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GiveLife.ca

    
Pierre Elliott Trudeau:
1919-2000


Trudeau in the Globe: Setback in '79
By JEFFREY SIMPSON
The Globe and Mail

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's 11 years in office ended last night in an election which gave the Conservative Party a minority government and split the nation badly on linguistic lines.

Mr. Trudeau conceded defeat and said he would recommend to the Governor-General that Conservative Leader Joseph Clark be asked to form a government after the Liberal Party was crushed west of Quebec.

In Quebec, the Conservatives won only 2 of 75 seats; in the four western provinces the Liberal Party won only three seats.

Prime Minister-elect Clark immediately reassured Quebeckers that his government would be sensitive to their needs.

"We represent a new team that can bring a new spirit and a new life to our country," Mr. Clark told jubilant supporters gathered in an arena in Spruce Grove, Alta.

In Ottawa, Mr. Trudeau promised to remain as Leader of the Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition, and he urged Liberals not to feel downcast about the result.

"Most important, be of good cheer and don't be sad because the Liberal Party has fought a great fight and will fight many great fights in the future," Mr. Trudeau said.

"I will be a pretty good Leader of the Opposition," Mr. Trudeau said to deafening applause from his supporters. A clause in the Liberal Party constitution requires a leadership review to be held at the party's next convention.

Although recounts are possible in several ridings, the results last night gave the Conservatives 135 seats — seven short of a majority — the Liberals 115, the NDP 26 and the Creditistes 6. Voting was still tight in Vancouver Centre, where Liberal Arthur Phillips was slightly ahead of Tory Pat Carney with a few polls still to come in.

At dissolution, the Liberals had 134 seats, the Conservatives 97, NDP 17, Creditistes 9, Independents 5 and two seats were vacant. Redistribution increased the number of seats to 282 from 264.

If Mr. Clark can win the support of the six Creditistes and persuade a Liberal to become Speaker, he can command a majority in the House of Commons.

Although the Liberals swept 67 of 75 seats in Quebec and won l3 of 32 seats in Atlantic Canada, the party foundered on the anger of the English Canadian provinces west of Quebec.

In Ontario, the Conservatives took most of the swing seats. The party clobbered the Liberals in Southwestern and Central Ontario and in the suburbs of Metropolitan Toronto. In sum, the party won 58 of 95 seats, leaving the Liberals with only 30 and the NDP with 7.

In the four western provinces, the Conservatives won huge majorities, with the NDP being the second party and the Liberals trailing badly everywhere.

All Liberal Cabinet ministers from Quebec were re-elected, but 13 of their English-Canadian colleagues were defeated.

They were Veterans Affairs Minister Daniel MacDonald, Energy Minister Alastair Gillespie, Defence Minister Barnett Danson, Revenue Minister Anthony Abbott, Multiculturalism Minister Norman Cafik, Secretary of State John Roberts, Labor Minister Martin O'Connell, Indian Affairs Minister Hugh Faulkner, Employment and Immigration Minister J. S. G. Cullen, Transport Minister Otto Lang, Industry Minister Jack Horner, Environment Minister Leonard Marchand and Fitness and Amateur Sports Minister Iona Campagnolo.

Ontario held the key to the election and the Conservatives knew the combination last night.

The biggest Tory successes came in the Niagara Peninsula and Hamilton, where the Liberals won only one seat. The Conservatives took all three seats in Kitchener-Cambridge and swept rural ridings throughout the province. The Conservatives also won all four seats in Scarborough, and cleaned out the Liberals in the municipalities west of Toronto.

The Liberals held on only in Northern Ontario, west-central Toronto, Windsor and in the Ottawa Valley. In Ottawa, two important Conservatives — Jean Pigott in Ottawa-Carleton and Robert Rene de Cotret In Ottawa Centre — were defeated. Mrs. Pigott lost to Jean-Luc Pepin, former co-chairman of the Task Force on Canadian Unity and a one-time Trudeau minister and Mr. de Cotret was defeated by John Evans, a civil servant.

The surprise of the evening was probably the strong showing of the New Democratic Party, which held its two seats in Atlantic Canada and actually lost two seats in Ontario. But the party scored major gains in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

The NDP could hold the balance of power in the next Parliament. But that role could also fall on the shoulders of the Creditistes, whose six members might ally themselves with the Conservatives in the Commons.

In recent days, Conservative advisers have been looking at the possibility of bringing Creditistes into the Cabinet, or at least forming an informal alliance with the party.

Creditiste Leader Fabien Roy, however, wants an associate status for Quebec and a much looser form of federalism than Mr. Clark is likely to think acceptable.

Apart from his problems in finding enough Cabinet ministers from Quebec to balance his Cabinet, Mr. Clark will have plenty of ministerial material in English Canada from which to choose.

In Atlantic Canada, prominent Conservatives were all elected: John Crosbie in St. John's West, James McGrath in St. John's East, David MacDonald in Egmont and Elmer MacKay in Central Nova.

In Ontario, Flora MacDonald in Kingston and the Islands, David Crombie in Rosedale and Sinclair Stevens in York-Peel were all elected. Two newcomers — Michael Wilson in Etobicoke and Ronald Atkey in St. Paul's — scored wins over Liberal Cabinet ministers, and both are likely Conservative ministers.

On the Prairies, only one Liberal was elected: Robert Bockstael in St. Boniface. That leaves Mr. Clark with 39 Prairie MPs from which to select Cabinet ministers.

The NDP won nine seats on the Prairies, an increase of five. The Conservatives, as expected, swept all 19 seats in Alberta, including the one held by Mr. Horner, who had bolted the Conservative Party for a seat in the Liberal Cabinet.

And the Conservatives won l8 of 28 seats in British Columbia, with the Liberals leading in one seat and the NDP in nine.

In B.C., prominent Liberals such as former provincial leaders Gordon Gibson and David Anderson were both defeated. Former Vancouver mayor Arthur Phillips was leading slightly in Vancouver Centre.

Heading into British Columbia, the Conservatives thought they could win a majority, but the NDP dashed the Tory hopes in the province. Buoyed by a strong showing in the recent provincial election, the NDP captured eight seats, an increase of six over the 1974 election.

Across the country, the results were as follows: Atlantic Canada: Conservatives 17, Liberals 13, NDP 2; Quebec: Liberals 67, Creditistes 6, Conservatives 2; Ontario: Conservatives 58, Liberals 30, NDP 7; Prairies: Conservatives 39, NDP 9, Liberals 1; British Columbia: Conservatives 19, NDP 8, Liberals 1.

Several of the B.C. ridings were so close that recounts were possible. Those recounts could be crucial in determining if Mr. Clark, combined with Creditiste support, could form a majority government.

In Manitoba, Sidney Spivak defeated Liberal Lloyd Axworthy. Mr. Spivak, a former leader fo the Manitoba Tories, is prime Cabinet material, as is Jack Murta, who won in Lisgar.

All four party leaders - Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Conservative Leader Joseph Clark, NDP Leader Edward Broadbent and Creditiste Leader Fabien Roy - won easily.

Former Conservative Leader John Diefenbaker, who said this was his last election, won in the Saskatchewan riding of Prince Albert.

The Liberals held a seven-point lead in the national popular vote, largely on the basis of the party's overwhelming lead in Quebec. In that province, Mr. Roy's decision to accept the Creditiste leadership did nothing to improve his party's position.

Liberal Cabinet ministers reacted philosphically to the party's defeat in interviews last night. Justice Minister Marc Lalonde, in particular, said he would fight those in Quebec who might interpret the results as a slap in the face to French Canada.

Senator Jean Marchand, who campaigned hard for the Liberal Party in Quebec, said he was sure the Parti Quebecois Government of Rene Levesque would try to use the Conservative victory to its advantage in the coming months to show Quebeckers that their province was isolated in Canada.

In Quebec, the Conservatives had hoped to win at least five seats. Their star candidate, television personality Andre Payette, was defeated in an east-end Montreal riding. The Creditistes, under new leader Fabien Roy, had hoped to retain most of the 11 seats the party won in the l974 election. But internal squabbles during the campaign and general Liberal strength cut the Creditistes to six seats.


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