||2nd|
|Independent Conservative||Norfolk South||Arthur Clarence Pratt *‡||Colonel||1,954||2nd|
|Toronto Northeast - B||Kelly Evans ‡||Lieutenant-Colonel||8,172||2nd|
(* - incumbent; † - chaplain; ‡ - Anti-Prohibition)
|Ottawa West||█ Independent||Justenia Sears||2,723||4th|
|Toronto Northeast - B||█ Liberal||Henrietta Bundy||5,685||3rd|
|Conservative||Addington||William David Black|
|Hastings North||John Robert Cooke|
|Kingston||Arthur Edward Ross|
|Toronto Northeast - A||Henry John Cody|
Cooke was the only acclaimed candidate who had not previously been an incumbent. 
The Progressive Party of Canada, formally the National Progressive Party, was a federal-level political party in Canada in the 1920s until 1930. It was linked with the provincial United Farmers parties in several provinces, and it spawned the Progressive Party of Saskatchewan, and the Progressive Party of Manitoba, which formed the government of that province. The Progressive Party was part of the farmers' political movement that included federal and provincial Progressive and United Farmers' parties.
There have been various groups in Canada that have nominated candidates under the label Labour Party or Independent Labour Party, or other variations from the 1870s until the 1960s. These were usually local or provincial groups using the Labour Party or Independent Labour Party name, backed by local labour councils made up of many union locals in a particular city, or individual trade unions. There was an attempt to create a national Canadian Labour Party in the late 1910s and in the 1920s, but these were only partly successful.
The United Farmers of Ontario (UFO) was an agrarian and populist provincial political party in Ontario, Canada. It was the Ontario provincial branch of the United Farmers movement of the early part of the 20th century.
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Ernest Charles Drury was a farmer, politician and writer who served as the eighth premier of Ontario, from 1919 to 1923 as the head of a United Farmers of Ontario–Labour coalition government.
William Proudfoot, was an Ontario politician and barrister.
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