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Canadian federal election, 1930

The Canadian federal election of 1930 was held on July 28, 1930, to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 17th Parliament of Canada. Richard Bedford Bennett's Liberal-Conservative Party won a majority government, defeating the Liberal Party led by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.

Canadian federal election, 1930

← 1926 July 28, 1930 1935 →

245 seats in the 17th Canadian Parliament
123 seats needed for a majority

  First party Second party
  Richard Bedford Bennett.jpg King1926.jpg
Leader R. B. Bennett W. L. Mackenzie King
Party Liberal-Conservative Liberal
Leader since 1927 1919
Leader's seat Calgary West Prince Albert
Last election 91 116
Seats won 135 89
Seat change Increase44 Decrease27
Popular vote 1,863,115 1,716,798
Percentage 47.79% 45.5%
Swing Increase3.08pp Increase1.29pp

  Third party Fourth party
 
Party United Farmers of Alberta Progressive
Last election 11 11
Seats won 9 3
Seat change Decrease2 Decrease8
Popular vote 56,968 70,822
Percentage 1.46% 1.82%
Swing Decrease0.55pp Decrease2.41pp

Canada 1930 Federal Election.svg

Prime Minister before election

William Lyon Mackenzie King
Liberal

Prime Minister-designate

R. B. Bennett
Liberal-Conservative

Contents

BackgroundEdit

The first signs of the Great Depression were clearly evident by the 1930 election, and Liberal-Conservative party leader Richard Bennett campaigned on a platform of aggressive measures in order to combat it.

Part of the reason for Bennett's success lay in the Liberals' own handling of the rising unemployment of 1930. Touting the Liberal formula as the reason for the economic prosperity of the 1920s, for example, left the Liberals carrying much of the responsibility, whether deserved or not, for the consequences of the crash of the American stock market.

 
Liberal election poster in French, showing King forging a chain link.

King was apparently oblivious to the rising unemployment that greeted the 1930s, and continued to laud his government's hand in Canada's prosperity. Demands for aid were met with accusations of being the part of a great "Tory conspiracy," which led King to make his famous "five-cent piece" outburst, alienating a growing number of voters. In retrospect, one can understand King's reasoning. Both the Western mayors and provincial Premiers who had visited King with requests of relief were overwhelmingly Liberal-Conservative: in the Premiers' case, seven out of nine. King concluded in Parliamentary debates that though aid was a provincial jurisdiction, the fact that he believed there to be no unemployment problem meant that the requests from the provinces appeared to be nothing more than political grandstanding. The Federal Liberal-Conservatives had certainly exaggerated the Depression in its early stages solely to attack King's government.

Several other factors entered into King's defeat. Although obtaining funds from sometimes dubious sources was not a problem, the Liberal election machine was not as efficient as it once was, primarily due to the cause of the age and poor health of many chief strategists. King's campaign was the epitome of Murphy's law: every campaign stop appeared to meet the Prime Minister with some kind of mishap.

By contrast, Bennett's Liberal-Conservatives were electric. The self-made man who led them had practically rebuilt his party (a significant part of it with his own funds) and developed an election machine which could rival the Liberals'. Aside from superior party organization, the Tories used it. They bought out newspapers in key areas (notably the Liberal strongholds of the West, and Quebec) and ensured that pro-Tory slants were kept. In the first election where radio played an important role, Bennett's vibrant, zealous voice was extremely preferable to King's. (The Tory machine, of course, ensured that only the best radio spots were available to Bennett.)

Also, Bennett's tariff policy, epitomized by his infamous promise to "blast" Canada's way into world markets, was extremely well received in the key Liberal strongholds of the West and Quebec. In the West, agricultural production had been hurt by worldwide overproduction, and certain agricultural groups in Quebec firmly endorsed Bennett's tariff policy. Bennett's Liberal-Conservatives won much of the former Progressive and Farmers' vote in the West, and they were elected with 44% of the popular vote in Quebec as a protest vote.

All those factors led to Bennett's eventual election.

Canadian voters agreed with Bennett and the Liberal-Conservatives were elected with a majority of 135 seats in the House Of Commons. The incumbent Liberals under William Lyon Mackenzie King became the official opposition after being reduced to 89, with the Progressives taking only 3.

Unfortunately for Bennett and the Liberal-Conservatives, the Depression brought complex problems to politicians and extreme hardship for most Canadians. Bennett and the Liberal-Conservatives lost the 1935 election to the Liberals under the previous Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.

 
The Canadian parliament after the 1930 election

The voter turnout was 73.5%.

National resultsEdit

135 89 9 3 9
Liberal-Conservative Liberal UFA P O
Party Party leader # of
candidates
Seats Popular vote
1926 Elected % Change # % pp Change
  Liberal-Conservative R. B. Bennett 229 91 135 +69.6% 1,863,115 47.79% +3.07
  Liberal W. L. Mackenzie King 226 116 89 -21.1% 1,716,798 44.03% +1.29
United Farmers of Alberta   10 11 9 -18.2% 56,968 1.46% -0.55
Progressive   15 11 3 -72.7% 70,822 1.82% -2.41
Liberal–Progressive   8 8 3 -62.5% 44,822 1.15% -0.94
Labour J.S. Woodsworth 8 4 2 -50.0% 26,548 0.68% -0.95
  Independent 11 2 2 - 21,608 0.55% -0.30
  Progressive-Conservative   2 - 1   15,996 0.41% +0.1
  Independent Labour 2 * 1 * 15,988 0.41% *
  Independent Liberal 8 1 - -100% 14,426 0.37% -0.25
  Farmer   5 * - * 11,999 0.31% *
  Independent Conservative 6 - - - 10,360 0.27% -0.07
  Unknown 2 - - - 7,441 0.19% +0.08
  Liberal-Labour   1 - - - 7,195 0.18% +0.05
Communist Tim Buck 6 * - * 4,557 0.12% *
  Labour-Farmer   2 - - - 3,276 0.08% +0.04
  Liberal-Protectionist   1 * - * 2,723 0.07% *
  Farmer-Labour   1 * - * 2,091 0.05% *
  Independent Progressive 1 * - * 1,294 0.03% *
  Franc Lib   1 * - * 429 0.01% *
  Prohibitionist   1 * - * 266 0.01% *
Total 546 245 245 - 3,898,722 100%  
Sources: http://www.elections.ca -- History of Federal Ridings since 1867

Note:

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

Vote and seat summariesEdit

Popular vote
Liberal-Conservative
47.79%
Liberal
44.03%
Progressive
1.82%
United Farmers
1.46%
Others
4.90%
Seat totals
Liberal-Conservative
55.10%
Liberal
36.33%
United Farmers
3.67%
Progressive
1.22%
Others
3.67%

Results by provinceEdit

Party name BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE YK Total
  Liberal-Conservative Seats: 7 4 7 10 59 24 10 10 3 1 135
  Popular vote (%): 49.3% 35.0% 33.6% 44.1% 53.9% 43.7% 59.3% 52.5% 50.0% 60.3% 47.8%
  Liberal Seats: 5 3 12 1 22 40 1 4 1 - 89
  Vote: 40.9% 30.0% 48.4% 19.6% 42.4% 53.2% 40.7% 47.5% 50.0% 39.7% 44.0%
  UF Alberta Seats:   9                 9
  Vote:   28.4%                 1.5%
  Progressive Seats:   - 2 - 1           3
  Vote:   1.9% 8.1% 6.4% 1.8%           1.8%
  Liberal-Progressive Seats:     - 3             3
  Vote:     2.1% 16.2%             1.2%
  Labour Seats:   -   2 -           2
  Vote:   3.0   8.4 0.1           0.7
  Independent Seats: 1   -   - 1         2
  Vote: 2.6   3.5   0.1 0.3         0.6
  Progressive-Conservative Seats:       1   -         1
  Vote:     2.7   1.0         0.4
  Independent Labour Seats: 1     -             1
  Vote: 6.5     0.1             0.4
Total Seats 14 16 21 17 82 65 11 14 4 1 245
Parties that won no seats:
  Independent Liberal Vote:       0.4   1.3         0.4
  Farmer Vote:     3.6               0.3
  Independent Conservative Vote:       1.2 0.5 0.1          
  Unknown Vote:       0.5           0.2
  Liberal-Labour Vote:         0.5           0.2
Communist Vote: 0.4     0.9 0.1           0.1
  Labour-Farmer Vote :   0.6                 0.1
  Liberal-Protectionist Vote:           0.3         0.1
  Farmer-Labour Vote:     0.6               0.1
  Independent Progressive Vote:           0.1         xx
  Franc Lib Vote: 0.2                   xx
  Prohibitionist Vote: 0.1                   xx
  • xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit