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During the winter of 1955/56 the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and leader of the opposition, George Drew fell ill from a form of Meningitis, which people his age did not recover from. He was treated with a new anti-biotic which saved him but he was not allow to recover full due to the politics of image. He was then thrown into the Pipeline debate in the House which became "the great Conservative filibuster" and drained Drew. He checked into the hospital and made the decision to step down as leader of the Conservatives.

In the summer of 1956 the Conservatives were in an upbeat mode with Drew looking like he was finally ready to challenge the long Liberal reign and perhaps threaten their hold on power. With Drew gone a leadership convention was called for in December. The party insiders were generally opposed to John Diefenbaker, who had emerged as the front runner and then won the convention, on the first ballot, with a huge majority of 774 votes to the party leaderships candidate, Don Fleming who received 393 votes and a wild horse Davie Fulton who got 117 votes.

Now leader of the Conservatives, Diefenbaker launched pointed attacks on the Liberals and the their leader Louis St Laurent. The election was called for June of 1957 and most analysts didn't give the Conservatives much of a chance of winning against the mighty Liberal machine but Diefenbaker spoke with emotion and vision and used radio in an effective manner. He began to whip up the crowds and the excitement grew. As election day drew near the Liberals stumbled and failed to realize how close it might be. On election night the Diefenbaker phenomenon took hold and the as the polls closed it appeared as though Diefenbaker might have closed the gap considerably.

He had had not won a majority but the Conservatives had won 112 seats to the Liberals 105 and Prime Minister St Laurent immediately congratulated Diefenbaker and stepped down as Prime Minister to allow him to form a new government and as leader of the Liberal party to allow a younger man to lead the party. The man from Prince Alberta Saskatchewan had become the first Conservative Prime Minister in 22 years and broken to power of the Liberal juggernaut.

The Liberals held a leadership convention and early in 1958 Lester Pearson who had experienced unqualified success in the international realm of diplomacy and the United Nations, but was lacking in Parliamentary experience,  was chosen as the new leader. Because of the slim Conservative lead in seats, Pearson, under urging from advisors, made the same mistake, which another new leader named Stockwell Day was to make decades later,  and called on Diefenbaker to step aside and let the Liberals have the seats of power back.

Diefenbaker, sensing that the country was fully behind him, challenged the Liberals and called another election, less the a year since the last and on March 31st, 1958 won a commanding majority. The Conservatives won 208 of 165 seats leaving the Liberals with only 49 seats. The CCF were reduced to 8 seats and all other parties were shut out. The Conservatives had won 54% of the vote, which was 20% more than the Liberals and won a majority of the seats in Quebec which was the first time they had managed that since John A Macdonald.

Diefenbaker had painted a vision of Canada which the people of the country could share. He looked to the great promise of the north, increased prosperity for the farmers, inclusion of all ethnic and religious groups in the process of nation building and a government for the people, not the bureaucracy or big business. He had been given a great mandate and the power to fulfill his vision and the Canadian people now awaited for him to do so.