The election of 1861 in Canada West
Prior to dissolution in 1861, the Conservative ministry was a minority government insofar as Canada West was concerned. The election campaign that followed was a bitter, hard-fought affair that gave the government a small majority in the West. This majority was obtained only through the support of candidates who contested their ridings as Coalition Reformers, as Independent candidates, or a Conservatives advocating a number of Liberal policies. These members were not always reliable. Indecisive and humiliating as it turned out to be, the election helped point out the need for some very serious cooperation between the province's political leaders, if the crisis that developed during the early 1860's were to be overcome.