Minority governments in Canada
In Canada's parliamentary system of responsible government, minority governments occur when no party has a majority of seats in the legislature. Typically, but not necessarily, the party with a plurality of seats forms the government. In a minority situation, governments must rely on the support of other parties to stay in power, providing less stability than a majority government. In Canada, political parties rarely form official coalition governments to form a majority.
Canada's plurality voting system means that minority governments are relatively rare in comparison with countries that have a proportional representation voting system. There have, however, been several minority governments at the federal level and in nine of Canada's 10 provinces at various times.
Canada has had 13 minority governments, most recently experiencing its longest period of minority government with three successive minority governments between 2004 and 2011.
- Alexander Mackenzie (1873–1874, Liberal)
- William Lyon Mackenzie King (1921–25, 1925–26, Liberal)
- Arthur Meighen (1926, Conservative)
- John Diefenbaker (1957–58, 1962–63, Progressive Conservative)
- Lester Pearson (1963–65, 1965–68, Liberal)
- Pierre Trudeau (1972–74, Liberal)
- Joe Clark (1979–80, Progressive Conservative)
- Paul Martin (2004–06, Liberal)
- Stephen Harper (2006–08, 2008–11, Conservative)
Provincial and territorial level
Of Canada's 10 provinces, only Alberta has never had a minority government. The territories of Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not have political parties and are instead governed under the consensus government system.
- British Columbia (1924–28, 1952–53, 2017–present)
- Manitoba (1936–41, 1958–59, 1969–73, 1988–90)
- New Brunswick (1920–25, 2018–present)
- Newfoundland and Labrador (1971–72, 2019–present)
- Nova Scotia (1970–74, 1998–99, 2003–06, 2006–09)
- Ontario (1867–71, 1943–45, 1975–77, 1977–81, 1985–87, 2011–14)
- Quebec (1878–79, 2007–08, 2012–14)
- Prince Edward Island (1873–76, 1876–79, 1890–93, 2019–present)
- Saskatchewan (1929–34, 1999–2003)
- Yukon (1985–89, 1992–96)
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