Results of all past Canadian federal elections to the House of Commons. Each square represents one seat in the House. Faint grey squares represent seats that have yet to exist/no longer exist. Note that squares are merely stylized renditions of provincial seat counts across the country, grouped from smallest political party delegation to largest. Squares are not located in the geographic part of the province that voted for one party. Seat counts and popular vote numbers from pre-1960 elections can be ambiguous, see information below the map for more.
Prior to the 1960s, most Canadian elections would see a couple of MPs elected under labels like “Liberal-Conservative,” “Independent Conservative/Liberal,” “Liberal Labour,” “Liberal Progressive,” and so on.
Some electoral tallies include these MPs (and their share of the popular vote) in the count of whatever party they most closely resemble, while other lists count them as “independents” or put them in the “other” column (it’s not uncommon to see multiple methods of sorting used in different parts of the same tally). It is therefore impossible to offer “perfect” statistics on pre-1960s Canadian elections, since the ambiguity of the party system in those days and the subjective judgements of the official vote-counters has muddled the results beyond repair. The four elections between 1921 and 1930 are a particular nightmare of ambiguity, given how much chaos the party system was experiencing at the time.
In deciding who to count as what, I have relied on the data in the book Canada Votes (1962) by Howard A. Scarrow which offers well-researched suggestions for sorting ambiguous MPs in early Canadian elections.
Electoral historians generally conclude that the modern Canadian political party system didn’t really get settled until the dawn of the 20th century. Prior to that, MPs were often elected with extremely ambiguous or complicated labels (“Independent Nationalist Liberal,” etc), or, just as often, no label at all. It’s considered all-but impossible to provide accurate or useful vote counts for Canada’s first three elections.
The chart below begins with Canada’s eighth general election, in 1896, by which time Canada’s party system had become much stronger and clearer, and MPs who identified themselves as something outside the mainstream party system were rare enough to be noteworthy. It was not until 1970 that Canadian political parties became legal entities under Canadian electoral law, and the 1972 election was the first in which party labels were printed on election ballots alongside candidate names.