Timeline of the 2004 Canadian federal election

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The following is a timeline of the Canadian federal election, 2004. More on the election in general is available in the article 2004 Canadian federal election.



Jack Layton
  • January 25 - Jack Layton is elected leader of the NDP at the party's convention in Toronto. Layton wins on the first ballot, with 53.5% of the vote.
  • February 5 - Pierrette Venne is suspended from the caucus of the Bloc Québécois, and on February 6 sits as an Independent member of the Bloc.
  • February 14 - Jim Harris is elected as the new leader of the Green Party of Canada.
  • May 12 - The Liberal Party loses another seat through by-elections, this time to the Progressive Conservative Party as Gary Schellenberger replaces John Alexander Richardson in the riding of Perth—Middlesex.
  • May 31 - Peter MacKay wins the Progressive Conservative leadership after forming a deal with leadership candidate David Orchard. MacKay promised a review of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and also promised that no deal on electoral cooperation would be made with the Canadian Alliance, a promise he would later break.
  • June 16 - The Bloc Québécois lose two more seats, this time in by-elections as the Liberal Party of Canada's Christian Jobin replaces the out-going BQ Antoine Dubé in Lévis—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, and the Liberals' Gilbert Barrette replaces the out-going BQ Pierre Brien in Témiscamingue.
  • September 9 - Ottawa Centre MP Mac Harb is appointed to the Senate of Canada, leaving the seat vacant until the 2004 election. Ottawa lawyer Richard Mahoney will be the Liberals' representative for the riding in the upcoming election.
  • October 15 - The Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party announce plans to unite to form a new party called the Conservative Party of Canada.
  • November 14 - Paul Martin officially becomes leader of the Liberal Party of Canada winning 3,242 of 3,455 votes against Sheila Copps.
  • November 27 - Canadian Alliance Party leader Stephen Harper fires Alliance Member of Parliament Larry Spencer as Family Values Critic after his anti-gay remarks.
  • November 28 - Liberal Party of Canada member John Manley announces his retirement from politics.
  • December 3 - Member of Parliament Robert Lanctôt announces his departure from the Bloc Québécois to join the Liberal Party of Canada, saying to the press: "After dreaming about sovereignty for 40 years, I said to myself that dreaming is fine, but at a certain point you have to wake up." Also on December 3, Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal states that he will not seek re-election.
  • December 5 - The Canadian Alliance votes with a 96% majority in favour of merging with the Progressive Conservative Party.
  • December 6 - The Progressive Conservative Party votes with a 90% majority in favour of merging with the Canadian Alliance.
  • December 8 - The Conservative Party of Canada is officially registered with Elections Canada. The party's first interim leader is Senator John Lynch-Staunton, with a formal leadership race scheduled for March 2004. Three Progressive Conservative MPs (Joe Clark, John Herron and André Bachand) announce that they will not sit as members of the new party, but will serve out their terms as Independent Progressive Conservatives.
Ed Broadbent


Lead up to the election call[edit]

Paul Martin

After the election call[edit]


  • May 24
    • Liberals: Paul Martin in New Brunswick, tells Canadians "This election will define the kind of country Canadians want."
    • Conservatives: The Conservatives unveil their television ads
    • NDP: Leader Jack Layton launches his eight campaign promises to Canadians in Vancouver.
    • BQ: The Bloc announce they will be running 17 candidates who are less than 25 years of age in order to gain the youth vote.
  • May 25
    • Liberals: Paul Martin, speaking in Cobourg, Ontario, announces a $9-billion initiative to improve health care which would include money for home care, increased funding for health care, the reduction of hospital waiting lists and the introduction of a pharmicare plan for seniors.
    • Conservatives: Harper speaks in Fredericton where he gets the endorsement of New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord.
    • NDP: Layton, in Saskatoon, also denounces Martin's health care plan, pointing to his cutting of health care funding while finance minister.
    • BQ: Duceppe, in Drummondville, complains that Martin's plan does not involve enough money for the provinces.
    • Marxist–Leninist: Party announces it has 76 registered candidates.
  • May 26
    • Conservatives: Former Mulroney cabinet minister John Crosbie announces he is "seriously considering" running in the Avalon riding in Newfoundland.
    • NDP: The NDP introduces its election platform, including $29 billion for health care, an inheritance tax, and a repeal of terrorism laws.
    • BQ: Gilles Duceppe angrily rejects allegations raised by Health Minister Pierre Pettigrew that the Bloc "likes to take pleasure in its homogeneity" and does not represent multicultural Quebec.
  • May 27
    • Liberals: Finance Minister Ralph Goodale indicates that the Liberals will soon announce plans to for "significant" increases in spending on both Defence and Foreign Aid.
    • Conservatives: Bilingualism critic Scott Reid resigns from his post after he made comments that his party would overhaul the nation's policy on bilingualism.
    • NDP: Jack Layton makes controversial comments on homelessness, blaming Paul Martin for the deaths of homeless people in Toronto.
    • Greens: Following an announcement from The Broadcaster's Consortium (composed of CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV, Global and TVA) that only the four major parties would participate in the national televised leader's debates, Green Party leader Jim Harris announces he is considering legal action against the consortium.
  • May 28
    • Liberals: Martin promises a new deal for Canadian cities. If elected, cities will receive $2 billion annually from the federal gas tax.
    • Conservatives: Harper says he would give the Auditor General further power to monitor government spending if elected.
    • NDP: Jack Layton announces that he would repeal the Clarity Act if elected. Most of the party's caucus had voted in favour of the legislation when it was enacted. Former Liberal Intergovernmental Affairs minister Stéphane Dion publicly blasts the NDP for the reversal and their nomination of separatist candidates, a noteworthy move as the Chrétien loyalist had previously been widely considered frozen out of the Martin election strategy.
    • CHP: Elections Canada re-registers the Christian Heritage Party of Canada after a four-year hiatus.
  • May 29
  • May 30
    • Liberals: In a CTV interview, former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Brian Tobin makes the first admission by a top Liberal that the party is expecting to win a minority government. Martin takes his first day off from the campaign. Toronto-Danforth MP Dennis Mills, running against NDP leader Jack Layton, engages in a shouting match with Layton's wife Olivia Chow, herself an NDP candidate.
    • Conservatives: Harper also takes the day off.
    • NDP: In a speech to his supporters in Winnipeg, NDP parliamentary leader Bill Blaikie speaks out in opposition to Jack Layton's proposal to repeal the Clarity Bill. He states in a later interview that "there continues to be differences of opinion, not just between me and [Mr. Layton] on this, but within the party itself."
    • Green: Jim Harris is interviewed on Global Sunday.
  • May 31
    • Conservatives: Harper unveils his platform on defence, promising to increase spending on the military, buying several pieces of new equipment. John Crosbie announces he will not return to politics, ending speculation he would stand for the new Conservative party in Avalon, NL.
    • NDP: Layton attacks Harper's defence policy, saying it is an attempt to appease the United States. He also compares Harper's tax strategy to those of Gordon Campbell and Ralph Klein.
    • CHP: Gray is a guest on the Miracle Channel public affairs program hosted by Paul Arthur.


  • June 1
    • Liberals: Cabinet ministers Judy Sgro and John McCallum heckle Conservative leader Stephen Harper at a speech in Markham, Ontario.
    • Conservatives: Health critic Rob Merrifield says women seeking abortions should get private third-party counselling. Harper says this does not mean the Conservative party will work to end abortions.
    • Marijuana Party: Launch of the national party headquarters, 2004 campaign platform and promotions.
  • June 2
    • Liberals: Paul Martin was in Winnipeg, Manitoba to tour a research facility.
    • Conservatives: Stephen Harper addresses the Toronto board of Trade. He also announces, if elected the Conservatives may use the notwithstanding clause in the Canadian Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The Conservatives continue to be pestered on social issues such as abortion by the Liberals, and the media.
    • NDP: The NDP respond to the Liberal platform stating it is "An empty health package; a broken promise; a small but good start; and a misplaced priority."
    • Bloc Québécois: The BQ makes a proposal on disciplining the petroleum industry.
    • Green: Party leader Jim Harris calls a press conference regarding his lawsuit against the broadcasters who plan on excluding him from the national televised debates. A survey by Oracle Research says that 76% of voters say they support his inclusion in the debates. Harris appears on CTV News Channel program Countdown with Mike Duffy, live from the Carrot Common in Toronto-Danforth.
    • Communist: The Montreal Gazette reports "the Communist Party of Canada will legislate a 32-hour work week (with no loss in take-home pay) and a minimum wage of $12", if elected.
    • Libertarians: Elections Canada re-registers the Libertarian Party of Canada after a seven-year hiatus.
  • June 3
    • Liberals: Paul Martin unveils his election platform, entitled "Moving Canada Forward."[1] The platform promises approximately $28 billion in spending. One of the new highlights is a national child-care program like the one currently used in Quebec. Both Layton and Harper say the Liberals proposed the same program in 1993, but failed to deliver.[1]
    • Conservatives: Harper proposes a middle-class tax cut. A same-sex marriage activist grilling Stephen Harper on the issue at a campaign stop in Guelph, Ontario is beaten by Conservative supporters before being escorted out by security.[1]
  • June 5
    • Former U.S. president Ronald Reagan dies. All major party heads take the day off after hearing of his death as a sign of respect for the former president.[2] Harper and Layton said that the major party heads took the day off after hearing of Reagan's death because he was "such a significant figure in world history" and "it's always sad to lose someone who has led a nation and we want to express our best wishes and sincere condolences."[2]
    • Conservatives: Harper introduces his platform, "Demand Better." It includes $58 billion in spending and tax cuts, and increasing funding for the military and health care.[3] After hearing of Reagan's death, he takes the rest of the day off "to express profound sympathy to the family of Ronald Reagan, and to the American people, on the passing of such a significant figure in world history" who was "the Churchill of his era."[2]
  • June 6
    • Sixtieth anniversary of D-Day. All major party heads take the day off to mark the anniversary. Paul Martin attends D-Day ceremonies in Normandy. Stephen Harper and Jack Layton attend a D-Day memorial service in Ottawa at the National War Memorial.
  • June 7
    • Liberals: The Liberals run French ads in Quebec attacking the Conservatives.
    • Conservatives: Harper holds a rally in Quebec in an attempt to blunt the impact of the attack. For the first time polls show the Conservatives in first place across Canada.
    • NDP: The NDP switches strategy and begins to attack Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.
  • June 8
  • June 10
    • Canada's Chief Electoral Officer, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, announces that radio and television stations, as well as websites, will no longer be prohibited from transmitting election results in areas of the country where polls are still open on election night. [1]
  • June 14
    • The leaders of the four major political parties in this election participate in the French-language broadcast debate held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. General media consensus is that, while Martin and Harper were attacked on their records and platforms, no leader was able to provide a serious boost to their own position.
  • June 15
    • The leaders participate in the English-language broadcast debate, again held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
  • June 18
    • The Conservatives release press statements stating that the Liberals (and later, the NDP) are in favour of child pornography. The Liberal statement is retracted, but neither is apologized for.
  • June 21
    • The NDP announce that they no longer support their previous platform promise of having an inheritance tax, possibly to increase support in wealthy upper-class neighbourhoods such as those in the Toronto riding of Beaches—East York.
  • June 23
    • Alberta Health Minister Gary Mar announced that his governments intentions will not violate the Canada Health Act, and will be announced after the election. Pundits believe this is because they do not want to effect the Conservatives' chances in the election.
  • June 24
  • June 25
    • In an open letter, Ralph Nader warns against voting for the Conservative Party. [2]
    • Conservative Randy White told filmmakers "To heck with the courts, eh" in protest to recent court decisions in Canada, angering many.
    • Liberals: Martin tells voters not to vote for the NDP, because a vote for the NDP is a vote for Harper.
    • Bloc Québécois: Duceppe tells Canadians that they should not fear the Bloc, because separatism is not on their agenda.
    • NDP: Layton spends 18 hours in Ontario. Former supporters of Sheila Copps endorse the NDP.
  • June 26
    • Liberals: Martin visits British Columbia.
    • Conservatives: Harper is in Kelowna and is greeted by protesters. He generates laughs among his supporters by attacking all the other major parties at once: "A Liberal-NDP coalition backed by the Bloc: corruption, taxation, and separation - all in one administration!"
    • Bloc Québécois: Duceppe, comfortable with his lead in Quebec visits traditionally Liberal ridings.
    • NDP: Ralph Nader announces his endorsement of Jack Layton.
  • June 28

After the election[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Fife, Robert; Dawson, Anne (June 4, 2004). "Parties lay out visions for future". National Post. p. A1.
  2. ^ a b c Blanchfield, Mike; Gordon, Sean (June 6, 2004). "'Brian, I think the end is near': Nancy Reagan's words reveal family's fondness for Mulroney". The Ottawa Citizen. p. A1.
  3. ^ Gordon, Sean (June 5, 2004). "Cost of Tory promises pegged at $60B-$70B". The Ottawa Citizen. p. B2.