1935 Canadian federal election

Last updated
1935 Canadian federal election
Canadian Red Ensign (1921-1957).svg
  1930 October 14, 1935 1940  

245 seats in the House of Commons
123 seats needed for a majority
Turnout74.2% [1] (Increase2.svg0.7pp)
 First partySecond partyThird party
  Wm Lyon Mackenzie King.jpg Richard Bedford Bennett.jpg W aberhart.jpg
Leader W. L. Mackenzie King R. B. Bennett William Aberhart (unofficial)
Party Liberal Conservative Social Credit
Leader since 1919 1927 1935
Leader's seat Prince Albert Calgary West Did not run [lower-alpha 1]
Last election89137pre-creation
Seats won1733917
Seat changeIncrease2.svg84Decrease2.svg98Increase2.svg17
Popular vote1,967,8391,290,671180,679
SwingIncrease2.svg0.65pp Decrease2.svg18.48pp Increase2.svg4.10pp

 Fourth partyFifth party
  Ac.woodsworth.jpg Henry Herbert Stevens.jpg
Leader J. S. Woodsworth H. H. Stevens
Party Co-operative Commonwealth Reconstruction
Leader since19321935
Leader's seat Winnipeg North Centre Kootenay East
Last electionpre-creationpre-creation
Seats won71
Seat changeIncrease2.svg7Increase2.svg1
Popular vote410,125384,462
SwingIncrease2.svg9.31pp Increase2.svg8.73pp

Canada 1935 Federal Election.svg

Chambre des Communes 1935.png
The Canadian parliament after the 1935 election

Prime Minister before election

R. B. Bennett

Prime Minister after election

William Lyon Mackenzie King

The 1935 Canadian federal election was held on October 14, 1935, to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 18th Parliament of Canada. The Liberal Party of William Lyon Mackenzie King won a majority government, defeating Prime Minister R. B. Bennett's Conservatives. [2]


The central issue was the economy, which was still in the depths of the Great Depression. In office since the 1930 election, Bennett had sought to stimulate the economy during his first few years through a policy of high tariffs and trade within the British Empire. In the last months of his time in office, he reversed his position, copying the popular New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt in the United States. Upset about high unemployment and inaction by the federal government, voters were unwilling to allow the Conservatives to continue to govern, despite their change of policy.

The Conservatives were also suffering severe internal divisions. During his first years in office, Bennett had alienated those in his party who supported intervention in the economy. His last minute conversion to interventionism alienated the rest of the party. Former cabinet minister H.H. Stevens left to form the Reconstruction Party. Senior minister Sir Joseph Flavelle announced he would be supporting the Liberals.

Voters opted for Mackenzie King's promise of mild reforms to restore economic health. The Liberals crushed the Tories, winning 173 seats to the Conservatives' 39, the worst ever performance by the Tories until their collapse in 1993. The Liberal Party would continue to hold power until 1957.

The 1935 election was also important in it saw the final demise of the Progressive Party and the United Farmers of Alberta. Two new movements rose out of the west, however. The new Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, a social democratic party, first competed in this election and won seven seats, promising social reform.

The Social Credit Party of Canada was even more successful, capturing seventeen seats on its platform of monetary reform despite winning less of the popular vote than the former. Fifteen of these seats were in Alberta, where the party dominated after having swept to power in a landslide less than two months before the federal vote. John Horne Blackmore was chosen to lead the Social Credit caucus after the election. The de facto leader of the national movement was Alberta Premier William Aberhart, who did not stand in the federal election himself.

Electoral system

Most of the MPs were elected as the single member for their district, through First past the post. Four MPs were elected in multi-member ridings. These were in Halifax and Queen's (PEI). They were elected through Block Voting.

National results

1935 Canadian parliament English version.svg
PartyParty leader# of
SeatsPopular vote
1930 Elected% Change#% pp Change
  Liberal W. L. Mackenzie King 24590173+92.2%1,967,83944.68%+0.65
  Conservative R. B. Bennett 22813439-70.9%1,290,67129.30%-18.48
Social Credit 46*17*180,6794.10%*
  Co-operative Commonwealth J. S. Woodsworth 121*7*410,1259.31%*
Liberal–Progressive  534+33.3%29,5690.67%-0.48
Reconstruction H.H. Stevens 172*1*384,4628.73%*
 Independent Liberal24-1 54,2391.23%+0.86
  United Farmers of Ontario-Labour  1-1 7,2100.16%+0.16
 Independent Conservative4-1 1,0780.02%-0.24
Communist Tim Buck 12---20,1400.46%+0.34
Labour  52--100%14,4230.33%-0.35
  Progressive-Conservative  21--100%12,2200.28%-0.13
  Verdun  1*-*4,2140.10%*
  Anti-Communist  1*-*3,9610.09%*
 Independent Reconstructionist 1*0*8650.02%*
 Technocrat 1*0*7330.02%*
  Liberal-Labour  3---7080.02%-0.17
  Socialist Party of Canada (WSM)  1*-*2510.01%*
 Independent Labour 1---2210.01%-0.41
  Veteran  1*-*79x*
Sources: http://www.elections.ca -- History of Federal Ridings since 1867


* The party did not nominate candidates in the previous election.

x - less than 0.005% of the popular vote

Results by province

Party name BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE YK Total
  Liberal Seats won by party:61161056599124-173
 Popular Vote (%):31.821.640.831.742.
  Conservative Seats:51112551--39
  Co-operative Commonwealth Seats:3-22--   7
 Vote:32.712.021.319.48.00.6  8.8
  Social Credit Seats:-152-      17
 Vote:0.646.617.82.0      4.1
  Liberal-Progressive Seats:   4     4
 Vote:   10.5     0.7
  Reconstruction Seats:1-------- 1
 Vote: 8.7
 Independent LiberalSeats:   --1--  1
 Vote:  1.2
 IndependentSeats:1  ----   1
 Vote:  0.4
  UFO-Labour Seats:    1     1
 Vote:    0.5     0.2
 Independent ConservativeSeats:    -   11
 Vote:    xx   55.6xx
Total Seats161721178265101241245
Parties that won no seats:
Communist Vote:    0.5
 Farmer-Labour Vote:0.3   0.50.5    0.3
  Progressive-Conservative Vote:   0.5 0.7    0.1
  Verdun Vote:     0.4    0.1
  Anti-Communist Vote:    0.2     0.1
 UnknownVote:    0.x0.x    0.1
 Independent Reconstruction Vote:     0.1    xx
 TechnocratVote: 0.3        xx
  Liberal-Labour Vote:     0.1    xx
Socialist Vote:0.1         xx
 Independent LabourVote:     0.x    xx
  Veteran Vote:     0.x    xx

See also

Further reading


  1. Aberhart was Premier of Alberta, and represented the provincial seat of Okotoks-High River, but was not a candidate in the federal election. John Horne Blackmore acted as Social Credit's parliamentary leader afterwards.

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  1. "Voter Turnout at Federal Elections and Referendums". Elections Canada. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  2. Reid, Escott (1936). "The Canadian Election of 1935—and After". American Political Science Review. 30 (1): 111–121. doi:10.2307/1948012. ISSN   0003-0554.