Open main menu

1867 Canadian federal election

  (Redirected from Canada general election, 1867)

The Canadian federal election of 1867, held from August 7 to September 20, was the first election for the new nation of Canada. It was held to elect members to the House of Commons of Canada, representing electoral districts in the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec in the 1st Parliament of Canada. The provinces of Manitoba (1870) and British Columbia (1871) were created during the term of the 1st Parliament of Canada and were not part of the Canadian federal election of 1867.

1867 Canadian federal election

August 7–September 20, 1867 1872 →

181 seats in the House of Commons
91 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  JaMAC 140x190.jpg Brown-sm.jpg Joehowe.JPG
Leader John A. Macdonald George Brown (unofficial) Joseph Howe
Party Conservative Liberal Anti-Confederation
Leader's seat Kingston Ontario South (lost) Hants
Seats won 100[2] 62 18
Popular vote 93,412 60,818 21,239
Percentage 34.8% 22.7% 7.9%

Canadian federal election, 1867 Results Map.svg
Popular vote by electoral riding. As this was a FPTP election, seat totals are not determined by popular vote, but instead via results by each riding. Halifax was a two-member riding at the time of the election, while the City of Saint John was represented by its own district and the County of Saint John. The election in Kamouraska, Quebec was delayed due to rioting.

Prime Minister before election

John A. Macdonald

Prime Minister-designate

John A. Macdonald

Sir John A. Macdonald had been sworn in as prime minister by the Governor General, Lord Monck, when the new Canadian nation was founded on 1 July 1867. As leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (concurrently known as the Liberal-Conservative Party until 1873), he led his party in this election and continued as Prime Minister of Canada when the Conservatives won a majority of the seats in the election, including majorities of the seats (and votes) in the new provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

The Liberal Party of Canada won the second largest number of seats overall, including a majority of the seats (and votes) in the province of New Brunswick. The Liberals did not have a party leader in the election. George Brown, who was the leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario, was considered the "elder statesman" of the national party. Brown ran concurrently for seats in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the House of Commons of Canada, and might well have been Prime Minister in the unlikely event that the Liberals prevailed over the Conservatives in the national election. Brown failed to win a seat in either body, and the national Liberals remained officially leaderless until 1873.

The Anti-Confederation Party, led by Joseph Howe, won the third largest number of seats overall, based solely on a majority of seats (and votes) in the province of Nova Scotia. Their main desire was the reversal of the decision to join Confederation, which had become highly unpopular in that province. The goals of the Anti-Confederation Members of Parliament (MPs) were openly supported by five of the Liberal MPs of New Brunswick. The Anti-Confederation MPs sat with the Liberal caucus. When the government in Britain refused to allow Nova Scotia to secede, a majority of the Anti-Confederation MPs (11 of 18) moved to the Conservatives.

Election resultsEdit

The initial seat distribution of the 1st Canadian Parliament


100 62 18
Conservative Liberal Anti-Confederation
Party Party leader # of
Elected Popular vote
# %
  Conservative Sir John A. Macdonald 82 71 63,682 23.73%
  Liberal-Conservative[2] 32 29 29,730 11.08%
  Liberal none (unofficially, George Brown) 66 62 60,818 22.67%
  Anti-Confederation[3] Joseph Howe 20 18 21,239 7.92%
  Independents 1 - 1,756 0.65%
  Independent Liberal 1 - 1,048 0.39%
  Unknown 141 - 90,044 33.56%
Vacant - 1 0
Total 343 180 268,317 100%
Source: Parlinfo: General Election (1867-08-07 - 1867-09-20)


The following MPs were acclaimed:

  • Ontario: 3 Conservative, 3 Liberal-Conservatives, 9 Liberals
  • Quebec: 14 Conservatives, 5 Liberal-Conservatives, 4 Liberals
  • New Brunswick: 1 Conservative, 3 Liberals
  • Nova Scotia: 4 Anti-Confederates


The election in Kamouraska, Quebec, was cancelled due to rioting at the polling places. No member was elected for the riding until a by-election in 1869.[4]

Results by provinceEdit

Party name Ontario Quebec  NB   NS  Total
  Conservative Seats 33 36 1 1 71
  Popular vote 26.2% 28.5%   13.8% 23.2%
  Liberal-Conservative Seats 16 11 2 - 29
  Vote 12.5% 12.3% 11.1% 3.5% 11.1%
  Liberal Seats 33 17 12   62
  Vote 23.7% 25.2% 49.5%   22.7%
  Anti-Confederation Seats       18 18
  Vote       58.2% 7.9%
  Unknown Seats - - - - -
  Vote 35.6% 34.1% 39.3% 24.4% 34.0%
  Independent Seats -       -
  Vote 1.3%       0.7%
  Independent Liberal Seats -       -
  Vote 0.7%       0.4%
Total seats 82 64 15 19 180

Vote and seat summariesEdit

Popular vote
Seat totals

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Voter Turnout at Federal Elections and Referendums". Elections Canada. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b Though Liberal-Conservatives were identifying themselves as such, these MPs (29 MPs) and those identifying as Conservatives (71 MPs) were both led by Sir John A. Macdonald (himself a Liberal-Conservative) and sat together in the House of Commons forming a 100 MPs majority.
  3. ^ Anti-Confederates sat with the Liberal Party in the House of Commons.
  4. ^ Library of Parliament - History of Federal Ridings since 1867: Kamouraska.

External linksEdit