The 1893 Grand Council elections took place on 16 February 1893 for the purpose of electing the Eleventh Grand Council of the Confederation of North America. The elections were the first to return a majority for the People's Coalition, which increased its share of Grand Council seats from a plurality of 73 to 98, the largest majority of any party up to that time.
The election served as a referendum on incumbent Governor-General Ezra Gallivan, who had been at the head of a minority government since his elevation five years before. The five points of Gallivan's Creative Nationalism program had been carefully drawn by him to be realizable within five years, and they were. The Fourth and Fifth Points, dealing with Quebec and the distribution of wealth in the C.N.A., had been particular successes, thanks respectively to the Quebec Plebiscite of 1889, and Julius Nelson's reform of the National Financial Administration. The first three, involving the reduction of inflation and unemployment, and reining in the power of the Confederation Bureau of Investigation, were less successful, but could still be counted in Gallivan's favor. Due to the Quebec Plebiscite, Quebec's thirteen seats in the Council had been redistributed to the other six confederations after the 1890 census, though Sobel does not indicate what the Council's new partisan makeup was.
Gallivan had no difficulty gaining the Coalition's nomination for a second term at its national convention. The Liberal Party, which had denounced the Fifth Point as socialistic, nominated Councilman James Hare of the Northern Confederation. The Conservative Party had been in a steady state of decline for twenty years, and Sobel makes no mention of their nominee for governor-general.
|Confederation||Conservative Party||Liberal Party||People's Coalition|
Gallivan's tight grip on the Coalition's central committee allowed him to concentrate on trying to win over Liberal voters, which he did with great effectiveness. However, this created resentment among many rank-and-file Coalitionists. An expression of this resentment was the election of Thomas Kronmiller, an official in the Consolidated Laborers Federation in Indiana. Under Kronmiller, the radical wing of the Coalition organized its own caucus in the Grand Council and prepared to pressure Gallivan for more radical legislation. This prompted Gallivan to say privately, "I can take care of my opponents on the other side of the aisle. What I need now is some elixir to transform my supposed comrades into supporters."
The Coalition's margin of victory led some observers to predict that the Liberals might follow the Conservatives into permanent minority status. However, it is very likely that had this happened, the Kronmiller wing of the Coalition would have broken away to form a new opposition party. In any event, unlike the Conservatives, the Liberals were able to recover from their defeat in 1893 and maintain themselves as a significant opposition, although they would remain the minority party for the next thirty years.
Sobel's sources for the 1893 Grand Council elections are Howard Arthur's Creative Nationalism (New York, 1939); and Ernest Foy's The Anatomy of North American Politics: An Analysis (New York, 1956). Election results are from the New York Herald, 17 February 1893.
|C.N.A. Grand Council Elections|
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