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Throughout 1983-84, the Liberals recognized that Trudeau was going to resign before the next election and many supports of Turners tried to lay the groundwork for his return as leader. Although he was viewed by many within the party and across the country as the natural successor to Trudeau, the Chretien forces put up a strong fight and the battle between the two split the party just enough to make Turners win bitter sweet.

Upon become leader of the Liberal party in 1984 and hence Prime Minister he faced a nation which, except for Clark's brief interlude, had been governed by the Liberals for almost 20 years. The polls took a big upswing for Turner and the Liberals during the leadership convention and right after he entered office. He was face with the choice of gambling that his popularity as new leader might help him win a quick election call or he could wait and try to put together a new plan and rally the troops while hoping that the poll numbers for him would not evaporate. He chose to go to people early.


The campaign was a difficult one with a still tired Turner, from the leadership campaign, out on the road again. He was also saddled with the negative issues of the Trudeau years and the desire by many for a change. ne of the main issues of the election were some patronage appointments which were made and which he approved of which although traditional and in line with past practices and standards, did not go down well with the electorate. The Conservatives jumped on these appointments and made them into a banner of corrupt Liberal practices. Turner and the Liberals were badly beaten. 

  When Joe Clark received just over 66% of the parties support at a convention in 1982 he called a leadership convention and Mulroney immediately began to campaign behind he scenes. On June 11th, 1983 he beat Clark on ballot 4 and took over the leadership with no Parliamentary experience but a good chance of winning the next election.

The race against the new Liberal leader, John Turner in September of 1984 resulted in the largest victory in Canadian Federal electoral history and made Mulroney Prime Minster.

Once in power Mulroney began to dismantle and discard many Liberal policies and programs from the previous 20 years. He was faced with a difficult combination of expectations within his caucus and party. The western Conservatives were mainly interested in provincial rights and socially conservative issues, Ontario and maritime conservatives wanted to support business and get the economy under control and the Quebec nationalist which had joined his coalition expected considerable concessions for the province.