Realigning Election - Canada - Party Systems Model - 2004

2004

While Paul Martin's Liberals retains enough seats to continue as the government, it saw the re-emergence of the Conservatives and the resurgence of Bloc Québécois; resulting in a four party system with the ruling party as a minority government. This was the first of three elections where no party managed a majority of seats.

Martin succeeded a retiring Jean Chrétien in 2003 and initially polls predicted that the Liberals could expand their control of Parliament in the next election, as Martin sought inroads in Quebec and Western Canada, while the newly created Conservative Party was besought by controversy over its merger. However, the revelation of the sponsorship scandal, along with party infighting between Chrétien and Martin weakened the Liberals, while the reunited Conservatives became a viable governing alternative, and the rejuvenated Bloc Québécois. At mid-campaign, polls predicted a Conservative lead, but the Liberals regained enough support to win a plurality of seats to remain the governing party.

Several trends would also begin in 2004 which signaled the Liberal party's decline; notably a high turnover of permanent party leaders (in contrast to their predecessors who usually served over two or more elections), and its inability to raise campaign funds competitively once Chrétien banned corporate donations, and it would gradually lose support to the Conservatives, and later to the NDP.

    • Canadian federal election, 2006 – Conservative victory; Stephen Harper Prime Minister
      • The 2004 election paved the way for the results in 2006, which is the first electoral victory of a Canadian conservative party since 1988 and the first conservative government in Canada since November 1993. This ended 13 years of Liberal government, whose minority government from 2004–06 was propped up by the New Democratic Party until they withdrew their support after fallout from the Sponsorship Scandal. As early as 1989, Harper had theorized that a realignment would occur pitting middle class tax payers versus middle class tax recipients.

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