June 3, 1997
The governing liberal party won a slim four-vote majority in Monday's elections. Prime Minister Jean Chretien must now find common ground with four strong opposing political parties. After a background report, Charles Krause leads a discussion on what the election results mean for Canada's future.
CHARLES KRAUSE: Prime Minister Jean Chretien was forced to wait until early this morning to claim victory for his Liberal Party in yesterday’s parliamentary elections. An ardent advocate of Canadian unity, the incumbent prime minister barely won reelection from his own seat in Quebec Province, while his party barely held on to their majority in the House of Commons.
A RealAudio version of of this segment is available.
June 3, 1997
Canada watchers analyze the election results .
May 2, 1996
A report on how the referendum for Quebec separatism has effected the economy of Montreal and the Province's minority population.
April 23, 1996
Lucien Bouchard, the premier of the Quebec Province, discusses the future of a "Free Quebec".
CANOE - Canadian Online Explorer Election Site.
CBC Broadcasting's election results page.
The Globe and Mail Newspaper Canadian Elections site.
A comprehensive list of Canadian election links.
Running against four other parties, the Liberals took 155 of the 301 seats in Canada’s new parliament. In second place, the Reform Party took 60 seats. The separatist Bloc Quebecois, 44; the New Democrats 21; and the Conservative Party 20. An independent candidate was also elected. With 155 seats, the Liberals will have a majority of four, a drop of twenty-two from the number of seats they’ve held since Canada’s last election in 1993. Still, this morning Chretien claimed a national mandate for his party and, faced with continuing strong separatist feeling in French-speaking Quebec, again appealed in his victory speech for national unity.
JEAN CHRETIEN, Prime Minister, Canada: The people of Canada have spoken, and we have listened, and we will continue to listen. I am grateful that we have won seats in all parts of Canada. We will once again form a government elected members in every part of our country, and we will have a national government. (Applause) That is how we will approach our mandate, with a national spirit, a national outlook, and a national vision. I pledge to govern for the whole country in the interest of all Canadians, not just those who voted for my party and in the interests of all regions of Canada, not just those who voted Liberal. And where we did not win votes today, I’m telling you, ladies and gentlemen, that we will work very hard to win their confidence over the coming mandate.
CHARLES KRAUSE: While Chretien promised to work to keep Canada united, the election results provided evidence of strong regional differences that could tear the country apart. The Reform Party, which came in second, won all of its seats in Western Canada. Reform’s leader, Preston Manning, has taken a tough line on dealing with the separatists in Quebec. Today, he said Canada’s divisions, as reflected in the new House of Commons, require new thinking and a new era in Canadian politics.
PRESTON MANNING, Reform Party: Now some will say this new parliament is a house divide. I would say it this way; that with the election of this parliament, I believe Canada has entered into a season of transition--a period in which old ideas and old forces are dying, but it is a period in which new ideas and new forces are being born. This is a season of transition; it is one to be welcomed, rather than one to be feared.
CHARLES KRAUSE: While the liberals were taking Ontario and the Reform Party was strong in the West, the separatist Bloc Quebecois maintained its position as the largest party in predominantly French-speaking Quebec. With 44 of Quebec’s 75 seats, the outcome was 10 seats fewer than the 54 seats the Bloc won in 1993. But last night separatist leader Gilles Duceppe was defiant--critical of Manning and other English-speaking Canadian politicians who’ve said they’ll try to stop another referendum on separation in Quebec.
GILLES DUCEPPE, Bloc Quebecois: All they have been able put forward were plans to stop Quebec from becoming democratically a new sovereign state. But none of those plans will impede Quebeckers from choosing what kind of future they want, be it remaining in Canada or starting a new country. (Applause) It is a decision to be taken by Quebeckers themselves, not by the supreme court of Canada. (Applause)
CHARLES KRAUSE: Meanwhile, the regional voting trend continued in the East and maritime provinces, where the Conservative Party, led by John Charest, won most of its 20 seats. For the Conservatives, it was a comeback from their disastrous showing in 1993--when they won only two seats.
JEAN CHAREST, Progressive Conservative Party: Friends, the last three and a half years have been for the progressive Conservative Party of Canada a long and sometimes difficult journey.
CHARLES KRAUSE: And finally the semi-socialist New Democratic Party, or NDP, won twenty-one seats, up from nine four years ago. The party capitalized on high unemployment and concern over government spending cuts, winning seats all across Canada. It was a point NDP leader Alexa McDonough emphasized in her victory speech last night.
ALEXA MC DONOUGH, New Democratic Party: In case nobody noticed, we are the only opposition party that can say we truly represent Canadians from coast to coast. (Applause)