The Mail-StarVOLUME 45, NO. 249 - HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA – TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 1993
Liberal majority decimates* Tories
By Jim Sheppard
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Jean Chretien is promising jobs, hope and national unity following his strong election showing Monday that brought Liberals a comfortable majority and the governing Conservatives utter devastation**.
But there are more questions than answers today about what the future holds in the aftermath of a political earthquake which shattered the pillars of a three-party system constant since the NDP was founded 32 years ago:
- How will the liberals create these desperately-needed jobs when the government is strapped by an annual deficit of more than $35 billion?
- How will Chretien restore hope to a public so embittered by the traditional political process that they savaged the old-line Tories and New Democrats and gave their votes to the neophyte Bloc Quebecois and Reform parties?
- How can the new government preserve national unity when one of the two main opposition leaders declared Monday the results clearly show there are actually “two countries in this country” pending Quebec sovereignty?
BLOC QUEBECOIS: 54
NEW DEMOCRATIC: 8
Outgoing Prime Minister Kim Campbell – who lost her own Vancouver Centre seat as the Tories were reduced to a pitiful two seats – promises a smooth transition.
Liberals won 178 of 295 seats. The Bloc Quebecois forms the Official Opposition with 54 seats. Reform has 52, the NDP eight, Tories two and there is one independent in Quebec.
Cabinet possibles include Brian Tobin in Newfoundland; Doug Young in New Brunswick; David Dingwall and Mary Clancy in Nova Scotia; Paul Martin, Andre Ouellet, Marcel Masse and Michel Dupuy in Quebec; Sheila Copps, Art Eggleton, Doug Peters, Roy MacLaren, Herb Gray and Ron Irwin in Ontario; Lloyd Axworthy and Elijah Harper in Manitoba; Ralph Goodale in Saskatchewan; Judy Bethel in Alberta; David Anderson and Hedy Fry in British Columbia; and Ethel Blondin-Andrew in Western Arctic.
Majority for Grits(continued)
Campbell is the first prime minister in nearly 50 years to lose her own seat.
Despite the personal repudiation of Canada’s first female prime minister, women won more seats than ever – 49 when the first count concluded early today. They are likely to be well represented in a Chretien cabinet.
Chretien, the 59-year-old self-styled “little guy from Shawinigan,” said his government’s priority will be job-creation. Nearly 1.6 million Canadians are without work in a lacklustre economy.
“We have to concentrate all our efforts on the economy to create jobs, to have growth, to give dignity to the workers who want to work across this land.”
His broader purpose: “To form a government for all Canadians.”
“Together, we will restore hope,” Chretien told 1,200 wildly cheering supporters after winning his Quebec riding of St-Maurice.
The Conservatives suffered the worst defeat inflicted on a governing party in Canadian history. Only Deputy Prime Minister Jean Charest in Sherbrooke, Que., and Elsie Wayne, the maverick mayor of Saint John, N.B., were elected.
Tories held 154 seats when the election was called.
“Gee, I’m glad I didn’t sell my car,” Campbell joked.
She concedes the overwhelming scale of the defeat but insists Tories will bounce back.*** Other Conservatives could only talk of the catastrophe they had suffered.
“I feel like a turkey invited to a Christmas dinner,” former Tory cabinet minister John Crosbie, who did not run, said before the polls even closed.
Liberals swept into power by winning 98 of 99 seats in Ontario and 31 of 32 in the four Atlantic provinces. They took at least some seats in every province and ended up with 30 more than the 148 needed for a majority.
There will likely be recounts in several seats where the winning margin was narrow – in Edmonton Northwest, for example, Liberal Anne McLellan won by one vote.****
But barring reversal of results, the new leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition will be Bloc Quebecois Leader Lucien Bouchard – whose party demands sovereignty for Quebec.
Bouchard promises to vigorously defend Quebec’s interests but says his party will otherwise be “positive and responsible.”
Preston Manning was equally adamant he and his Reform party will forcefully present the concerns of unhappy westerners.
“A different political era has begun,” Manning said.
He promises to be the fiscal watchdog of the Commons and to hold the “tax-and-spend” Liberals on a tight leash.*****
For Audrey McLaughlin’s New Democrats, Monday was a disaster foreseen. Their failure to win 12 seats means they will be stripped of official party status in the House.
That will cost them – and the Tories – research funds and certain rights in the debates and high-profile daily Question Period.
McLaughlin takes heart from her own win in Yukon and a better showing than the Tories.
“We’ve fought back,” she said. “We’ll do it again.”
(My) editorial notes:
* - Poor word usage, wouldn’t you say? The Tories were really more like centimated.
** - Much better.
*** - They would, but as an animated corpse. (See: Conservative Party of Canada.)
**** - The beginnings of “Landslide Annie!”
***** - There’s nothing new under the sun: The CPC’s attack ads on Ignatieff are evidently cribbed right out of the old Reform party playbook.
See also: Canadian federal election, 1993 – I’ve always had a morbid fascination with it, and it was a joy to transcribe this article. I guess I am technically violating copyright, but these sorts of classic articles should have been let online ages ago. The headline of this article is of course the one I was looking for last fall. (Remember that time? There was an election every other weekend.) A trip to the Archives and Bob’s my uncle.