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Political Science Elections

Revival and Change

The 1957 and 1958 Diefenbaker Elections

by (author) John C. Courtney

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2022
Elections, Political Parties, Canadian, Post-Confederation (1867-)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price

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Revival and Change is a compelling account of the elections, accomplishments, challenges, failures, and ultimate end of the Diefenbaker era.


The Liberals had been in office for two decades when the 1957 election was called and were widely expected to win another majority government. But new Conservative leader John Diefenbaker completely overshadowed his opponents. Highlighting Liberal arrogance, Diefenbaker seized the opportunity that television and boisterous, supportive rallies offered to present his vision of a new Canada. He was ultimately victorious. A second election in 1958 resulted in a landslide victory, with the Liberals reduced to their smallest number of seats since Confederation, the CCF reduced to eight seats and losing its leader, and Social Credit wiped out completely. It was a rout never before seen in Canadian history.


Revival and Change is the story of those elections, the government and opposition they produced, the issues that defined the government, and the era’s legacy in Canadian politics and society.

About the author


  • Winner, <P>Jennifer Welsh Scholarly Writing Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards</P>

Contributor Notes

John C. Courtney is a senior policy fellow in the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and a professor emeritus of political studies at the University of Saskatchewan. He is a past president of the Canadian Political Science Association and editor of the Canadian Journal of Political Science. Among many other works, Courtney is the author of Commissioned Ridings: Designing Canada’s Electoral Districts; The Selection of National Party Leaders in Canada; Do Conventions Matter?; and Elections.

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