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The 2015 Canadian federal election (formally the 42nd Canadian general election), held on October 19, 2015, saw the Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, win 184 seats, allowing it to form a majority government with Trudeau becoming the next prime minister.
The Liberal Party's increase of 148 seats from the previous election was the largest-ever numerical increase by a party in a Canadian election. Prior to the campaign, the Liberals had held only 36 seats--the fewest seats ever held at dissolution by any federal party that won the following election. The Liberals also became the first federal party in Canadian history to win a majority of seats without having been either the governing party or the Official Opposition in the previous parliament, and this was only the second time a party went from having the third-most seats to the most seats (the first being in 1925). It was the second largest number of seats won in a federal election for the Liberals, the best being 191 in 1949. The election also had the highest voter turnout since 1993. Every party represented in the House of Commons except the Liberal Party recorded a decrease in its popular vote share.
Following the election, Harper conceded defeat to Trudeau and resigned as leader of the Conservative Party.Gilles Duceppe resigned as leader of the Bloc Québécois shortly after the election on October 22, 2015. Thomas Mulcair announced his intention to remain leader of the NDP, but was forced to step down in October 2017, after losing a party vote on his leadership in the spring of 2016.
Bob Rae was chosen as interim leader of the Liberal Party. In July 2011 Jack Layton, suffering from cancer, temporarily stepped down as leader of the NDP because of illness, indicating his intention to return for the reconvening of Parliament in September. Weeks later Layton died of cancer and was given a state funeral. In March 2012 Tom Mulcair was elected leader of the New Democratic Party. In April 2013 Justin Trudeau was elected leader of the Liberal Party. Bloc Québécois leader Daniel Paillé stepped down in December 2013 and was eventually replaced in June 2014 by Mario Beaulieu, who in turn was later replaced in June 2015 by Duceppe. In late 2014, MPs Jean-François Larose of the NDP and Jean-François Fortin of the Bloc formed the new political party Strength in Democracy.
As a result of the 2012 federal electoral redistribution, the number of electoral districts was increased to 338, with additional seats based on population assigned to Alberta (6), British Columbia (6), Ontario (15), and Quebec (3).
Translation of French (unofficial)
"Proven leadership for a strong Canada." "Safer Canada/Stronger Economy" "Protect our Economy"
"Un leadership qui a fait ses preuves pour une économie plus forte"
"Leadership that has proven itself for a stronger economy"
Popular vote by province, with graphs indicating the number of seats won within that province or territory. (Because seats are awarded by the popular vote in each riding, the provincial popular vote does not necessarily translate to more seats.)
A polling station on election day
Elections to the 42nd Parliament of Canada - seats won/lost by party, 2011-2015
Traditionally, party leaders participated in at least two nationally televised debates during the federal election - at least one each in English and French. These debates were produced by a consortium of Canada's major television networks. In May 2015, the Conservatives said they would not participate in the consortium debates and instead would take part in as many as five independently staged debates in the run-up to the fall federal election. Ultimately, the Conservatives agreed to participate in a French-language debate organized by the consortium of broadcasters as one of their five debates. The New Democratic Party confirmed that Tom Mulcair would accept every debate where the prime minister was present. The NDP had previously confirmed its intention to participate in both of the consortium debates before Stephen Harper withdrew but ultimately only participated in the French language consortium debate which included the Conservatives. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau attended the Maclean's, Globe and Mail, and French consortium debates; and the Liberals confirmed he would attend the other debates. The Bloc Québécois attended the French language consortium debate and confirmed its attendance at the French-language TVA debate. The Green Party attended the Maclean's and French language consortium debates, and confirmed its intention to participate in the English language consortium debate.Strength in Democracy, which had the same number of seats in the House of Commons at dissolution as the Greens and Bloc Québécois, were not invited to participate in any of the televised debates. The leaders of the party objected to their exclusion and launched a petition demanding that all parties represented in Parliament be invited to the debates. Other minor parties without representation in the House of Commons were not invited to participate in any of the televised debates.
The debate included live translations into French, Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi. Aired live on City stations (English), CPAC (French), and Omni Television stations (all other languages); streamed live at the Maclean's website and all networks' websites, Facebook and YouTube; and on Rogers Media news radio stations.
The first half of the 90-minute debate covered five central themes on the economy: jobs, energy and the environment, infrastructure, housing and taxation. The second half consisted of follow-up questions and questions sent in by voters. Aired live nationwide on CPAC in both official languages with an additional English feed in Ontario on CHCH, streamed live on The Globe and Mail's website, and distributed on YouTube. Uninvited Green Party leader Elizabeth May answered questions on Twitter live during the debate at an event in Victoria, British Columbia.
The debate included live translation into English. Aired live in French on and stations, and participant networks' websites; and in English on CBC News Network, CTV News Channel, and participant networks' websites.
Bilingual debate on Canada's foreign policy hosted as part of the foundation's regular Munk Debates. The debate consisted of six 12-minute segments, with two leaders debating for the first seven minutes and the third leader brought in to the debate for the final five. Aired on CPAC in both official languages with an additional English feed in Ontario on CHCH, streamed live on the Munk Debates website, and distributed on Facebook.
The debate focused on three themes: the economy, national security and Canada's place in the world, and social policies; the format consisted of six rounds of four-minute debate between two leaders, with an open debate section at the end of each theme. Aired live in French on TVA stations, Le Canal Nouvelles, and streamed on the TVA Nouvelles website; Aired with simultaneous interpretation to English on CPAC.
The second Canadian federal election to significantly incorporate social media, the 2015 campaign was notable for the rise of new avenues of scrutiny for potential candidates. A number of damaging revelations for each of the major political parties late in the campaign led to calls for increased vetting amongst political strategists, academics and outside observers.
August 7, 2015: Hochelaga candidate Augustin Ali Kitoko was removed as a candidate after sharing a Facebook photo album from New Democrat leader Thomas Mulcair.
August 21, 2015: Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie candidate Gilles Guibord was no longer a candidate after a number of online comments on Le Journal de Montréal were uncovered, including blaming First Nations for not integrating into European culture, claiming the French, not the Mohawks, have ancestral rights to Quebec, and speaking about man's "authority over women."
August 24, 2015: Ahuntsic-Cartierville candidate Wiliam Moughrabi deleted his Facebook account after violent and sexist posts were discovered.
August 25, 2015: Joliette candidate Soheil Eid apologized after comparing New Democrat leader Thomas Mulcair's statements regarding the Energy East pipeline project to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels by quoting "Mentez mentez, il en restera toujours quelque chose" ("Lie lie and something will always remain").
September 6, 2015: Scarborough--Rouge Park candidate Jerry Bance was dropped from the party after a video from CBC's Marketplace surfaced showing an appliance repairman named Jerry urinating into a mug in a client's kitchen. It was later discovered that it was Bance himself. It became a popular meme on Twitter under the hashtag #peegate.
September 7, 2015: Toronto--Danforth candidate Tim Dutaud was forced to resign his candidacy after it was discovered he was YouTube user UniCaller, who has uploaded videos of himself pretending to orgasm while on the phone with female customer service representatives, and mocking people with mental disabilities.
September 15, 2015: Bonavista--Burin--Trinity candidate Blair Dale was removed from his candidacy after racist and sexist online comments surfaced, including saying that abortion should not be an option for "irresponsible" people.
September 17, 2015: Prime Minister Stephen Harper's use of the appellation "Old Stock Canadians" during a nationally televised debate with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair created a Twitter frenzy and substantial media coverage. Without specifically repeating the phrase, Harper later claimed to be referring to Canadians whose families have been here for "one or more generations."
October 1, 2015: Sackville--Preston--Chezzetcook candidate Robert Strickland was lambasted after Facebook remarks made by Strickland (or a staffer) told a young voter to "gain some experience in life" before engaging in political discussions.
October 1, 2015: St. Catharines incumbent Rick Dykstra was alleged to have purchased six Cîroc vodka bottles for underage girls at a local nightclub and then had his campaign offer bribes in exchange for their silence, a charge Dykstra denied.
October 6, 2015: Mississauga--Malton candidate Jagdish Grewal was dropped from the party after an editorial by Grewal was printed in the Punjabi Post titled "Is it wrong for a homosexual to become a normal person?" in which he defended gay-conversion therapy to return gay youths to their "normal" heterosexuality. He remained on the ballot.
August 10, 2015: Kings--Hants candidate Morgan Wheeldon resigned his candidacy after a Facebook comment surfaced where he is accused of saying Israel intended to "ethnically cleanse the region."
September 8, 2015: Shawn Dearn, Thomas Mulcair's director of communications apologized after tweets came to light criticizing the Catholic Church, including stating that the "misogynist, homophobic, child-molesting Catholic church" is no moral authority, and used an expletive to refer to Pope Benedict XVI after the pope denounced Britain's gay equality rights.
September 20, 2015: NDP Leader Tom Mulcair was forced to apologize for using the term "Newfie" in a derogatory fashion as a synonym for "stupid" during a heated exchange in the Quebec legislature in 1996.
September 21, 2015: Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin, apologized for offensive language, Martin called Green Party candidate Don Woodstock a "son of a bitch" during a candidates debate the previous week. In a Huffington Post article Martin was quoted as saying Liberal candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette is a "political slut" because he had considered running for different political parties before running for the Liberals.
September 22, 2015: Hamilton West--Ancaster--Dundas candidate Alex Johnstone apologized for Facebook comments from seven years prior, where she commented on photos of the Auschwitz concentration camp with "Ahhh, the infamous Pollish [sic], phallic, hydro posts." She claimed to not know that the picture was of the infamous concentration camp.
October 7, 2015: Brampton East candidate Harbaljit Singh Kahlon, who once told a television programme same-sex marriage could lead to polygamy and public nudity, offered an apology and said he no longer held those views.
August 18, 2015: Calgary Nose Hill candidate Ala Buzreba stepped down as candidate after offensive Twitter tweets from several years earlier were uncovered, including "Go blow your brains out you waste of sperm" and "Your mother should have used that coat hanger."
September 30, 2015: Victoria candidate Cheryl Thomas resigned after past social media posts came to light, including referring to mosques as "brainwashing stations" and saying "the oppressed of the Warsaw ghettos and the concentration camps have become the oppressors." As the candidate deadline (September 28) had already passed, her name remained on the ballot.
October 14, 2015: Dan Gagnier, a co-chair of the Liberal Party's national campaign, stepped down from his position after the reveal of an email indicating he had provided advice to TransCanada on how to lobby a potential Liberal government regarding energy issues.
Late August 2015: Mégantic--L'Érable candidate Virginie Provost was embarrassed after a survey asking what she would need in the event of a nuclear attack was revealed. Her answer was that she would bring "her cellphone, a penis and chips."
Evolution of voting intentions during the campaign leading up to the 2015 Canadian federal election to be held on October 19, 2015. Points represent results of individual polls.
Before the campaign, there were no limits to what a political party, candidate, or third party (corporations, unions, special interest groups, etc.) can spend: spending rules are only in force after the writs have been dropped and the campaign has begun. Because the election period is set longer than the standard 37-day election period, spending limits are increased in proportion to the length of the period.
Party spending limits and actual spending, 2015 vs 2011
Reimbursements for political parties and candidates
Political parties receive a reimbursement for 50 per cent of their election expenses during the writ period. Similarly, candidates (through their official agents) receive a reimbursement of 60 per cent of their election expenses during the writ period. Both reimbursements are publicly funded.
Elections Canada reports that during the financial quarter preceding the writ period, the Conservatives received $7.4 million in contributions, the NDP received $4.5 million, and the Liberals received $4.0 million. The NDP had the most individual donors at 48,314, followed by the Conservatives at 45,532 and then the Liberals at 32,789.
The New Democratic Party stated that it collected greater than $9 million in the third quarter of 2015, the most it ever received from donors, and greater than the quarterly record established by the Conservative Party in 2011.
At the riding level, financial reports in each of the 338 constituencies showed that in Conservative electoral district associations ended 2014 with net assets totalling more than $19 million, Liberal riding associations reported a total of about $8 million in net assets, and NDP associations more than $4.4 million.
Individuals are able to give up to $1,500 to each political party and an additional $1,500 to all the registered associations, nomination contestants and candidates of each registered party combined.
Registered third parties
A person or group must register as a third party immediately after incurring election advertising expenses totalling $500 or more. There are strict limits on advertising expenses, and specific limits that can be incurred to promote or oppose the election of one or more candidates in a particular electoral district. There were 112 registered third parties in the 2015 election. There was a $150,000 election advertising expenses limit. Of that amount, no more than $8,788 could be incurred to promote or oppose the election of one or more candidates in a particular electoral district.
Pie chart detailing the percentage of seats won in the House of Commons
China: Foreign Ministry Deputy Director and Spokeswoman Hua Chunying expressed hope on building on existing relations between Canada and China, stating "a sustainable and steady development of China-Canada relations" will benefit both countries.
Germany: German Ambassador to Canada Werner Wnendt said that his government welcomed Trudeau's commitment to restoring a multilateral foreign policy and "the traditional voice that Canada has had at the UN has been missed".
India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Trudeau by telephone where he reminisced about meeting Trudeau's family, expressed hope for further improvement of Canada-India relations, and invited Trudeau to visit India.
Iran: Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told Press TV that the election is a "reflection and result of the will and resolve of the Canadian people to distance themselves from the extremist policies. The Islamic Republic respects the vote and choice of the Canadian people."
^The party totals are theoretical. They are the transposition of the 2011 district results redistributed to the new districts formed in 2015.
^Includes Liberal candidate Cheryl Thomas from Victoria, who publicly withdrew from the election after the final list of candidates was released and thus remained on the ballot as the Liberal candidate.
^Includes Conservative candidate Jagdish Grewal from Mississauga--Malton, who was expelled by the Conservative Party after the final list of candidates was released and thus remained on the ballot as the Conservative candidate.
^ abDoes not include José Núñez-Melo, an incumbent MP who was denied the NDP nomination in Vimy after the writ was dropped, and subsequently announced he was running as a Green candidate.
^Does not include Montcalm MP Manon Perreault, who sat as an independent before the writ was dropped, after which she announced her candidacy for Strength in Democracy.
^"And the only place you can watch it on broadcast TV in Ontario is on CHCH." "Leaders prepping for debate". CHCH. Channel Zero Inc. September 17, 2015. Archived from the original on September 27, 2015. Retrieved 2015.