The Long Road to a Dream
[l envision a program] "for... a united Canada, for one Canada, for Canada first, in every aspect of our political and public life, for the welfare of the average man and woman. That is my approach to public affairs. and has been throughout my life.... A Canada, united from Coast to Coast, wherein there will be freedom for the individual, freedom of enterprise, and where there will be a Government which, in all its actions, will remain the servant and not the master of the people.”
In January 1957, Prime Minister Louis St-Laurent called an election for 10 June 1957. Diefenbaker, having recently become the Leader of the Official Opposition, was left with a mere five months to plan and carry out an election campaign. Initally, the Liberas dismissed Diefenbaker, the dissenter from the Prairies who had lost countless elections throughout his attempts at a political career. However, it soon became apparent to St-Laurent that many Canadians identified with Diefenbaker’s determination and tenacity. Many were also moved by his sincere concern for the rights of the common people.
Using the slogan “It's time for a change,” Diefenbaker led one of the first campaigns in Canada that took advantage of television as a tool for promoting their platform. Diefenbaker’s speaking style was animated and dramatic - ideal for TV broadcasts. He appealed to the working classes, many of whom felt increasingly marginalized by the Liberal government. To the surprise of the Liberals, the Progressive Conservative Party won a minority government on 21 June 1957.
It spoke to Diefenbaker’s loyalty to the Crown that the 23rd Canadian Parliament was opened by HRH Queen Elizabeth II - this was the first time that a monarch had opened the Canadian Parliament in person.