1972 Canadian federal election

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1972 Canadian federal election
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg
  1968 October 30, 1972 1974  

264 seats in the House of Commons
133 seats needed for a majority
Turnout76.7% [1] (Increase2.svg1.0pp)
 First partySecond party
  Pierre Trudeau (1975) cropped.jpg Premier Bob Stanfield.jpg
Leader Pierre Trudeau Robert Stanfield
Party Liberal Progressive Conservative
Leader since April 6, 1968 September 9, 1967
Leader's seat Mount Royal Halifax
Last election155 seats, 45.37%72 seats, 31.36%
Seats before14773
Seats won109107
Seat changeDecrease2.svg38Increase2.svg34
Popular vote3,717,8043,388,980
SwingDecrease2.svg6.95pp Increase2.svg3.59pp

 Third partyFourth party
  DavidLewis1944.jpg Real Caouette2.jpg
Leader David Lewis Réal Caouette
Party New Democratic Social Credit
Leader since April 24, 1971 October 9, 1971
Leader's seat York South Témiscamingue
Last election22 seats, 16.96%14 seats, 5.28%1
Seats before2515
Seats won3115
Seat changeIncrease2.svg6Steady2.svg0
Popular vote1,725,719730,759
SwingIncrease2.svg0.87pp Increase2.svg2.27pp

Canada 1972 Federal Election.svg
Popular vote by province, with graphs indicating the number of seats won. As this is an FPTP election, seat totals are not determined by popular vote by province but instead via results by each riding.

Chambre des Communes 1972.png
The Canadian parliament after the 1972 election

Prime Minister before election

Pierre Trudeau

Prime Minister after election

Pierre Trudeau

The 1972 Canadian federal election was held on October 30, 1972, to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 29th Parliament of Canada. It resulted in a slim victory for the governing Liberal Party, which won 109 seats, compared to 107 seats for the opposition Progressive Conservatives. A further 48 seats were won by other parties and independents. On election night, the results appeared to give 109 seats to the Tories, but once the counting had finished the next day, the final results gave the Liberals a minority government and left the New Democratic Party led by David Lewis holding the balance of power. See 29th Canadian parliament for a full list of MPs elected.



The election was the second fought by Liberal leader, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. The Liberals entered the election high in the polls, but the spirit of Trudeaumania had worn off, and a slumping economy hurt his party. The Tories were led by Robert Stanfield, the former premier of Nova Scotia, who had an honest but bumbling image. The Tories tried to capitalize on the public's perception that the Liberals were mismanaging the economy with the slogan, "A Progressive Conservative government will do better."

The Liberals campaigned on the slogan, "The Land is Strong", and television ads illustrating Canada's scenery. The slogan quickly became much derided, and the party had developed few real issues to campaign on. As a result, their entire campaign was viewed as being one of the worst managed in recent decades.

Party platforms

Liberal Party:

Progressive Conservative Party:

New Democratic Party:

Social Credit Party:

National results

The voter turn-out was 76.7%.

One independent candidate was elected: Roch La Salle was re-elected in the Quebec riding of Joliette. La Salle had left the PC caucus to protest the party's failure to recognize what he considered Quebec's right to self-determination, and was the only candidate to win the support of the separatist Parti Québécois .

One candidate with no affiliation was elected: Lucien Lamoureux, in the Ontario riding of Stormont—Dundas—Glengarry. Lamoureux, originally elected as a Liberal, had been serving as Speaker of the House of Commons. He ran without affiliation in order to preserve his impartiality as Speaker. He retired after this Parliament, and did not run again in 1974.

The Liberals won a minority government, with the New Democratic Party, led by David Lewis, holding the balance of power. Requiring NDP support to continue, the Trudeau government would move left politically, including the creation of Petro-Canada.

This was the first of two elections in which Réal Caouette led the national Social Credit Party of Canada. Caouette, who had contested the previous two elections as leader of the breakaway Quebec-based Ralliement créditiste, had successfully taken over the leadership of the original western-based party and overseen the reintegration of the two factions. He successfully held on to the seats he had previously won under the RC banner, but these were the only ridings Social Credit managed to win as it continued to lose support outside Quebec.

1972 Canadian parliament.svg
PartyParty leader# of
SeatsPopular vote
1968 Dissol. Elected% Change#%Change
  Liberal Pierre Trudeau 263155147109-29.7%3,717,80438.42%-6.95pp
  Progressive Conservative Robert Stanfield 2647273107+48.6%3,388,98035.02%+3.59pp
  New Democratic Party David Lewis 252222531+40.9%1,725,71917.83%+0.87pp
Social Credit 1 Real Caouette 164141515+7.1%730,7597.55%+2.27pp
 No affiliation326  1 23,9380.25% 
 Unknown93  - 32,0130.33% 
  Rhinoceros 4 Cornelius I 1----1,5650.02%+0.02pp
Total1,117264264 264 -0.4% 9,677,463 100%  
Sources: Elections Canada;History of Federal Ridings since 1867; Toronto Star, October 30, 1972


"% change" refers to change from previous election

1 Indicates increase from total Social Credit + Ralliement creditiste seats/vote in 1968.

2 Roch LaSalle, who was elected in 1968 as a Progressive Conservative, won re-election as an independent.

3 Lucien Lamoureux who was elected as a Liberal but served as Speaker of the House, won re-election with no party affiliation.

4 The Rhinoceros Party ran a total of 12 candidates, but because it was not recognized by Elections Canada as a registered party, its candidates were listed as independents.

Results by province

Party name BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE NL NT YK Total
  Liberal Seats:4-1236565113--109
 Popular Vote:28.925.025.330.938.248.943.133.940.544.829.332.238.4
  Progressive Conservative Seats:8197840251034-1107
  New Democratic Party Seats:11-5311-----1-31
  Social Credit Seats:-----15----  15
 Vote:  7.6
 IndependentSeats:-----1-  - -1
 Vote:0.2xxxx0.  0.4 3.10.6
 No affiliationSeats:----1- -    1
 Vote:xx0.1xxxx0.50.2 xx    0.2
Total seats:23191313887410114711264
Parties that won no seats:
 UnknownVote: 0.9  0.3
Rhinoceros Vote:     0.1      xx

xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote

See also

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  1. Pomfret, R. "Voter Turnout at Federal Elections and Referendums". Elections Canada. Elections Canada. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
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