The election was dominated by the issue of the C.N.A.'s atomic bomb program, and by relations between the C.N.A. and the United States of Mexico. Incumbent Governor-General Carter Monaghan of the People's Coalition, who had been chosen by the party caucus sixteen months before to replace the retiring Perry Jay, received his party's nomination at its convention in January 1968.
At the Liberal Party convention that month, former Governor-General Richard Mason supported both Professor James Volk of Burgoyne University, and Councilman Fred Tryon of Southern Vandalia. Both Volk and Tryon favored retaining the C.N.A.'s existing arsenal of atomic weapons, but scaling back production of conventional arms and concentrating resources on defense systems. Mason was opposed by his former Minister of Home Affairs, Grover Speigal, who favored Monaghan's policy of increasing atomic weapons production, and who regarded the U.S.M. as a major threat to the C.N.A. Speigal highlighted his opposition to Monaghan's domestic policies, especially his plan to abolish the National Financial Administration. "Should this happen," said Speigal in a speech on 6 January 1968, "the nation will be the province of giant firms, and the freedom of enterprise will be gone, with the others to follow soon after."
The Liberal convention suffered a three-way deadlock between Volk, Tryon, and Speigal. After four days of balloting and several major brawls on the convention floor, the delegates chose a compromise candidate, Manitoba Governor Jason Winters. Winters had not taken a stand on foreign policy, "since it is not in the province of my office to have a foreign policy, except toward Burgoyne." Speigal's supporters accepted Winters, but approximately half of Mason's supporters walked out of the convention, pledging themselves to put forth a peace candidate on a peace platform.
Mason and Tryon organized their supporters into the Peace and Justice Party, and within days they were able to field candidates for all 150 Grand Council seats. Tryon also agreed to support Volk for the new party's nominee for Govenor-General, since there was little time to build up a candidate and Volk was already a national figure.
All three candidates campaigned exclusively through vitavised speeches and advertisements, rather than by giving speeches to live crowds as had previously been the norm. The highlight of the campaign was a vitavised debate between the three candidates on the evening on 7 February. The consensus among media analysts the following day was that Volk had been the most attractive speaker, with Monaghan's arguments being the most convincing, and Winters' the most confusing.
On election day, 16 February, the People's Coalition was able to retain its majority of 80 Grand Council seats, while the P.J.P. was able to elect 17 candidates at the expense of the Liberals.
|Confederation||Liberal Party||Peace and Justice Party||People's Coalition|
As noted by Frank Rusk, socioeconomic factors rather than racial, religious, or geographic factors determined the voting pattern. Urban professionals, and intellectuals voted for the P.J.P.; while scientists, businessmen, and blue-collar workers voted People's Coalition; and farmers, small-city voters, and middle-of-the-road compromisers voted Liberal. Had the Jay Amendment been passed, and the governor-general been directly elected, the totals would have been 52.8% for Monaghan, 25.0% for Winters, and 22.2% for Volk. The P.J.P. welcomed the election results as a vindication of Mason's positions, even though they received less than a quarter of the votes.
Sobel's sources for the 1968 Grand Council elections are Robert Mead's Peace and Justice, Sanity and Reason (New York, 1970); Rusk's A Statistical Analysis of the 1968 C.N.A. Elections (New York, 1971); and the 7 January 1968 issue of the New York Herald. Election results are from the Herald, 17 February 1968.
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