CBC Digital Archives

Politics: Provincial & Territorial Politics

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of Clips
Project Name
Brief Description
Creation of Nunavut
On April 1, 1999, the new territory of Nunavut was born, finally making the controversial dream of the Northwest Territories' Inuit a reality. It meant the Inuit gained self-rule and control over their own institutions. This was the result of years of lobbying Ottawa and numerous plebiscites overwhelmingly in favour of self-determination. But along with the territory come the challenges: combating suicide, reversing assimilation and regaining a sense of identity.
Electing Dynasties: Alberta Campaigns Since 1935
Albertans don't elect parties so much as anoint political dynasties. And the governments — led by some of the most colourful, popular and durable premiers in Canadian history — have tended to rule for decades. CBC Archives looks back at pivotal election campaigns in Canada's bastion of conservative populism; the glory and the gaffes, the landslides and the losers, the radio preachers and the man they just call Ralph.
Friendly Rivalries: Manitoba Elections Since 1966
From Tory blue to NDP orange and back again, with scarcely a red Liberal in sight – that's been the alternating pattern in Manitoba elections since the 1950s. Manitobans seem to prefer stability in their governments but punish a government when it overstays its welcome. Both parties have gotten the boot for stoking the public's ire: the NDP for boosting auto insurance rates in 1988 and the Tories in 1999 for a vote-rigging scheme. From Hudson Bay to the Red River, CBC Archives goes to the polls.
Has Confederation Been Good for Newfoundland?
Joey Smallwood said it was the narrowest of escapes. Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949 by a referendum result of 52 to 48 per cent. Smallwood, a small but tough man with horn-rimmed glasses, fought stellar orator and anti-Confederate Peter Cashin. Many benefits came with joining Canada; a university, better highways. But average income still hovers near the poverty line. Today, a commission investigates whether Canada broke its 1949 funding promise.
How The East Was Won: Nova Scotia Elections Since 1949
For generations, Nova Scotia's politics were a largely predictable affair that saw the Liberal Party serve in virtual dynasties that lasted in excess of 40 years. That all changed in the 1950s, when voters' loyalties to the "party of their parents" ended and the Progressive Conservatives began to emerge as a viable alternative. CBC Archives takes a look back at the decades long tug of war between the Liberals and Conservatives in "Canada's Ocean Playground."
How the West is Won: B.C. Elections, 1952-2005
British Columbia has a proud tradition of bare-knuckle, drag-'em-out election campaigns. No other province can match B.C.'s flamboyant leaders, its salacious scandals and the trench warfare between free-enterprisers and socialists. Many of the hard-fought victories ended in resignation. CBC Archives takes a look back at campaign highlights going back as early as 1952.
Maurice Duplessis
Maurice Duplessis's death was a rare historical marker, forever discussed in terms of before and after. Before his death, the province basked in the postwar boom but strikers were punished, communists were hounded and the province's resources were sold to American big business. After his death, the province rallied its way into modernity with the not so Quiet Revolution. But over the past fifty years, historians and Quebecers have been constantly re-evaluating Duplessis and have drawn no certain conclusions.
N.B. Elections: Colourful Characters, Pivotal Points
Power doesn't change hands often in New Brunswick, but when it does, it's usually eventful. In 1960, Louis Robichaud became the province's first elected Acadian premier. Ten years later, Tory Richard (Disco Dick) Hatfield began his remarkable 17-year run, but it ended in scandal. Frank McKenna's Liberals then made an extraordinary clean sweep, winning all 58 seats. And in 1999, PC Bernard Lord made history when he became premier at the young age of 33, but he was edged out by fresh-faced PC Shawn Graham in 2006 after two terms in office. CBC Archives explores the key turning points in New Brunswick election history since 1960.
Newfoundland and Labrador Elections
"Governing Newfoundland is a form of licensed insanity," CBC's Rex Murphy once said. Premiers don't really govern, "they measure their stamina against the intractabilities of history, geography and the unemployment stats." Canada's newest province has only had a handful of leaders since joining Confederation in 1949. From firebrands like Joey Smallwood to measured – some say dull – diplomats like Roger Grimes, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have chosen their premiers not by party but by personality and promises.
Northwest Territories: Voting in Canada's North
The political process of Canada's Northwest Territories is as unique as its landscape. There are no political parties. Instead, candidates are elected by the community based largely on family ties and personality. The N.W.T. has seen dramatic changes from its days of "benign neglect" before 1950 to the evolution of its current consensus-style of government. Deeply rooted in native tradition, the Northwest Territories' distinct form of government has been described as the most interesting parliamentary system in the world.
On the Nunavut Campaign Trail
No balloons or painted campaign buses, and barely any door-to-door soliciting. Unlike the noisy campaigns to the south, the first election in Nunavut was informal and low-key. Residents in small communities already knew the candidates running — and their families. When people went to the polls in 1999, they did it on their own terms, electing a consensus government and making special provisions for voting in a vast territory. They were looking for candidates to tackle the region's toughest obstacles: poor access to health care and high suicide and unemployment rates.
Ontario Elections: 25 Tumultuous Years
The Ontario Legislature used to be called "the dullest chamber in all of Canada." For 42 years, the Progressive Conservatives and their "Big Blue Machine" ruled the province. But 1985 ushered the PCs out and an age of turbulence in with a Liberal-NDP coalition. In the next three elections, voters handed majorities to all three parties: a sweep for the Liberals, a stunning NDP victory and a sharp right turn with Mike Harris's Common Sense Revolution. Dalton McGuinty's Liberals swept the 2003 and 2007 elections and won a third time with a minority in 2011.
P.E.I. Elections: Liberal Landslides and Tory Tides
If the province of P.E.I. had a campaign slogan it would be of the "go big or go home" genre. From Liberal landslides to Tory sweeps, P.E.I. elections have been showy and dramatic changings of the guard. But despite the spectacular overthrows, campaigns have been conducted as a sport of etiquette. CBC has covered the continuing electoral spectacle as Islanders waffled between the Liberal and Tory tides, confronted issues of party patronage, and elected the first woman and non-European premiers in Canada.
Provincial & Territorial Politics General
Quebec Elections, 1960-2007
Quebec elections are never dull because they are full of colourful characters, intrigue and more than a few surprises. Whether it's the Liberals ushering in the Quiet Revolution with their 1960 win, or the emotional 1976 election of René Lévesque and his separatist Parti Québécois, the voting habits of our belle province guarantee to fascinate.
Robert Bourassa: Political Survivor
Robert Bourassa made history in 1970 by becoming the youngest premier of Quebec, only to suffer a humiliating defeat to René Lévesque and his Parti Québécois in 1976. Bourassa, suddenly the "most hated man in Quebec," took refuge abroad. His strong commitment to Canadian unity brought him back to fight for the "No" side in the 1980 referendum. Then, in 1983 Bourassa made a stunning comeback and reclaimed the Liberal leadership to become premier again. Some said he epitomized passionless politics, but Bourassa remained a survivor right up until his death in 1996.
Showdown on the Prairies: A History of Saskatchewan Elections
Saskatchewan is an enigma. The same province that elected North America's first socialist government also launched the career of Tory Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. In the past 40 years the winds of political change have swept through Saskatchewan as voters have elected leaders from four different parties into office. Tommy Douglas. Ross Thatcher. Grant Devine. Roy Romanow. These are the political gunslingers that have turned Saskatchewan's provincial elections into prairie showdowns.
Territorial Battles: Yukon Elections, 1978-2006
Running for office is hard work anywhere, but campaigning in the Yukon may be hardest of all. The territory's tiny population is spread over a vast area, and the campaign trail leading to the voters is sometimes 60 below. The voters can be as unforgiving as the climate, with wildly divergent interests and fickle party allegiances. From the introduction of political parties in 1978 to responsible government and stumping by computer, CBC Archives looks at elections in the land of the midnight sun.
The 'Other Revolution': Louis Robichaud's New Brunswick
They called him a man of destiny, and indeed he was. Louis Robichaud was born to a large Acadian family and educated in a one-room schoolhouse. Dedicated to his province, he had lifelong ambitions to improve the lot of Acadians and New Brunswickers alike. On June 27, 1960, he became the province's first-elected Acadian premier and for a decade he pushed for progress like no other before him.