A Canadian Election Primer

Canada faces a federal election on 2006 January 23. To fully appreciate the various issues facing the electorate, it is perhaps useful to consider these issues in the context of Canadian history. Almost 120 years ago, J.W. Bengough published A Caricature History of Canadian Politics. Many aspects of this work remain relevant. The faces change. The details change. But the underlying issues carry on.

A small collection of cartoons from Bengough's book are presented here. The commentary about each cartoon is his and reflects the situation 120 years ago. In the interests of political neutrality, I have resisted the temptation to include any personal comments.

The cartoons are indexed by issue below, or they can be browsed sequentially.

J.W. Bengough cartoon: The Mid-day Gun at Ottawa

The Mid-day Gun at Ottawa -- Canadian Illustrated News, May 11th, 1872.

Canada-US relations

Parachuting in a star candidate

The maritime provinces

Scandal and integrity

The democratic deficit

The previous administration

The barbeque circuit

The party line

Tariff disputes with the US

Tax fairness

Senate reform

The surplus


(note: I believe all of these cartoons to be in the public domain. Those originally published by Grip were drawn by J.W Bengough; the others by various other artists. A collection of cartoons from A Caricature History of Canadian Politics was published by Peter Martin Associates Limited of Toronto in 1977.)