CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

A historic Tory defeat in 1993

The Story

It's a loss for the record books. The Progressive Conservatives went from a mighty 169 to a measly two seats. A governing party in Canada has never suffered such a crushing blow in terms of the number of seats lost or in share of the popular vote. Liberal leader Jean Chrétien has expertly led his party to an overwhelming majority. In this CBC Television clip, a sombre Campbell thanks her supporters and promises them that their day in the sun will come again. 

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: Oct. 25, 1993
Guest(s): Kim Campbell
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Duration: 10:23

Did You know?

• In the 1993 election, the Liberals won 177 seats. By comparison, the Bloc Québécois, Reform, New Democratic and Progressive Conservative parties won 54, 52, 9 and 2 seats respectively.


• Kim Campbell lost her seat in the riding of Vancouver Centre by some 4,000 votes to Liberal candidate Hedy Fry.

• With only two seats, those of Sherbrooke, Quebec's Jean Charest and Saint John, N.B.'s Elsie Wayne, the Conservatives lost official party status. A party must have at least 12 members in the House of Commons to be granted official party status which allows for speaking privileges and funding allowances.


• The Conservatives' second-worst outings in history were in the 1935 and the 1940 elections when they won only 39 seats.

• On Dec. 13, 1993, Campbell resigned as leader of the Conservative Party. Jean Charest succeeded her as party leader.


• While she served only 123 days in office, Kim Campbell was not the shortest-serving prime minister in Canadian history. That title belongs to Sir Charles Tupper, who was PM for the Conservative party for just 69 days in 1896.

• The Progressive Conservatives regained official party status in 1997.


• In January 1994, Campbell accepted a fellowship at the Institute of Politics of the Kennedy School at Harvard. On Aug. 8, 1996, Prime Minister Chrétien appointed her Canada's consul general in Los Angeles.


• Jean Chrétien would go on to lead his party to two more majority governments before retiring in 2003.



Kim Campbell: First and Foremost more