Saskatchewan general election, 1964

Saskatchewan general election, 1964

The Saskatchewan general election of 1964 was the fifteenth provincial election held in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It was held on April 22 1964, to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.

The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) government of Premier Woodrow Lloyd was defeated by the Liberal Party, led by Ross Thatcher. The CCF had governed Saskatchewan since the 1944 election under the leadership (until 1962) of Tommy Douglas.

Douglas's government was the first social democratic government in North America, and had introduced the medicare system in Canada. This had led to a 23-day strike by the province's physicians. Medicare, however, was not an issue in the campaign. In fact, following its successful introduction, the opposition Liberals proposed expanding medicare. The only party to advocate eliminating medicare was the small Social Credit Party.

While the CCF held on to most of their vote from the previous election, the collapse of the Social Credit Party appears to have helped the Liberals to a majority government, although the Liberals led the NDP by only 0.1% in the popular vote.

The Social Credit Party nominated only two candidates in the election, and was hurt by stataments by the federal Social Credit Party leader, Robert N. Thompson, supporting the Saskatchewan Liberals. The Socreds' leader, Martin Kelln, was unable to spend much time on the campaign because of the recent death of his mother.

The Progressive Conservative Party, led by Martin Pederson, won only one seat in the legislature despite winning almost 19% of the popular vote. The Tories argued that the Liberals were too radical, and that the Saskatchewan government was not doing enough to develop the province's natural resources.

The Liberals were able to capitalize on the collapse of the Social Credit Party, and were more effective than the Tories in drawing the "anti-socialist" vote. The campaign however was not marked by any major issues.

There was, however, considerable animosity between the Liberals and the CCF. The Liberals employed what were called "Madison Avenue campaign tactics", and spent a lot of money on campaign advertising, especially television advertising. The Liberals tried to characterize the election as being a choice between socialism and private enterprise-oriented reform. The Saskatchewan Liberals positioned themselves to further to the right than the federal Liberal Party. The Liberals also claimed that the CCF government was stagnating.

The CCF, led by former teacher Woodrow Lloyd, campaigned on the CCF record. Lloyd attacked the Liberal campaign, stating that they had resorted to "hucksterism, the kind of sales attempts that one usually associates with useless pills, second hand cars and body deodorants."

Lloyd was faced several challenges: the taxes in Saskatchewan were among the highest in Canada; spending on health care, welfare and education were high; and Lloyd lacked the popular support that previous CCF leader and premier Tommy Douglas had enjoyed. However, Saskatchewan at this time had the second highest per capita income in Canada and the lowest unemployment rate in Canada.



1 One seat declared void.

Source: [ Elections Saskatchewan]

ee also

*List of Saskatchewan political parties

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