1911 Canadian federal election

The Canadian federal election of 1911 was held on September 21 to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 12th Parliament of Canada.

The central issue was Liberal support for a proposed treaty with the US to lower tariffs. The Conservatives denounced it because it threatened to weaken ties with Britain and submerge the Canadian economy and Canadian identity into its big neighbour. The Conservatives won, and Robert Borden became prime minister. The idea of a Canadian Navy was also an issue. The election ended 15 years of government by the Liberal Party of Wilfrid Laurier.

Cdn1911
The Canadian parliament after the 1911 election
Canadian federal election, 1911

September 21, 1911

221 seats in the House of Commons
111 seats needed for a majority
  Robert Laird Borden cph.3b31281 The Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier Photo A (HS85-10-16871) - tight crop
Leader Robert Borden Wilfrid Laurier
Party Conservative Liberal
Leader since 1901 1887
Leader's seat Halifax Quebec East
Last election 85 133
Seats won 132 85
Seat change Increase47 Decrease48
Popular vote 632,539 596,871
Percentage 48.56% 45.82%
Swing Increase2.35pp Decrease3.05pp

Canada 1911 Federal Election

Prime Minister before election

Wilfrid Laurier
Liberal

Prime Minister-designate

Robert Borden
Conservative

Navy

The Liberal government was caught up in a debate over the naval arms race between the British Empire and Germany. Laurier attempted a compromise by starting up the Canadian Navy (now the Royal Canadian Navy), but this failed to appease either the French or English Canadians; the former who refused giving any aid, while the latter suggested sending money directly to Britain. After the election, the Conservatives drew up a bill for naval contributions to the British, but it was held up by a lengthy Liberal filibuster before being passed by invoking closure, then it was struck down by the Liberal-controlled Senate.

Ties to Britain

Many English Canadians in British Columbia and the Maritimes felt that Laurier was abandoning Canada's traditional links to their mother country, Great Britain. On the other side, Quebec nationalist Henri Bourassa, having earlier quit the Liberal Party over what he considered the government's pro-British policies, campaigned against Laurier in that province. Ironically, Bourassa's attacks on Laurier in Quebec aided in the election of the Conservatives, who held more staunchly Imperialist policies than the Liberals.

In mid-1910, Laurier had attempted to kill the Naval issue that was settling Anglo-Canadians against French-Canadians by opening talks for a reciprocity treaty with the United States. He believed that an economically favourable treaty would appeal to most Canadians and have the additional benefit of dividing the Conservatives between the western wing of the party, which had long wanted free trade with the United States, and the eastern wing, which were more opposed to Continentalism.[1]

In January 1911, Laurier and President William Howard Taft of the United States announced that they signed an reciprocity agreement, which they decided to pass by concurrent legislation rather than a formal treaty, as would normally been the case.[1] As such, the reciprocity agreement had to be ratified by both houses of the US Congress rather than just the Senate, which Laurier would later regret.

Ties to the US

The base of Liberal support shifted to Western Canada, seeking markets for its agricultural products. It had long been a proponent of free trade with the United States.[1] The protected manufacturing businesses of Central Canada were strongly against it. The Liberals, who by ideology and history were strongly in favour of free trade, decided to make the issue the central plank of their re-election strategy, and they negotiated a free trade agreement in natural products with the United States.

Allen argues that two speeches by American politicians gave the Conservatives the ammunition needed to arouse anti-American, pro-British sentiments, which provided the winning votes. The Speaker of the US House of Representatives was a Democrat, Champ Clark, and he declared, on the floor of the House, "I look forward to the time when the American flag will fly over every square foot of British North America up to the North Pole. The people of Canada are of our blood and language."[2] Clark went on to suggest in his speech that reciprocity agreement was the first step towards the end of Canada, a speech that was greeted with "prolonged applause" according to the Congressional Record.[3] The Washington Post reported, "Evidently, then, the Democrats generally approved of Mr. Clark's annexation sentiments and voted for the reciprocity bill because, among other things, it improves the prospect of annexation."[3]

The Chicago Tribune, in an editorial, condemned Clark and warned that Clark's speech might have fatally damaged the reciprocity agreement in Canada and stated, "He lets his imagination run wild like a Missouri mule on a rampage. Remarks about the absorption of one country by another grate harshly on the ears of the smaller."[3]

A Republican Representative, William M. Bennett, a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, introduced a resolution that asked the Taft administration to begin talks with Britain on how the United States might best annex Canada. Taft rejected the proposal and asked the committee to take a vote on the resolution (which only Bennett voted for), but the Conservatives now had more ammunition.[4] Since Bennett, a strong protectionist, had been an opponent of the reciprocity agreement, the Canadian historian Chantal Allen suggested that Bennett had introduced his resolution deliberately inflame Canadian opinion against the reciprocity agreement.[4] Clark's speech had already provoked massive outrage in Canada. Bennett's resolution was taken by many Canadians as more proof that the Conservatives were right that the reciprocity agreement would result in American annexation of Canada.[4]

The Washington Post noted that the effect of Clark's speech and Bennett's resolution in Canada had "roused the opponents of reciprocity in and out of Parliament to the highest pitch of excitement they have yet reached".[5] The Montreal Daily Star, English Canada's most widely read newspaper and had supported the Liberals and reciprocity, now did a volte-face and turned against the reciprocity agreement. In an editorial, it wrote, "None of us realized the inward meaning of the shrewdly framed offer of the long headed American government when we first saw it. It was as cunning a trap as ever laid. The master bargainers of Washington have not lost their skill."[6]

Contemporary accounts mentioned in the aftermath of Clark's speech that anti-Americanism was at an all-time high in Canada.[6] Many American newspapers advised their readers, if they visited Canada, they should not identify themselves as American, or they could become the objects of abuse and hatred from the Canadians.[6] The New York Times, in a July 1911 report stated that Laurier was "having the fight of his career to carry reciprocity at all".[7] One Conservative MP compared the relationship of Finance Minister William Stevens Fielding and Taft to Samson and Delilah, with Fielding having "succumbed to the Presidential blandishments."[7]

When the reciprocity agreement was submitted by Laurier to the House of Commons for ratification by Parliament, the Conservatives waged a vigorous filibuster against the reciprocity agreement on the floor of the House.[7] Although the Liberals still had two years left in their mandate, they decided to call an election to settle the issue after it aroused controversy and Laurier was unable to break the filibuster.[7]

Borden largely ran on a platform of opposing the reciprocity agreement under the grounds that it would "Americanize" Canada and claimed that there was a secret plan on the part of the Taft administration to annex Canada, with the reciprocity agreement being only the first step.[8] In his first speech given in London, Borden declared, "It is beyond doubt that the leading public men of the United States, its leading press, and the mass of its people believe annexation of the Dominion to be the ultimate, inevitable, and desirable result of this proposition, and for that reason support it."[8]

To support his claims, the Conservatives produced thousands of pamphlets reproducing the speeches of Clark and Bennett, which encouraged a massive burst of anti-Americanism that was sweeping across English Canada in 1911.[8]

One American newspaper wrote that the Conservatives were portraying the Americans as "a corrupt, bragging, boodle-hunting and negro lynching crowd from which Canadian workingmen and the Canadian land of milk and honey must be saved."[8] On 7 September 1911, the Montreal Star published a front-page appeal to all Canadians by the popular British poet Rudyard Kipling, who had been asked by his friend, Max Aitken, to write something for the Conservatives.[9] Kipling wrote in his appeal to Canadians, "It is her own soul that Canada risks today. Once that soul is pawned for any consideration, Canada must inevitably conform to the commercial, legal, financial, social and ethical standards which will be imposed on her by the sheer admitted weight of the United States."[9] Kipling's appeal attracted much media attention in English Canada and was reprinted over the next week, in every English newspaper in Canada.[9]

Results

The campaign went badly for the Liberals, however. The powerful manufacturing interests of Toronto and Montreal switched their allegiance and financing to the Conservatives. The Conservatives argued that free trade would undermine Canadian sovereignty and lead to a slow annexation of Canada by the US. In an editorial after Borden's victory, the Los Angeles Times wrote: "Their ballots have consigned to everlasting flames the bogy of annexation by the United States which Champ Clark called from the deeps. It was not really a wraith of anything that existed on this side of the line. It was a pumpkin scarehead with blazing eyes, a crooked slit for a nose, and a hideous grinning mouth which the fun-loving Champ placed upon a pole along with the Stars and Stripes, the while he carried terror to loyal Canuck hearts by his derisive shout of annexation".[10] The voter turnout was 70.2%.

The election is often compared to the 1988 federal election, which was also fought over free trade. In that later election, the positions of the two parties were reversed, with the Liberals against the Conservatives' trade proposals.

National results

132 85 4
Conservative Liberal O
Party Party leader # of
candidates
Seats Popular vote
1908 Elected Change # % Change
  Conservative 1 Robert Borden 208 82 131 +59.8% 625,697 48.03% +3.08pp
  Liberal-Conservative 2 3 1 -66.7% 6,842 0.53% -0.74pp
  Liberal 2 Wilfrid Laurier 214 133 85 -36.1% 596,871 45.82% -3.05pp
  Independent Conservative 3 - 3   12,499 0.96% +0.50pp
Labour 3 1 1 - 12,101 0.93% +0.04pp
  Unknown 10 - - - 25,857 1.98% +0.83pp
  Independent 12 1 - -100% 10,346 0.79% -0.65pp
Socialist 6 - - - 4,574 0.35% -0.17pp
  Nationalist Conservative 3 2 * - * 4,399 0.34% *
  Nationalist 1 * - * 3,533 0.27% *
Total 461 220 221 +0.5% 1,302,719 100%
Sources: http://www.elections.ca -- History of Federal Ridings since 1867

Notes:

* Party did not nominate candidates in the previous election.

1 One Conservative candidate was acclaimed in Ontario.

2 One Liberal candidate was acclaimed in Ontario, and two Liberals were acclaimed in Quebec.

Vote and seat summaries

Popular vote
Conservative
48.56%
Liberal
45.82%
Others
6.15%
Seat totals
Conservative
59.73%
Liberal
38.46%
Others
1.81%

Results by province

Party name BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE YK Total
  Conservative Seats: 7 1 1 8 71 26 5 9 2 1 131
  Popular vote (%): 58.7 38.5 39.0 51.9 53.5 44.1 43.6 44.5 51.1 60.8 48.0
  Liberal Seats: - 6 9 2 13 36 8 9 2 - 85
  Vote (%): 37.7 53.3 59.4 44.8 41.2 44.6 47.7 55.2 48.9 39.2 45.8
  Independent Conservative Seats:         1 2         3
  Vote (%):         1.5 1.6         1.0
  Labour Seats:         - 1         1
  Vote (%):         0.1 3.6         0.9
  Liberal-Conservative Seats:   -     1           1
  Vote (%):   4.1     0.8           0.5
Total Seats 7 7 10 10 86 65 13 18 4 1 221
Parties that won no seats:
  Unknown Vote (%):   1.0     2.1 2.6 8.7       2.0
  Independent Vote (%):   3.1 1.6 0.3 0.5 1.2   0.3     0.8
Socialist Vote (%): 3.7     3.0 0.2 0.1         0.4
  Nationalist Conservative Vote (%):         0.3 1.0         0.3
  Nationalist Vote (%):           1.1         0.3

See also

References

  • Argyle, Ray. Turning Points: The Campaigns That Changed Canada – 2011 and Before (2011) excerpt and text search, ch 5
  • Brown, Robert Craig. Robert Laird Borden: A Biography (1975), the major scholarly biography
  • Brown, Robert Craig, and Ramsay Cook. Canada: 1896–1921 (1974)
  • Dafoe John W. Clifford Sifton in Relation to His Times. Toronto, 1931.
  • Dafoe John W. Laurier: a Study in Canadian Politics. Toronto, 1922.
  • Dutil, Patrice and David MacKenzie, Canada, 1911: The Decisive Election that Shaped a Country (2011)
  • Ellis, L. Ethan. Reciprocity, 1911: A Study in Canadian-American Relations (1939) online
  • Hopkins J. Castell (Comp.), The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs. Toronto, 1901 – annual
  • Johnston, Richard, and Michael B. Percy. "Reciprocity, Imperial Sentiment, and Party Politics in the 1911 Election", Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Dec., 1980), pp. 711–729 in JSTOR
  • Neatby, H. Blair, Laurier and a Liberal Quebec: A Study in Political Management (1973) online
  • Macquarrie, Heath. "Robert Borden and the Election of 1911". Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, 1959, Vol. 25 Issue 3, pp 271–286 in JSTOR
  • Porritt Edward. Sixty Years of Protection in Canada, 1846–1907: Where Industry Leans on the Politicians. (London, 1908) online
  • Potter, Simon J. "The imperial significance of the Canadian-American reciprocity proposals of 1911". Historical Journal (2004) 47#1 pp. 81–100. abstract
  • Stevens, Paul D. The 1911 General Election: A Study in Canadian Politics (Toronto: Copp Clard, 1970)

Primary sources

  • Borden, Robert. Robert Laird Borden: His Memoirs edited and with an introduction by Henry Borden
  • Harpell, James J., Canadian National Economy: the Cause of High Prices and Their Effect upon the Country. Toronto, 1911.

Notes

  1. ^ a b c "1911 Federal Election in Canada". Mapleleafweb. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  2. ^ Allan, Chantal Bomb Canada: And Other Unkind Remarks in the American Media Athabasca: Athabasca University Press, 2009 p. 17.
  3. ^ a b c Allan, Bomb Canada: And Other Unkind Remarks in the American Media p. 18.
  4. ^ a b c Allan, Chantal Bomb Canada: And Other Unkind Remarks in the American Media Athabsca: Athabasca University Press, 2009 page 18.
  5. ^ Allan, Chantal Bomb Canada: And Other Unkind Remarks in the American Media Athabsca: Athabasca University Press, 2009 pages 18–19.
  6. ^ a b c Allan, Chantal Bomb Canada: And Other Unkind Remarks in the American Media Athabsca: Athabasca University Press, 2009 page 19.
  7. ^ a b c d Allan, Chantal Bomb Canada: And Other Unkind Remarks in the American Media Athabsca: Athabasca University Press, 2009 page 25.
  8. ^ a b c d Allan, Chantal Bomb Canada: And Other Unkind Remarks in the American Media Athabsca: Athabasca University Press, 2009 page 26.
  9. ^ a b c MacKenzie, David & Dutil, Patrice Canada 1911: The Decisive Election that Shaped the Country, Toronto: Dundurn, 2011 page 211.
  10. ^ Allan, Chantal Bomb Canada: And Other Unkind Remarks in the American Media Athabsca: Athabasca University Press, 2009 page 29.

See also

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Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement

Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA), official name as the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the United States of America (French: Accord de libre-échange entre le Canada et les États-Unis D'Amérique), is a trade agreement reached by negotiators for Canada and the United States on October 4, 1987, and signed by the leaders of both countries on January 2, 1988. The agreement phased out a wide range of trade restrictions in stages over a ten-year period, and resulted in a substantial increase in cross-border trade. With the addition of Mexico in 1994 FTA was superseded by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (French: Accord de libre-échange Nord Américain (ALENA), Spanish: Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (TLCAN)).As stated in the agreement, the main purposes of the Canadian-United States Free Trade Agreement were:

Eliminate barriers to trade in goods and services between Canada and the United States

Facilitate conditions of fair competition within the free-trade area established by the Agreement

Significantly liberalize conditions for investment within that free-trade area

Establish effective procedures for the joint administration of the Agreement and the resolution of disputes

Lay the foundation for further bilateral and multilateral cooperation to expand and enhance the benefits of the Agreement

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The trade relationship of the United States with Canada was the second largest in the world after China and the United States. In 2016, the goods and services trade between the two countries totaled $627.8 billion. U.S. exports were $320.1 billion, while imports were $307.6 billion. The United States had a $12.5 billion trade surplus with Canada in 2016. Canada has historically held a trade deficit with the United States in every year since 1985 in net trade of goods, excluding services. The trade relationship between the two countries crosses all industries and is vitally important to both nations' success as each country is one of the largest trade partners of the other.

The trade across Ambassador Bridge, between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan, alone is equal to all trade between the United States and Japan.

David Warnock

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George Grierson

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Grierson was born in Brantford, Canada West (now Ontario), the son of George Grierson and Margaret Edmundson, and was educated in that city and in Winnipeg. Grierson received a teaching certificate and served as principal of the Minnedosa public school from 1887 to 1890 and from 1892 to 1902. In 1892, he married Christina Matheson. He also worked as a financial agent. Grierson served as a town councillor in Minnedosa and was mayor of the city from 1914 to 1915.He ran for the House of Commons of Canada in the 1911 federal election as a candidate of the Liberal Party of Canada in Marquette, but lost to Conservative William James Roche, 3,409 votes to 3,283.Grierson was first elected to the Manitoba legislature in the 1914 provincial election, defeating Conservative candidate William B. Waddell in Minnedosa by 209 votes. This election saw Premier Rodmond Roblin's Conservatives elected to a fifth term in office, and Grierson sat with his party on the opposition benches. He served as Liberal whip in the assembly.Early in 1915, the Conservatives were forced to resign from office in the wake of a serious corruption scandal. The Liberals won a landslide majority government in the election which followed, with Grierson defeating Conservative candidate James Muir by 219 votes. On November 10, 1917, Grierson was appointed to cabinet as Minister of Public Works.The Liberals were reduced to a minority government in the 1920 provincial election, amid the rise of organized Farmer and Labour groups. Grierson was personally re-elected, defeating Farmer candidate W.T. Bielby by 267 votes. He withdrew from cabinet on January 10, 1921, and did not seek re-election in 1922.Grierson died in Minnedosa, Manitoba in 1931.

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John Peebles

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For several years, he sat on the cemetery board. In 1925, he was again elected, this time as alderman for Ward 3. From 1926 to 1929, he sat on the board of control.

In 1930, he was acclaimed as mayor. He subsequently won re-election three times, until he was defeated in 1934 by Herbert Earl Wilton.

Louis-Philippe Normand

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Born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, the son of Télesphore-Eusèbe Normand and Alphonsine Giroux, he received his Doctor of Medicine from Université Laval in 1886. A practicing physician, he was also mayor of Trois-Rivières. In 1911, he ran for the House of Commons of Canada in the Quebec riding of Three Rivers and St. Maurice as the Conservative candidate and was defeated. In September 1921, he was appointed President of the Privy Council in the cabinet of Arthur Meighen. He was defeated in the 1921 federal election which was held in December.

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Michael Clark (Canadian politician)

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Patrick Charles Murphy

Patrick Charles Murphy, M.D., (September 13, 1868 – March 6, 1925) was a Canadian Senator and physician.

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Richard Rigg (Canadian politician)

Richard Arthur Rigg (January 5, 1872-1964) was a Methodist minister and politician in Manitoba, Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1915 to 1917, and is notable as the first member of the Social Democratic Party to serve in that body.Rigg was born in Todmorden, Lancashire, England, and came to Canada in 1903. He was a bookbinder as well as a Methodist minister, and served as a first permanent business agent of the Winnipeg Trades Council. He was initially a member of the Socialist Party of Canada, but broke away from the SPC in 1911 to help form the Social Democratic Party. Along with Jacob Penner and Herman Saltzman, he co-authored the SDP's first manifesto.

Rigg campaigned for the House of Commons of Canada in the 1911 federal election, but finished third in the riding of Winnipeg against Conservative Alexander Haggart.In 1913, Rigg was elected to the Winnipeg City Council for Ward Five in the city's north end. He received considerable support from the city's Jewish community, and in his victory speech pledged to support religious, national and political equality for all members of Canada's working class. Rigg's victory began a tradition of social-democratic representation in Winnipeg's council which has continued to the present day.

Rigg was elected to the Manitoba legislature in the provincial election of 1915, defeating Liberal candidate Solomon Hart Green by 231 votes in the Winnipeg North "B" constituency. Nominated as an SDP candidate, Rigg also received support from the more centrist Labour Representation Committee.

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Rigg resigned from the legislature in 1917 to campaign for the Canadian House of Commons a second time. The SDP had initially nominated John Queen as its candidate in Winnipeg North, but the city's centrist labourites declared that Queen could not win and nominated Rigg in his place. Rigg's nomination was subsequently confirmed by special convention of Winnipeg's working-class organizations. He also received the endorsement of the "Laurier Liberals", who declined to offer a candidate of their own.

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Rigg himself joined the Canadian Army in 1917 and served overseas. In 1919, he drafted a motion supporting the Winnipeg General Strike that was approved by the Great War Veterans' Association. He served as Superintendent of Employment Offices for Western Canada from 1919 to 1922, and as Director of the Employment Service of the Department of Labour in 1922. He retired in 1940.

Richard Stuart Lake

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Ukrainian Social Democratic Party (Canada)

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