1962 Canadian federal election

Last updated
1962 Canadian federal election
Canadian Red Ensign (1957-1965).svg
  1958 June 18, 1962 1963  

265 seats in the House of Commons
133 seats needed for a majority
Turnout79.0% [1] (Decrease2.svg0.4pp)
 First partySecond party
  John G. Diefenbaker.jpg Lester Pearson 1957.jpg
Leader John Diefenbaker Lester B. Pearson
Party Progressive Conservative Liberal
Leader since December 14, 1956 January 16, 1958
Leader's seat Prince Albert Algoma East
Last election208 seats, 53.66%48 seats, 33.40%
Seats before20550
Seats won11699
Seat changeDecrease2.svg89Increase2.svg49
Popular vote2,865,5422,846,589
SwingDecrease2.svg16.35pp Increase2.svg3.57pp

 Third partyFourth party
 SC TommyDouglas-c1971-crop.jpg
Leader Robert N. Thompson Tommy Douglas
Party Social Credit New Democratic
Leader since July 7, 1961 August 3, 1961
Leader's seat Red Deer ran in Regina City (lost)
Last election0 seats, 2.59%8 seats, 9.51%
Seats before9
Seats won3019
Seat changeIncrease2.svg30Increase2.svg10
Popular vote893,4791,044,754
SwingIncrease2.svg9.02pp Increase2.svg4.06pp

Canada 1962 Federal Election.svg

Chambre des Communes 1962.png
The Canadian parliament after the 1962 election

Prime Minister before election

John Diefenbaker
Progressive Conservative

Prime Minister after election

John Diefenbaker
Progressive Conservative

The 1962 Canadian federal election was held on June 18, 1962, to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 25th Parliament of Canada. The governing Progressive Conservative (PC) Party won a plurality of seats in this election, and its majority government was reduced to a minority government.


When the election was called, PC Prime Minister John Diefenbaker had governed for four years with the then-largest majority in the House of Commons in Canadian history.

This election reduced the PCs to a tenuous minority government as a result of economic difficulties such as high unemployment and a slumping Canadian dollar, as well as unpopular decisions such as the cancellation of the Avro Arrow. Despite the Diefenbaker government's difficulties, the Liberal Party, led by Lester B. Pearson, was unable to make up enough ground in the election to defeat the government. For Social Credit, routed from the Commons just four years earlier, this election proved to be their most successful ever—they would never better the 30 seats won; for example, they lost seats in 1963 despite gaining a slightly better share of the vote.

This was the first election in which all adult Canada's Indigenous Peoples had the right to vote after the passage on March 31, 1960 of a repeal of certain sections of the Canada Elections Act. [2]

For the first time ever, the entire land mass of Canada was covered by federal electoral districts (the former Mackenzie River riding was expanded to cover the entire Northwest Territories).

This was also the first general election contested by the New Democratic Party.


During its term of office, the Diefenbaker government had introduced reforms to social programs, a Canadian Bill of Rights, and other changes. The Tories tried to defend the decline in the Canadian dollar by pointing out the benefits to the tourism industry, exports, manufacturing and farming, and employment. They denied that the devaluation affected the price of bread, beef, gasoline and fruit and vegetables, saying that these prices were either set in Canada or were influenced by other factors.

The Liberals campaigned under the slogan, "Take a stand for tomorrow", and attempted to portray the Diefenbaker government as "feeble", with a divided cabinet. The Liberals criticized the PCs for their "reckless mismanagement of finances", the slowdown in the Canadian economy, a lack of confidence in government policies, job losses, and a lower standard of living than in 1956. The Liberals also argued that the steep devaluation in the Canadian dollar was increasing the cost of living for Canadians.

The 1962 election was the first contested by the social democratic New Democratic Party, which had been formed from an alliance between the old Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and the Canadian Labour Congress. The party chose longtime Premier of Saskatchewan Tommy Douglas as its first leader. The new party recovered ground lost by the CCF in the 1958 federal election, when it was nearly wiped out. It won almost 50% more votes than the CCF had ever managed, but it failed to achieve the major breakthrough that had been hoped for when the party was created.

The NDP was shut out in Saskatchewan, its political base, where Douglas failed to win his own seat. Douglas' campaign was hurt by chaos in Saskatchewan brought about by the introduction of Medicare and a resulting strike by the province's doctors. Douglas was forced to enter the House of Commons through a by-election in British Columbia. Despite the initial problems, medicare proved popular, spread throughout the country, and is considered the NDP's (and Douglas') major contribution to the Canadian social fabric.

Social Credit returned to the House of Commons after being shut out in the 1958 election. While leader Robert N. Thompson and three other Socreds were elected in the party's traditional base in western Canada, the party's real success came in Quebec. Réal Caouette led the party's Quebec wing to victory in 26 ridings. Indeed, their win of 30 seats overall represented the party's greatest federal showing ever. They would never again equal, let alone surpass, that number—though the party gained its highest share of the vote in the 1963 election (1962 being its second-highest by a very close margin), it had a net loss of six seats.

The Socreds' success in Quebec was the result of several factors. Diefenbaker's poor French impaired the Tories' ability to communicate their message to francophone voters. In 1958, the PC's had successfully compensated for this handicap by utilizing the powerful electoral machine of the Union Nationale government under Maurice Duplessis. By 1962, Duplessis was dead and the Union Nationale was out of government. Nevertheless, many francophone Quebecers remained hostile to the Liberal Party. French-speaking voters had not yet warmed to the anglophone Pearson, and the controversy surrounding the new Liberal provincial government's radical agenda badly hurt the Liberal brand in rural Quebec. Nevertheless, while the Liberals actually lost significant vote share in Quebec (they scored more than six percentage points less compared to 1958), the split in the centre-right vote meant they still managed a plurality there both in popular vote and seats—the Liberals actually gained ten seats in the province, despite the decline in vote share.

In the end, despite their large losses the Tories' major saving grace was that the Liberals could win only seven seats west of Ontario; this election thereby began a pattern of the Tories dominating the provinces west of Ontario by large margins (with only occasional breakthroughs by the Liberals and NDP) and the Liberals being forced to rely on Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, until the Tories' eventual demise as a party of government three decades later. The Tories were thus able to remain in power with the tacit support of the Socreds, as the two parties held enough seats between them to command a parliamentary majority. However, Diefenbaker declined to negotiate a more formal alliance between the two parties, something that would ultimately prove costly and result in the fall of his government the following year.

National results

1962 Canadian parliament.svg

Voter turn-out was 79.0%. [3]

PartyParty leader# of
SeatsPopular vote
1958 Elected% Change#% pp Change
  Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker 265208116-44.2%2,865,54237.22%-16.35
  Liberal Lester B. Pearson 2634899+106.3%2,846,58936.97%+3.57
Social Credit R.N. Thompson 230-30 893,47911.60%+9.01
  New Democratic Party 1 Tommy Douglas 218819+137.5%1,044,75413.57%+4.06
  Liberal-Labour 111-15,4120.20%+0.04
 Independent Liberal7---10,4060.14%-0.03
Communist 2 Leslie Morris 12---6,3600.08%-0.05
 Independent PC4*-*2,7130.04%*
  Candidat libéral des electeurs 1*-*1,8360.02%*
 Capital familialH-G Grenier1 - 3930.01%-0.01
 Co-operative Builders1*-*261x*
  All Canadian 1*-*189x*
  Ouvrier Indépendant 1*-*152x*
Total 1,016 265 265-7,699,901 100%  
Sources: Canada Open Government [4] [lower-alpha 1]


* Party did not nominate candidates in previous election.

x - less than 0.005% of the popular vote.

1 compared to Co-operative Commonwealth Federation results from previous election.

2 compared to Labor-Progressive Party results from previous election.

Results by province

Party name BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE NL NW YK Total
  Progressive Conservative Seats:6151611351449411-116
 Popular Vote:27.342.850.441.639.229.646.547.351.336.055.047.837.2
  Liberal Seats:4-11433562-6-199
  Social Credit Seats:22---26----  30
 Vote:  11.6
  New Democrats Seats:10--26--1--  19
 Vote:30.98.422.119.717.  13.6
  Liberal-Labour Seats:    1       1
 Vote:    0.6       0.2
 Total Seats 22171714857510124711265
Parties that won no seats:
 Independent LiberalVote: 0.1   0.50.2     0.1
 IndependentVote:xx0.1      0.1
Communist Vote:0.2      0.1
 UnknownVote:    0.1xx 0.1    xx
 Independent PCVote:     0.1      xx
  Candidat libéral des electeurs Vote:     0.1      xx
 Capitale familialeVote:     xx      xx
 Co-operative BuildersVote:    xx       xx
  All Canadian Vote: xx          xx
  Ouvrier Indépendant Vote:     xx      xx

xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote

See also


  1. Results include the general election held June 18, 1967, as well as results from the election in the riding of Stormont on July 16, 1967, delayed due to the death of the Liberal candidate.

Related Research Articles

John Diefenbaker 13th prime minister of Canada from 1957 to 1963

John George Diefenbaker was the 13th prime minister of Canada, serving from 1957 to 1963. He was the only Progressive Conservative party leader between 1930 and 1979 to lead the party to an election victory, doing so three times, although only once with a majority of the seats in the House of Commons.

Tommy Douglas 7th Premier of Saskatchewan (1944–1961)

Thomas Clement Douglas was a Scottish-born Canadian politician who served as seventh premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961 and Leader of the New Democratic Party from 1961 to 1971. A Baptist minister, he was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in 1935 as a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). He left federal politics to become Leader of the Saskatchewan Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and then the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan. His government introduced the continent's first single-payer, universal health care program.

1993 Canadian federal election 35th federal election in Canada

The 1993 Canadian federal election was held on October 25, 1993, to elect members to the House of Commons of Canada of the 35th Parliament of Canada. Considered to be a major political realignment, it was one of the most eventful elections in Canada's history. Two new regionalist parties emerged and the election marked the worst defeat for a governing party at the federal level. In a landslide, the Liberal Party, led by Jean Chrétien, won a majority government.

1988 Canadian federal election 34th Canadian federal election

The 1988 Canadian federal election was held on November 21, 1988, to elect members to the House of Commons of Canada of the 34th Parliament of Canada. It was an election largely fought on a single issue: the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA); the Progressive Conservative Party campaigned in favour of it whereas the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP) campaigned against it.

1984 Canadian federal election 33rd Canadian federal election

The 1984 Canadian federal election was held on September 4, 1984, to elect members to the House of Commons of the 33rd Parliament of Canada.

Hazen Argue Canadian politician

Hazen Robert Argue, was a Canadian politician who served in the House of Commons and the Senate. He was first elected as a Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) Member of Parliament (MP) in 1945 and was the last leader of the party, from 1960 to 1961. He crossed the floor to the Liberal Party in 1962 and was defeated in 1963. In 1966 he was appointed to the Senate. He entered the federal cabinet in 1980, as the only Saskatchewan representative, with responsibilities for the Canadian Wheat Board. He is well known for being a strong proponent of the proposed Canadian annexation of the Turks and Caicos Islands. He was the first senator ever to have been charged with fraud, in 1989. The charges were eventually dropped as he had been suffering from cancer for a year; he died shortly thereafter in 1991.

The Saskatchewan New Democratic Party (NDP) is a social-democratic political party in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It currently forms the official opposition, but has been a dominant force in Saskatchewan politics since the 1940s. The party is the successor to the Saskatchewan section of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), and is affiliated with the federal New Democratic Party.

Social Credit Party of Canada Political party in Canada

The Social Credit Party of Canada, colloquially known as the Socreds, was a populist political party in Canada that promoted social credit theories of monetary reform. It was the federal wing of the Canadian social credit movement.

1957 Canadian federal election 23rd Canadian federal election

The 1957 Canadian federal election was held June 10, 1957, to select the 265 members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 23rd Parliament of Canada. In one of the greatest upsets in Canadian political history, the Progressive Conservative Party, led by John Diefenbaker, brought an end to 22 years of Liberal rule, as the Tories were able to form a minority government despite losing the popular vote to the Liberals.

1968 Canadian federal election 28th Canadian federal election

The 1968 Canadian federal election was held on June 25, 1968, to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 28th Parliament of Canada.

1945 Canadian federal election 20th Canadian federal election

The 1945 Canadian federal election was held June 11, 1945, to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 20th Parliament of Canada. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King's Liberal government was re-elected to its third consecutive government, although this time with a minority government as the Liberals fell five seats short of a majority.

1958 Canadian federal election 24th Canadian federal election

The 1958 Canadian federal election was held to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 24th Parliament of Canada on March 31, 1958, just nine months after the 23rd election. It transformed Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's minority into the largest majority government in Canadian history and the second largest percentage of the popular vote. Although the Tories would surpass their 1958 seat total in the 1984 election, the 1958 result remains unmatched both in terms of percentage of seats (78.5%) and the size of the Government majority over all opposition parties. Voter turnout was 79.4%.

1963 Canadian federal election 26th Canadian federal election

The 1963 Canadian federal election was held on April 8, 1963 to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 26th Parliament of Canada. It resulted in the defeat of the minority Progressive Conservative (Tory) government of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, with the Liberals returning to power for the first time in 6 years, where they would remain for twenty of the next twenty-one years. For the Social Credit Party, despite getting their highest ever share of the vote, the party lost 6 seats compared to its high-water mark in 1962.

Lloyd Cleworth Stinson was a politician in Manitoba, Canada, and the leader of that province's Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) from 1953 to 1959. Although widely regarded as a capable leader, he was unable to achieve a major electoral breakthrough for his party.

1964 Saskatchewan general election Canadian provincial election

The 1964 Saskatchewan general election was held on April 22, 1964, to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.

This is a seat by seat list of candidates in the 2004 Canadian election.

Politics of Saskatchewan

Politics of Saskatchewan relate to the Canadian federal political system, along with the other Canadian provinces. Saskatchewan has a lieutenant-governor, who is the representative of the Crown in right of Saskatchewan; premier, Scott Moe, leading the Cabinet; and a unicameral legislature.

The New Democratic Party is a social democratic federal political party in Canada. The party was founded in 1961 by the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). On the political spectrum, the party sits to the left of the Liberal Party.

This article covers the history of the New Democratic Party of Canada.


  1. Pomfret, R. "Voter Turnout at Federal Elections and Referendums". Elections Canada. Elections Canada. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  2. "Canadian Encyclopedia". March 31, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  3. "ParlInfo Has Moved". www.parl.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  4. Open Government. "History of the Federal Electoral Ridings, 1867-2010". Canada.ca. Retrieved March 4, 2022.

Further reading