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Liberal minority government defeated in ‘74

The Story

Bad planning, arrogance and insensitivity. If you ask NDP leader David Lewis, these qualities spell defeat for the Liberal government in 1974. Unhappy with the Liberals' proposed budget, the NDP - which had been holding up Pierre Trudeau's minority for 18 months - withdraws its support. Immediately after the vote, Lewis says he has no regrets about forcing an election during an economic crisis. "[Trudeau] took the NDP for granted," he says in this live CBC-TV news special. "He thought we were frightened about an election. He was crazy! We're not, we never were, we aren't now."

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Broadcast Date: May 8, 1974
Guests: John Diefenbaker, David Lewis, Cliff Scotten , Robert Stanfield, John Turner
Reporter: Ron Collister, Tom Leach, John Drewery
Duration: 19:08

Did You know?

• After the Liberals won a very narrow minority (109 seats to the Tories' 107) in 1972, NDP leader David Lewis said his party would not obstruct good legislation that would benefit Canadians. "It seems to me no Canadian believes that this Parliament can last its full term of several years," Lewis said. "But I also think that no Canadian will want to see an election unnecessarily."

• The NDP greeted the Liberals' 1974 budget speech with hoots and thumbs-down in the House of Commons. Later, Lewis said the budget rejected many of his party's wishes. The NDP then introduced an amendment to a Tory confidence motion in the House and worded it so that the Tories could support it.

• As noted in this clip, this was the first confidence motion ever to be tied to a budget vote. A similar vote would take place in 1979 to defeat Joe Clark's minority government.

• In the election that followed this 1974 motion, the Liberals went on to win a majority - 141 seats to 95 for the Progressive Conservatives, 16 for the NDP, 11 for Social Credit and one independent.




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